Black Hole by Charles Burns

Title: Black Hole

Author: Charles Burns

Context: Charles Burns, one of the most recognizable cartoonists of the 1990’s took more than ten years in the making of his graphic novel, Black Hole. All his interests and talents are combined in the book into a story with such erotic, horrific and nostalgic power.

The plot in Black Hole focuses on 2 main characters Keith, a stoner (who experiences anxiety) and Chris, a respected and famous female student. Infatuated by Rob Fancicani a popular student (who carries the Bug), Chris and he indulge in sexual activity. Keith gets infected with the disease through Chris and gradually the deadly disease starts spreading.

Synopsis: The story is set in the Suburban Seattle, Pacific Northwest during the Zeppelin-sound-tracked, weed-scented mid 1970s. The story is about a group of teenagers suffering from a strange disease that is sexually transmitted. The teenagers are affected in grotesque and unpredictable ways by this disease referred to as ‘The Bug’. Faces of the teenagers warp, their skin sheds and second mouths or vestigial tails grow. The kids become more vulnerable to vicious predators and fall deeper and deeper through the cracks of civic society as time passes. A creepy subculture has been envisioned by Burns, as in a black-light poster.

From being concealable and subtle to hideously grotesque, the disease gets manifested in numerous ways, but once the person gets infected with the disease, nothing can be done.

The mutations according to Burns can be read and understood as a metaphor for sexual awakening, for adolescence and in the transition process into adulthood.

Subsequently the teenagers are outcast by society, they run away from their homes and reside in the woodlands, nearby.

Other works by the author:

1998 – Hardboiled Defective Stories

1991 – Curse of the Molemen

1992 – The Residents – Freak Show

2010 – X’ed Out

2012 – The Hive

2014 – Sugar Skull

2016 – Last Look

2019 –  Dédales

1998 – Facetasm (Illustration Book)

2007 – One Eye (Illustration Book)

Love Nest – Hard Cover

Vortex – Hard cover – full color

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