I don’t know what the fuck Burns mixes in with his morning coffee, but I’m a little scared of it to be honest.
I’d heard about this book on and off from various people, including repeat mention at the Around Comics podcast, so Tess and I resolved to read it.
Ostensibly about teenagers in the 70’s who deal with not only the repercussions of an outbreak of an STD called “the bug” that causes bizarre physical mutations, but also several deaths that pop up, it’s much, much, bigger than that.
Charles Burns’ book is about teenage confusion and life decisions, about wanting to find a place to belong. The secondary plot about the deaths is almost unnecessary (though it doesn’t take anything away from the book), because the general themes that are throughout Black Hole are enough to make this fantastic. I really can’t give too much away without ruining stuff or insulting the visual symbolism and more abstract stuff that goes on in this book because I suck at trying to accurately describe it, so I won’t.
I will say that despite what it sounds like, this isn’t some hoity-toity uber-abstract book. It’s a fantastic story, plain and simple. I powerhoused through it in a few hours, it’s that engrossing, not difficult at all to follow, and totally engaging.