Thursday, June 11, 2009

Black Hole

I am a huge comic book fan. However, I never really got into the Indy comic-scene too much. I'm mostly a Marvel Comics superhero junkie and Vertigo fan. This is mostly because of lack of cash and how expensive comics can be. That does not mean I'm not interested though. I would love to read all the comics out there but the high costs keep me from doing this.

Well, Aubrey has lots of comic nerds at her work who let her borrow some stuff, and I get to reap the benefits. Someone just allowed us to borrow the graphic novel Black Hole by Charles Burns and I have to admit, I was impressed. I had seen the book at comic stores many times, but did not know anything about it and never would have bought it if it wasn't recommended and loaned out to us.

I read the book over the course of 3 train rides, and I was quite impressed. I posted the cover so anyone interested can easily identify it in a store, but I posted the picture at the bottom because this is a page from early in the book that made me realize how intricate the black and white art work could be. The only negative thing I can think about the art is that I sometimes was confused about which character was which since there was little ways to differentiate the characters in black and white, but that is a very small critique.

This is not an easy read though. The book tells the story of a sexual transmitted disease that manifests itself by grotesquely mutating people's appearance. The mutations are different per character from a person that has hideous boils on their face and body, or someone that grows a second mouth.

I'm sure I missed TONS of symbolism in this book since symbolism was never my strong suit in comparative literature, but the story is obviously an allegory for the AIDS virus and how it effects a small-town. There is not that much dialog in the book, but the pictures really do tell the story. I was quite impressed with the book and am always impressed when comic books are more mature and though-provoking than normal prose novels.

The book is pretty cheap to buy on Amazon and think $12 really is a good deal for this book. This is definitely not a book for kids or teenagers, but I'm glad I read this now and not when I was in high school (even though I don't think it existed back then).

Over all this book really surprised me with its depth, art and maturity. Although it is not the most uplifting books I've ever read, it is really quite good.

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