Black Hole – Review

The world of the graphic novel is a land that I have traversed only slightly. Very slightly. Like only Maus I and II slightly along with the handful of things i have picked up and leafed through while loafing around Borders or Barnes&Noble. But it’s also been something that I have always been curious about, just without the requisite money to jump into. So praise be the local library for allowing me to get into this.

The story is pretty straight forward. It’s 1970s Seattle and there’s an STD called “the bug” or the “teen plague” that results in physical mutations to whoever contracts it. The comparison to teen adolescence and the needs to fit in while also finding a personal identity are fairly clear and, in my opinion, don’t really need to be looked into too deeply. It’s a good story about kids struggling to become adults in a world where teasing someone because they’re fat or “nerdy” or whatever else is taken to the extreme of “youve got a third arm!”

Oddly enough, I think Black Hole may actually bear quite a bit in common with old slasher films from the 1980s. These were the films where you always knew that among the first to die horrible machete inflicted deaths would be whoever has had the most (and only) sex in the first thirty minutes. A fair rule  is that if you’ve seen her boobs, she’s going to die. And so will whoever else in the movie has seen her (or anyone’s) boobs.  In Black Hole, if someone has sex, you know they’re going to get “the bug” and suffer something akin to death from their social circle.

Perhaps it then isn’t surprising to read in Black Hole’s Wiki that the “look of the comic is meant to evoke the feel and atmosphere of classic 70s teen horror films like The Last House on the Left, Carrie and Halloween.” All are movies where sex and death came together to share a dance of some form and they seem to have bled into more than just the appearance of the Charles Burns’ novel.

Still, if you have the opportunity to sit down and read Black Hole, it’s an opportunity worth taking. The art work is very well done, the plot is solid and you don’t have to worry about getting bogged down and not wanting to turn the page – the thing is certainly a page turner.

Black Hole at Amazon


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