Marissa's Reviews > Black Hole

Black Hole by Charles Burns
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Jun 21, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: comix, horror

In truth, Black Hole should probably only rate three stars, but it's such an impressive effort and intriguing concept I'm giving it four. Stylistically, Burns' art is extremely intricate and has a very nice noir quality to it. I have a soft spot for any really well-done horror comic book. Like Adrian Tomine, Burns has obviously taken plenty of tricks from Clowes and Crumb. The strange thing about his art style is that even though it is very slick and eye-catching at first, the more you look at it, the more you look you notice a certain clumsiness abaout it. Partly this is because he draws so perfectly I think it kind of makes your eyes tired to look at and emphasizes the faults, but I do think some of the facial expressions and angles are not done quite right.

As far as the writing goes, I felt a little disappointed with where he took the plot and the dialogue and narration weakened over the course of the book too. He also uses a vagina-esque motif continuously in Black Hole, which bugged me. I mean, unless you think it's fun to see how many comparisons you can make between female genitalia and hideous gashes, tiny creepy mouths, and transforming into a freak. It may just be my dumb feminazi hang ups or something.
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Reading Progress

04/20/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Maggie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:34AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maggie K Charles Burns was more influenced by EC Comics than he was by Clowes or Crumb. Burns' work was published in RAW magazine before Clowes was published by Fantagraphics. But, of course, what indie comic artist hasn't been influenced by Crumb? Crumb is a master and a pioneer of the "comix" movement.

I do appreciate your review and you do bring up valid points regarding the vagina motifs and weaken narration but I have to disagree with your criticism about Burns' craft. He is a master at line and brush work. (Drawing "too perfectly" is hardly a bad thing!)


message 2: by Sara (last edited Oct 20, 2010 08:27AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara The vaginal symbolism reminded me a lot of Videodrome, the David Cronenberg movie, actually. I think it's definitely referencing visuals from horror films, as are a lot of other visual elements in the book. Not that that makes it any less problematic, it just makes it more complicated.


Ashleigh Personally I think there were just as many phallic symbols placed throughout aswell. I just got bored with the whole thing. I think maybe this would be mostly appreciated throughout adolescence.


Jason Bootle Exactly what you said about the facial expressions!


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