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Agujero Negro by Charles Burns

Agujero Negro (original 2005; edition 2007)

by Charles Burns

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,721594,121 (3.84)48
Title:Agujero Negro
Authors:Charles Burns
Info:LA Cupula Ediciones 2007-03-23 (2007), Edition: 2 Tra, Hardcover, 365 pages
Collections:comic, Read but unowned
Tags:Cómic, burns, adolescencia

Work details

Black Hole by Charles Burns (2005)

  1. 00
    X'ed Out by Charles Burns (rickyrickyricky)
    rickyrickyricky: If you enjoyed Black Hole, Burns' newer trilogy of short graphic novels should not be missed. The X'ed Out series features a ~heavy~ dose of intentional David Lynch influence--think the dreamscape nonsense of Eraserhead AND the obtuse-as-hell symbolism of Mulholland Dr. (It also features a really bad title. 'X'ed Out.' Wow, that's bad.)… (more)
  2. 00
    Lupus by Frederik Peeters (kinsey_m)
  3. 00
    Teenagers from Mars by Rick Spears (ahstrick)

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» See also 48 mentions

English (53)  Danish (3)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Going into this book, I had my reservations about it. This is one of the first true graphic novels I have read and I was not let down. Charles Burns leaves a lot for the reader to try and decipher the true meaning of his writing.The book likes to jump around when it comes to the timeline, and the reader really has to pay attention to that when they read. Also two of the main characters Rob and Keith look similar.

The idea of the virus and having it transmitted through STDs like conditions, reminded me a lot of the AIDS epidemic. There also seems to be a reoccurring theme of water and those who have been mutated finding comfort in it.

Overall this story was a fast read and diffidently worked in the horror genre. ( )
  Hpfan28 | Dec 6, 2014 |
The Basics

A mysterious disease is going around among a population of teens in the suburbs of Seattle in the 1970s. A disease that causes all sorts of body horror, such as growing a tail or horns or any number of physical anomalies. We follow a group of these teens who contract the disease as they go into hiding and try to navigate life with their new disfigurements.

My Thoughts

This book is insane. Which makes it difficult to talk about, because it’s very insane. There is a linear story here involving some core characters who catch the disease and start going through changes, but there are also drug trips and weird nightmares and lots of existential stuff to make for a veritable playground of themes and symbolism and depth. Though if that isn’t your bag, going into crazy analysis, I want to make it clear that this book works gorgeously at surface level. The artwork is beautiful, the characters are engaging, and the story is page-turning.

As for themes and symbols, the obvious place to start is within the idea of being a teenager and the natural changes one goes through. Here, it’s puberty with a case of the twisted, and while the story makes clear this isn’t normal on any level, it feels like a story about puberty taken up to eleven. All that awkwardness that is just part of growing up becomes hellish, horror story stuff. It doesn’t always feel that far from the truth, as some kids are ostracized for their differences, try to create a sub-group of peers as strange as them to fit in somewhere, though it’s all taken to an extreme.

For a story that is very bombastic in its subject matter, it’s very introspective. Characters narrate their lives, their worries, their hallucinations and dreams. You’re in their heads, which gives it that literary, character-driven appeal without being in the least pretentious. It’s graphic, but it doesn’t shock so much as simmer. I loved this experience entirely. And have I mentioned the astounding, beautifully clean-lined artwork?

Final Rating

5/5 ( )
  Nickidemus | Sep 18, 2014 |
3.5 stars

It's Seattle in the 1970s. Teenagers are hanging out, doing drugs, having sex. The problem is that there is a disease passed on through sexual contact that manifests itself in various ways, sometimes in a way that can be hidden, but sometimes it can't.

It was a little odd in parts, but I came to care about what happened to the characters. It was good; I liked it. I thought the end was a little abrupt, though. ( )
  LibraryCin | Feb 10, 2014 |
This is fantastic and creepy. The comparison might be uncalled for but the general feeling reminds me of Kathe Koja. A sort of very plastic sense that something is really wrong with no real good indication of references. The graphic style is beautiful; clean black and white illustrations with heavy lines. The stories have the intensity of teenager love with an exaggerated but suitable sense of body transformation, sickness and decay. ( )
  eeio | Oct 13, 2013 |
Burns' has created a deeply unsettling novel that uses exaggerated and alien disease as a metaphor for teenage alienation in twentieth century America. Here, the teenage body is a desperate plea for acceptance and understanding that society disavows and distorts until that body no longer knows or values itself. A quasi-horror narrative that is an explicit social comment, grabbing your attention with artwork that will make your skin crawl. ( )
  poetontheone | Sep 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
A high-school kid keels over and faints after hacking open a frog in biology class, and within weeks a plague is moving through 1970s Seattle. Spread by sexual contact and fluid exchange, it attacks only teenagers. One grows a little tail. One begins to shed her skin like a snake. Some lose their noses; some get harelips; some degenerate into little more than skulls. Deformed and cast out, the victims retreat to tents in the woods and live a hand-to-mouth existence among their own kind. But something is stalking them there too...
added by stephmo | editThe Independent, Tim Martin (Nov 20, 2005)
Black Hole is presented as a supposedly autobiographical novel. It was originally published serially as a comic, and 10 years of labour went into its making. Its serious intent is not in doubt; but what about the execution?
"Everything's either concave or -vex," the Danish poet Piet Hein once wrote, "so whatever you dream will be something with sex." In Charles Burns' decade-in-the-making graphic novel "Black Hole," the natural concavity and -vexity of everything leaps out at you: Nearly every image is a sexual metaphor, with the distorted clarity and mutability of a nightmare. And sex in "Black Hole" also means body horror, sickening transformations and loss. The first page's abstraction -- a thin, wobbling slit of light on a black background -- opens up to become wider and fleshier, then to become a blatantly vaginal gash in a frog on a dissecting pan (surrounded by pools and pearls of liquid).
added by stephmo | editSalon.com, Douglas Wolk (Nov 7, 2005)
The arrival of Halloween always brings with it a plethora of horror-related media, including comix. This season's standout graphic novel focuses on one of the scariest of all horrors: high school. The title of Charles Burns' long-awaited book, Black Hole (Pantheon; 368 pages; $25), says it all. For many people—including myself, naturally—high school felt like an endless, inescapable vacuum without air or light. Unlike more conventional horror stories set among high school kids, where each one gets "offed" by a masked killer, Black Hole uses the worst parts of emerging adulthood, like changing bodies, alienation and sex, as the sources for a skin-crawling creep fest that will likely be the best graphic novel of the year.
I couldn't really get into the book, i was reading it but it didn't really have a good message to me personally.
added by NickGrey | editComputer, Zak Scales

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Burnsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ahokas, JuhaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to Dean, Mark, J., Phil, Casey, Colleen, Vickie, Mike, Patty, Janet Penny, Lisa, Jeri, John, Karen, Kathy, Reta, Claudia, Ted, Terri, Doug, Paul, Jan, Tom, Scott, Kurt, Ann, Kim,Diane, Sally, Kathleen, Mari, Libby, Jon, Jim, Pat and Pete. I never forgot you.

Thanks to John Kuramoto for his technical assistance and to Susan Moore who lettered this entire book.
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It was so weird.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375714723, Paperback)

The first issues of Charles Burns's comics series Black Hole began appearing in 1995, and long before it was completed a decade later, readers and fellow artists were speaking of it in tones of awe and comparing it to recent classics of the form like Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan and Daniel Clowes's Ghost World. Burns is the sort of meticulous, uncompromising artist whom other artists speak of with envy and reverence, and we asked Ware and Clowes to comment on their admiration for Black Hole:

"I think I probably learned the most about clarity, composition, and efficiency from looking at Charles's pages spread out on my drawing table than from anyone's; his was always at the level of lucidity of Nancy, but with this odd, metallic tinge to it that left you feeling very unsettled, especially if you were an aspiring cartoonist, because it was clear you'd never be half as good as he was. There's an almost metaphysical intensity to his pinprick-like inkline that catches you somewhere in the back of the throat, a paper-thin blade of a fine jeweler's saw tracing the outline of these thick, clay-like human figures that somehow seem to "move," but are also inevitably oddly frozen in eternal, awkward poses ... it's an unlikely combination of feelings, and it all adds up to something unmistakably his own.

"I must have been one of the first customers to arrive at the comic shop when I heard the first issue of Black Hole was out 10 years ago, and my excitement didn't change over the years as he completed it. I don't think I've ever read anything that better captures the details, feelings, anxieties, smells, and cringing horror of my own teenage years better than Black Hole, and I'm 15 years younger than Charles is. Black Hole is so redolently affecting one almost has to put the book down for air every once in a while. By the book's end, one ends up feeling so deeply for the main character it's all one can do not to turn the book over and start reading again." --Chris Ware "Charles Burns is one of the greats of modern comics. His comics are beautiful on so many levels. Somehow he has managed to capture the essential electricity of comic-book pop-art iconography, dragging it from the clutches of Fine Art back to the service of his perfect, precise-but-elusive narratives in a way that is both universal in its instant appeal and deeply personal." --Dan Clowes

Questions for Charles Burns

Amazon.com: Cartoonists are about the only people today who are working like Dickens did: writing serials that appear piece-by-piece in public before the whole work is done. What's it like to work in public like that, and for as long as a project like this takes?
Charles Burns: There were a number of reasons for serializing Black Hole. First of all, I wanted to put out a traditional comic book-- I'd never really worked in that comic pamphlet format before and liked the idea of developing a long story in installments. There's something very satisfying to me about a comic book as an object and I enjoyed using that format to slowly build my story. Serializing the story also allowed me to focus on shorter, more manageable portions; if I had to face creating a 368-page book all in one big lump, I don't know if I’d have the perseverance and energy to pull it off.
Amazon.com: One thing that stuns me about this book is how consistent it is from start to finish. From the first frames to the last ones that you drew 10 years later, you held the same tone and style. It feels as though you had a complete vision for the book from the very beginning. Is that so? Or did things develop unexpectedly as you worked on it?
Burns: I guess there's a consistency in Black Hole because of the way I work. I write and draw very slowly, always carefully examining every little detail to make sure it all fits together the way I want it to. When I started the story, I had it all charted out as far as the basic structure goes, but what made working on it interesting was finding new ways of telling the story that hadn't occurred to me.
Amazon.com: Some of the very best of the recent graphic novels (I'm thinking of Ghost World and Blankets, along with Black Hole) have been about the lives of teenagers. Do you think there's something about the form that helps to tell those stories so well?
Burns: That's an interesting question, but I don't know the answer. Perhaps it has more to do with the authors--the kind of people who stay indoors for hours on end in total solitude working away on their heartfelt stories... maybe that kind of reflection lends itself to being able to capture the intensity of adolescence.
Amazon.com: In the time you've been working on Black Hole, graphic novels have leapt into the mainstream. (I think--I hope--we're finally seeing the last of those "They're not just for kids anymore!" reviews.) What did you imagine for this project when you started it? What's it been like to see your corner of the world enter the glare of the spotlight?
Burns: When I started Black Hole I really just wanted to tell a long, well-written story. The themes and ideas that run throughout the book had been turning around in my head for years and I wanted to finally get them all out--put them down on paper once and for all. I've published a few other books and while they sold reasonably well, they didn't set the publishing world on fire. I was pretty sure I'd have some kind of an audience for Black Hole, but that was never a motivating factor in writing the book. And my corner of the world is still pretty dark. I guess I'll be stepping into the spotlight for a little while when the book comes out, but I imagine I'll slip back into my dark little studio when it all settles down again so I can settle back into work.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:39 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Seattle teenagers of the 1970s are suddenly faced with a devastating, disfiguring, and incurable plague that spreads only through sexual contact.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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