Charles Burns : Trou noir
#comic strips A talented illustrator who came late to comics, Charles Burns draws black stories on a black background. He started his career in comics with pastiches of horror stories and strange detective stories El Borbah and Big Baby (short story collections) before starting his big series: Black Hole. It took 10 years to produce this masterpiece, delivered in 12 volumes from 1995 to 2005 (1998 to 2005 for the French version, before the complete one in 2006). Comme At Clowes, we stay in adolescence and its great questions, sexuality, the quest for self and the difficulty of finding our place.
Immersed in the teenage world of Seatle’s suburbs in the late 1970s, a world marked by the arrival of “ la Crève ”, a STD (sexually transmitted disease) that spreads very quickly and is not unlike AIDS that appeared on the same date. But unlike AIDS, “ la plague ado ” causes physical mutations in infected people. Growths, malformations and power pimples appear on the faces & bodies of infected people and all this youth will experience this new scourge that will parasitize love relationships. The author mixes romance and gloomy atmospheres to create an exciting genre of “ creepy soap ”. Sa mastering inking highlights the very graphic and symbolic compositions of these plates, offering the reader several levels of reading on each page. With a delicate balance between sensual and distressing evocations, grandiose images and intimate fragments. The draftsman searches for the motif in the clear line and moves from figurative to expressionism, provoking and evoking in this intense black and white game.
All the grace of this book is its moments of beauty and poetry in the midst of this anguishing atmosphere. His great talent to speak as well about the human race as a whole, from the privileged to the marginalized, about these portraits of teenagers all different despite their similarities, without ever getting into the cliché or pathos. Without settling the question, this album embodies this key moment of the end of childhood & the flight towards this uncertain future that we must build in the mists of revolt and disbelief.
I have rarely been unable to sleep after closing a book because the images and characters haunt you so much, but Black Hole is one of them. A work that leaves a bitter, delicious and unforgettable memory. Un also a word about ToXic, Burns’ other great masterpiece, published in 3 volumes from 2010 to 2014 with a real continuity with Black Hole since this trilogy tells the story of the transition from childhood to adulthood and explores the theme of fatherhood. A paternity seen on several levels with this new work that reinvents Tintin’s universe with a strange and disturbing prism, a bias between punk aesthetics and homage to Hergé, between William Burroughs and Christian morality, between an arty nihilism and a desire to transmit. Between trash and sentimental comedy again. Trois volumes in color, where as for the importance of black & white in Black Hole the color also has a narrative function. Another point in common with his previous series, he also plays with time, and a system of flashbacks, intertwined dreams, fantasies become reality. Doug aka Nitnit (mirror of Tintin in the dream world) aka Johnny 23 in the punk parties of San Franscisco struggles between dream and reality. Between the past and the present, between the choices available to him that he does not understand. The author leads the reader on false leads, beliefs and misunderstandings like those that cross the character’s mind. Hergé evoked his hero as a neutral mask with which anyone could identify, Charles Burns takes this beautiful sentence literally and shows us who could be the man behind the mask.
Winner of two Ignatz Awards (2003, 2006) and an Eisner Award in 2006, Black Hole was included in the Essentiels d’Angoulême in 2007 (the awards were recast as essential without hierarchy)
Charles Burns, Black Hole ed Delcourt
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