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Black hole (comics)

The meaning of «black hole (comics)»

Black Hole is a twelve-issue comic book limited series written and illustrated by Charles Burns and published first by Kitchen Sink Press, then Fantagraphics. It was released in collected form in 2005 by Pantheon Books. The story deals with the aftermath of a sexually transmitted disease that causes grotesque mutations in teenagers. Burns has said that the mutations can be read as a metaphor for adolescence, sexual awakening and the transition into adulthood.[1]

Black Hole was published as a 12-issue comic book limited series between 1995 and 2005. The first four issues were released by Kitchen Sink Press, before the publisher went out of business. Fantagraphics republished the first four issues and the remaining eight.

A compiled hardcover volume was released by Pantheon Books in 2005, albeit without the interstitial character portraits from the single issues.[2]

Set in the suburbs of Seattle during the mid 1970s, the story follows a group of teenagers who contract a mysterious sexually transmitted disease referred to as "the Bug," which causes them to develop bizarre unique physical mutations and subsequently become social outcasts, many of them running away from home to live in the nearby woodland.

The plot focuses on two central characters who often narrate the story: Chris, a popular and respected female student, and Keith, a stoner who seems to experience anxiety. The viewpoint changes between (and sometimes within) issues. When the characters are introduced, Keith has a crush on Chris, who is kind to Keith but does not reciprocate his feelings. At a party, Chris quickly becomes infatuated with popular student Rob Fancicani. The two leave the party and have sex, Chris unaware that Rob carries the Bug. Once Chris realizes she has been infected, she and Rob do not speak for some time. Keith and Chris share a moment at another party where Keith bandages Chris' cut foot. As Keith becomes even more infatuated with Chris, she does not return his feelings. Around the same time, Keith meets Eliza, a young woman who also carries the Bug which manifests as a lizard-like tail. Despite their instant attraction, the two do not have sex.

Meanwhile, many other teens in the town have contracted the disease, and several of them seek seclusion from society due to the severity of their mutations and build an encampment in the woods outside of town. Some of the infected teens, particularly females, begin disappearing, with strange statues and even body parts being found around the woods. Chris and Rob eventually renew their relationship, which culminates with Chris running away from home to the encampment in the woods. Rob introduces Chris to Dave, a mutated teen who was unpopular and bullied while attending school. Rob continues to live with his parents and attends school, visiting Chris daily at the encampment. Meanwhile, Keith and Eliza have sex, and Keith subsequently becomes infected.

Later, an unknown mutated man murders Rob as he leaves Chris' tent one night. Chris does not know of Rob's fate, and is devastated by his disappearance. Chris starts going to The Pit, where she encounters Keith, a regular visitor who brings supplies to the teens. After pressuring her for some time, Keith convinces Chris to stay at a tract house that he is watching while its owners are on vacation. Chris eventually invites some of the other teens that frequent The Pit to stay at the tract house, which they proceed to destroy to Keith's detriment. Chris becomes closer to Dave, and the two often spend time together. However, Dave's true sinister nature shows when Chris rejects his advances. With Chris locked inside her room, Dave shoots most of the teens living in the house using a gun that he had stolen from Chris' tent. Chris flees through an open window, and Keith discovers the bodies minutes after Dave leaves.

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