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Black Hole is a twelve-issue comic book limited series written and illustrated by Charles Burns . Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. Nov 13, Posts about Black Hole comic book written by Mars Will Send No More. #54 of the Jack Kirby Collector, available for free download in PDF. Black Hole (Pantheon Graphic Library) [Charles Burns] on in an extraordinary range of comics and projects, from Iggy Pop album covers to the.

Ecocritics continue to privi- lege metonymy over metaphor for its positive ethical and ecological po- tentials as well.

Metaphor has the tendency to enact the disappearance of the ecological into an anthropocentric process of replacement.

Metonymy, while also contiguous, makes visible the mundane, cumulative effects of these perceptual habits. In reexamining the role of metonymy, Meehan sets up a useful framework for reading ecologically productive metonymic language in environmentally minded prose. Within Ault's framework, the juxtaposition of images in panels is one of the key features of metonymy in comics. However, image juxtaposition can also produce metaphorical expressions.

This metaphorical panel transition aligns well with Hsu's explanation of the conditioned and thus obfuscating contiguity of metaphorical depictions of ecology in prose. A conditioned reader sees juxtaposed comic images and reads them as a passage of time without a second thought.

The distinction is important because when Burns deploys metonymic contiguity, it stands out as it jars the reader, shedding light on the cumulative effects of previously unnoticed per- ceptual habits—which Hsu argues is a key to interrogating dominant ideologies In the course of their plotlines, each central protagonist con- tracts a disease that manifests as a physical mutation that connects them to ecological imagery repeated throughout the book. Keith is infatuated with Chris, but Chris becomes involved with Rob, a more popular teenager.

A facially mutated teen named Dave has been obsessed with Chris for a long time, and, in the chaotic aftermath of the disease's emergence, Dave engineers Rob's murder.

Mars Will Send No More!

The third protagonist, Eliza, forms a durable romantic bond with Keith by the book's end. The sequence opens as Keith is in biology class dissecting a frog and becomes dizzy. Before fainting, he sees four visions, each vaginal to a degree, depicted in juxtaposed panels: the opening he has cut into the frog, a gash in the sole of a foot, a large tear opening up the skin of Chris's back, and a hand over a vagina.

Keith's visions, juxtaposed images of dissimilar objects, are nevertheless bound to each other through their form and position, and take on a relational connotation. Ault explains a key panel sequence in Zippo's transformation: the curtain is itself doubled by perspective, suggesting that there is nothing behind the curtain except another 4 I S L E curtain,.

These are moments when comics' meton- ymy is most relevant to character identity formations, the audience's relationship to characters, and the space being depicted. Analyzed through Ault's framework, Burns's multilayered narrative strategies demonstrate how Lacan's categories such as the gaze, the imaginary, the symbolic, and the real can illuminate one another and allow word and image to simultaneously operate at the level of the world of the story as well as within the metonymic contiguity on the space of the page.

In his metonymic analysis of prose, Meehan has a parallel to Ault. The panels of Keith's vision function to create a metynomic effect similar to the tears in Zippo's curtain and costume. Burns uses the comic's page to capture the viewer in a simultaneous, multiple gaze, concentrated in the repetition of the wound.

The panels give way to their contents, and the wounds in these panels are echoed in the facing page. When Keith catches the disease, he develops tadpole tails growing out of the sides of his ribs, evoking the frog on his lab table as well as the mutant tail of his lover, Eliza.

When Chris catches it sexu- ally from Rob, her symptom is constantly shedding skin—a constant state of being repulsed by something that she recently was.

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She feels that way through most of the book but not at the end. Burns splits this mass unconventionally into 26 panels, through a com- bination of circular and vertical gutters. The objects in these panels will return multiple times throughout the book, revealing that their actual contiguous relationship to each other is thematic, temporal, and physi- cal.

The wound becomes the expression of Chris's mutation, the breaking and shedding of her skin. After Rob is murdered, the wound becomes a cut in Chris's foot, while Keith is again in a position to vie for Chris's attention. When Keith contracts the disease from Eliza, the wound appears as Eliza's vagina.

In contrast to Chris, Eliza is comfortable with her mutation, her tail. She is also the character most comfortable with her sexuality. In contrast to Eliza, Rob, arguably the most popular and norma- tively manly of the teens, gains a talking vagina on his neck.

Down with the kids

Because she is an artist, Eliza is arguably Black Hole's most visually oriented character. Keith verbally relinquish- es his pursuit of Chris. The metonymic plotting of this transaction is a Lacanian moment of frustration, the imaginary lack of a real object Dor In this framework, the real object of Keith's desire will become the absence of the object he has been seeking.

In contrast to Chris's vaginal mutation, Eliza, who wants Keith, has a phallic muta- tion, a tail.


Chris eerily pulls an image of a lizard sitting on a rock out of the wound in her foot and gives it to Keith, completing his transi- tion to Eliza. Like the lizard, Eliza is able to lose and re-grow her tail.

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Keith entering the polluted ravine, which included garbage and the skeletal remains of wild creatures, has parallels with the uncanniest moment of Mulholland Drive, the Breakfast at Winkie's scene. The bucket of chicken used to set up a murder in Black Hole con- tains ecological commentary on fast food as well.

The disease, like AIDS, is primarily a sexual-social disease.

More important, Burns asks the reader to imagine what it would feel like to be the outsider. As for Black Hole, some interesting aspects include the mini-text sequences that precede each volume, the point-of-view shifts and the time movements.

While Burns never reveals the cause of the STD, he also presents scenes as if looking through a navy binocular, suggesting distance from and between the reader and characters. Only one of the pairs comes together on point at the end. What dispels the temptation to suggest that Burns is taking a moral stance on the issue of teen sex is his inclusion of Dee and his girlfriend Jill, who entertain a sexual relationship while being disease-free no.

This suggests two possibilities: It is the mini-text sequences, however, that anchors the view that the teen plague stands in for the AIDS virus. The following quotes illustrate this most clearly, though the speaker s is are never revealed: That his face resembles the face of drug dealer Bruce suggests both the unpredictability of the disease and the similarity between their lifestyles: Burns, however, only hints at the possibility that transmission of the teen plague results from unprotected sex.

Her own thoughts as she reflects back on these moments in no. In panels 10 and 11, which appear side by side in vertical parallel, Burns creatively switches the forward-facing images of Rob and Chris in the individual panels by taking their backside images and positioning them in the center of both panels, though they appear on the far right and far left respectively in the individual panels.

In both cases, however, their literal movement as they make their way to the cemetery is suggested by the subtle shifts in the tree and cloud backdrops.

As before, Burns does not abandon his technique, but in panels , the tombstones define the movement.

Likewise, the position of the panels are different, as panels line up vertically and take up just over half of the page, while panel 18 takes up the space horizontally beneath them.

However, while Burns uses this technique throughout the series, it is not always movement-specific as here. Unlike AIDS, however, the teen plague in Black Hole results in physical mutations, though these are not always easily observable by other people; Eliza, for example, grows a tail. The fear that arises from this in panels — Rob for thinking Chris knew about it, Chris for not knowing about it — invites the reader to associate their fear.

Turning now to no. Similarly to no. More important, Keith weaves between the real and fantasy. Where wavy-lined panels in no.

The first part of no. These fantasies come into play again toward the end of the middle part, where the guys exchange money for drugs. It is in the last part that Eliza begins her seduction of Keith, but the sexual act will not be consummated until no.

Because of the graphic form, descriptive words or narrative passages are few, so the drawings are our principal route into understanding the characters and following their stories.

Here, new difficulties arise almost from the beginning. Most of these teenagers look alike: they have the same kind of hair, same kind of face; they wear unmemorable clothes.

One relationship between two young people is especially confusing until you notice, after one of them has bared her breasts, that the other has a small, faintly drawn beard.

In general, Burns does not draw faces well: one of the crucial characters, a menace stalking these young people through the woods, looks as if he is wearing a mask. Only as the story goes on do we realise it's intended to be a beard and moustache, and he is therefore older.

Black Hole (1-10 series)

The storytelling is also difficult to follow. Like a lot of comics writers Burns makes free use of flashbacks, fantasies, dreams and memories, in this case signalled by the fact that the frames that are imaginary have serrated edges. This we understand.Finally, the language and dialogue are monosyllabic, flat, geeky. Reprint There's a bunch of creepy crafts in the woods that hint at a sinister individual lurking at the edge of the teens' vision.

But I loved this! I didn't care about any of the characters and kept wishing they would just up and kill themselves already to please spare me from any more Lord of the Flies allusions.

New York: Columbia UP, Burns: I guess there's a consistency in Black Hole because of the way I work. The characters feel so real, their struggles so sympathetic and universal, that it's hard to forget. This is an overly simple explanation in my opinion and did not figure any of those missing connections that would be present in real life.

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