I always liked Charles Burns’ cover art for The New Yorker and The Believer, but was initially wary of his graphic novel, Black Hole. It took him years to finish, and was about 300 pages. For a comic book. Can you blame me for avoiding it?
That is, until I actually read Black Hole from cover to cover. It’s like immersing yourself into the other-world of someone like David Lynch or William Burroughs.
Now, Burns has joined five of the world’s leading graphic artists to make an animated film called Fear(s) of the Dark. Surreal, subversive, dark images of teenagers and children, four-legged creatures and hypodermic needles. Not your typical blockbuster fare.
Burns is one of those visual artists whose art just happens to compliment his natural sense of narrative. Kind of like Adrian Tomine, the graphic novelist behind Summer Blonde and Shortcomings–perhaps the most life-filled, sad, and realistic vignettes about modern young people to have come out in the last decade. I used to teach Summer Blonde in my literature courses, and my students either loved it or hated it (and by extension, me). But back to Charles Burns: I think he’s a genius because like Wm. Burroughs he has no filter and is unafraid to put his darkest, most furtive desires on the page.
I can’t wait to see his work on the big screen.