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The Hiveby Charles Burns
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 07:30 PM
Powell's City of Books on Burnside, Portland, OR
The long, strange trip that began in Charles Burns's X'ed Out and continued in The Hive reaches its mind-bending, heartbreaking end in Sugar Skull (Pantheon), but not before Doug is forced to deal with the lie he's been telling himself since the beginning. In this concluding volume, nightmarish dreams evolve into an even more dreadful reality.
Synopses & Reviews
From the creator of Black Hole ("The best graphic novel of the year." —Time; "Burns's masterwork." —The New York Times Book Review), the second part of a new epic masterpiece of graphic horror in brilliant, vivid color.
Much has happened since we last saw Doug, the Tintin-like hero from X'ed Out. Confessing his past to an unidentified woman, Doug struggles to recall the mysterious incident that left his life shattered, an incident that may have involved his disturbed and now-absent girlfriend, Sarah, and her menacing ex-boyfriend.
Doug warily seeks answers in a nightmarish alternate world that is a distorted mirror of our own, where he is a lowly employee that carts supplies around the Hive. The second part of Charles Burns's riveting trilogy, this graphic narrative will delight and surpass the expectations of his fans.
"Burns's oeuvre is frequently cited as 'strange,' but that's perhaps oversimplifying a world more thought-provokingly described as recognizably like our own, except for when it's not — and it's the difference between the two where Burns's power to shine a light on the darker side of human nature lies. This is the second volume of a trilogy begun in X'ed Out, and as such has an unfinished feeling. We return to Doug, the protagonist, whose recounting of his relationship with a young woman shifts back and forth between the less surreal of the book's two environments and another where his apparent alter ego works in a dreary factory/hospital providing books to its monster patients. Both scenarios occur in an eerie alternate reality whose visuals exude a sense of uncomfortable, riveting silence that fixes the reader's attention to the tale's odd events. Burns's stark work operates on its own nightmare logic and as a result, flesh-crawling events spew forth in the most mundane of settings. Romance comics, misshapen mutants, reptile men, a nightmare of disembowelment that yields a fetal pig, photographic obsessions and more stake out their territory — the result will stick with readers long after being absorbed. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
CHARLES BURNS grew up in Seattle in the 1970s. His work rose to prominence in Art Spiegelman's Raw magazine in the mid-1980s and took off from there, in an extraordinary range of comics and projects, from Iggy Pop album covers to the latest ad campaign for Altoids. In 1992 he designed the sets for Mark Morris's restaging of The Nutcracker (renamed The Hard Nut) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He illustrated covers for Time, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Magazine. He was also tapped as the official cover artist for The Believer magazine at its inception in 2003. Black Hole received Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz awards in 2005. Burns lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two daughters.
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