08 March 2006

Catch The Burns Bug

More exciting news from the comics-to-celluloid front: Heavy-hitters Paramount and MTV Films have optioned Charles Burns' "Black Hole" for the big screen, and have enlisted fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman and former-Tarantino partner Roger Avary to take the first pass at the adaptation. Alexandre Aja, whose debut "Haute Tension" won him mucho acclaim (and much derision over its rug-pull of an ending) and whose remake of Wes Craven's "The Hills Have Eyes" looks very promising indeed, will direct after he completes his next feature, "The Waiting" (presumably not based on the Tom Petty song...).

Indie vet Burns, whose stark, oily inking style and misshapen figures mash-up the innocent with the macabre, took nearly a decade to complete "Black Hole", which was collected in hardcover late last year by Fantagraphics. One of the most gruesome, nightmarish, and incredibly sad comics I've ever read, the serial chronicles how "the bug"--a horrible, sexually transmitted disease-- disrupts the lives of a group of Seattle teens during the 1970s who are already coping with the usual perils and traumas of impending adulthood. Grotesque and unflinching, yes, but it's nothing less than a masterwork--of storytelling and comics art--and definitely merits your attention.

Here's a decent interview with Burns from The Comics Journal...