Charles Burns

Revisiting teen Seattle in the’70s

If the thinly disguised Roosevelt High School depicted in Black Hole (Pantheon, $17.95) reflects anything but Charles Burns’ own misery, it must have been a nightmarish place to be. Yet this graphic novel, new in paperback and collecting the Fantagraphics comics begun in 1995, is also sodden with the drab settings of ordinary teen life: the cafeteria, the hall, the mini-mart; the lonely bedroom, the runaway’s crash pad, the drug dealer’s ratty front room; the musty borrowed bedroom at the wan party in a temporarily parentless house. Only one thing separates this drabness from that of everyday—Burns’ teens are suffering, most of them, from a kind of plague. All you need to do to get it is have sex, but what it will do to you is never certain. It doesn’t kill, it doesn’t even necessarily disfigure, at first; but once you have it, you’re an outsider and doomed. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, www.bookstore.washington.edu. Free. 7 p.m. ROGER DOWNEY

Tue., Feb. 26, 7 p.m., 2008

 
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