Cover image for Sugar skull
Title:
Sugar skull
Author:
Burns, Charles, 1955- , artist, author.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Pantheon Books, [2014]

©2014
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 31 cm
Summary:
"The long, strange trip that began in X'ed Out and continued in The Hive reaches its mind-bending, heartbreaking end, 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" --
General Note:
Chiefly illustrations.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307907905
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The long, strange trip that began in X'ed Out and continued in The Hive reaches its mind-bending, heartbreaking end, 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...

(With full-color illustrations throughout.)


Author Notes

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 since he has worked on a wide range of projects including album covers, ad campaigns, and set design. He has illustrated covers for Time, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and is cover artist for The Believer. Black Hole received Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz awards in 2005. Burns lives in Philadelphia with his wife and daughters.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Concluding the saga begun in X'ed Out (2010) and continued in The Hive (2012), Burns delves ever more deeply into the dual existences of his young hero, Doug. We continue to follow him in his waking hours, where we learn more about his fixation on his ex-girlfriend Sarah and the tragedy that his obsession inexorably draws him toward. Meanwhile, Doug's recurring dream state, in which he's a worker alongside the monstrous denizens of a hive-like netherworld, grows more nightmarish; and the disturbing parallels with his waking life become even more pronounced, giving clues to the pivotal secret that he's been unable to face consciously. The deadpan clarity of Burns' moody yet sensual artwork only accentuates the underlying sense of dread that has permeated all three volumes. The drawn-out process of completing the trilogy has been cruel to Burns' fans, but at last now they can finally learn the answers to the mysteries of Doug's converging realities. However, newcomers, who can now devour the entire work at once, will likely have a more satisfying reading experience.--Flagg, Gordon Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Completing his trilogy that began in 2010 with X'ed Out and continued with The Hive in 2012, Burns brings the story of amnesiac Doug to a devastating conclusion. Only an artist of Burns' precision and vision could keep all the plates of this dimension and time hopping tale spinning so smoothly. In the first two volumes we met Doug, whose story jumps back and forth in between his relationship with a girl named Sarah and his future as a pill-popping loser. Along the way his avatar, Nit-Nit, has surreal adventures in a bleak parallel world full of disgustingly pitiful creatures. In the final volume, the horrors pile up as the many careful symbols that Burns has set up in the previous 128 pages-a pig fetus, a mask, a Polaroid, a pink blanket-manifest into a nightmarish existence that Doug can't escape from, whether it's the real world, in which Doug's attempts at a relationship are sabotaged by his break-up with Sarah, or his fantasy, in which we learn, in grotesque detail, just where those eggs seen on the cover of The Hive are coming from. Like Black Hole, this trilogy is a masterpiece of dread and wasted opportunity. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Only an artist as audacious as Burns would attempt a mashup of William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch and Tintin, the internationally beloved comic book adventurer; only a master storyteller would be able to carve a startlingly moving tale of love, loss, and regret out of that unlikely pairing. Completing the narrative Burns began in X'ed Out, here protagonist Doug is struggling with grief over the death of his father and haunted by a shattered romance. Doug's story is intercut with that of a man wandering an eerie, decaying wasteland filled with freaks and monsters, obsessed with the beautiful broodmare for a race of lizard people. Burns demands and rewards attentive reading, letting the novel unfold in a fractured chronology and employing patterns of repeated imagery and color to draw connections between the two narratives. He brings them together into something altogether new that blends bildungsroman with visceral horror to elucidate the mental state of his protagonist. While Burns has long been known for his ability to make readers squirm, this volume highlights his skill as a compassionate observer of human folly. Verdict Highly recommended, especially for horror fans unafraid of feeling a more nuanced range of emotions. [Five-city tour.]-Thomas L. Batten, Grafton, VA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.