Cover image for The hive
The hive
Burns, Charles, 1955- , artist, author.
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Pantheon Books, [2012]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly color illustrations ; 31 cm
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.

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FICTION Graphic Novel Central Library
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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.

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 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.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Burns continues the story begun in X'ed Out (2010) of Doug, the victim of a mysterious head injury who vacillates between a dreamed existence, in which he's toiling as a delivery boy in a hivelike netherworld populated by grotesque figures, and his memories of his doomed relationship with the troubled Sarah and her violent ex-boyfriend. The two realities begin to overlap. In the hive, Doug delivers old-fashioned romance comics to Lily, one of the young breeders enslaved to produce workers as the waking Doug reminisces about Sarah's fondness for the kitschy comics. While the hive sequences have the nightmarish logic of a fever dream, Sarah's disturbing behavior and Doug's discoveries about his emotionally inaccessible father make his waking life seem somehow even more unsettling. Burns' straightforward, hard-edged artwork, with its sensuous brushwork and dramatic shadows, makes both realities creepily convincing. Doug's fate and the significance of the eerie hive will presumably be resolved in the third volume of this trilogy. Until then, Burns' fans can luxuriate in the pair of bizarre worlds that he's created.--Flagg, Gordon Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.