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slant

Black Hole

CHARLES BURNS GETS OFF TO great starts, though his comic-book episodes don’t begin in media res so much as in the middle of nowhere. Take issue no. 6 of his ongoing series Black Hole (Fantagraphics Books): On the left page, a teeny square hit of acid sticks to a strip of Scotch tape on a pitch-black ground. On the right, a pudgy teenage girl in a bra and jeans, arms hanging like summer sausages, stands in her dorky bedroom (Siamese cat posters, Christmas-caroling-Hummel-figurine knockoffs, a framed yearbook portrait, a ceramic pencil mug) wearing a dumb smile, her shiny hair parted down the middle; the word windowpane vibrates in psychedelic lettering across the top of the page, signaling the type of acid. More than just name-dropping, Burns offers privileged access to Black Hole’s teenage milieu not by way of an open door but by sneaking us in through the window.

Tweaked perceptions are

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