Charles Burns, best known for covers of The Believer
magazine and for his creepy, teen-horror epic Black Hole
, has a singular, recognizable drawing style that makes you want to stare endlessly at the page, despite being repulsed by what you see. In The Hive
, (the second book of a trilogy, following X’ed Out
), Doug is addicted to pain medication and recovering from a mysterious head injury in his parents’ basement. When he sleeps, which is most of the time, he’s dragged into a dreamworld, where he’s a distorted Tintin-like character, travelling in a foreign world that would give anyone the worst culture shock ever. Memories from Doug’s life meld with the surreal to create David Lynchian levels of foreboding. We know Doug was an art student with a girlfriend whose dark past includes a scary ex-boyfriend, and we know something went horribly wrong. His dream world gives terrifying clues about what happened, but any resolution will have to wait for the next volume.