I was initially resistant to the idea of buying what are essentially hardcover, single issues of a comic book series, but Charles Burns' X'ed Out ultimately wore me down. Though it was $20 for only 56 pages, that was trumped a little by the over-sized design and obvious Tintin influences, and a lot by the numerous recommendations from people I respect. I'm so glad I changed my mind.
One of the sucky things about the single-issue format (regardless of how handsomely it's packaged) is waiting for the next issue and it's been two years since X'ed Out. Fortunately, that wait is coming to a close this Oct. 9 with the release of The Hive. It's $22 now and still only 56 pages, but the second volume of Burns' untitled trilogy promises to be as unmissable as the first. The publisher describes it this way:
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.