The all-new, all-improved Savage Critics is off to a great start so far, as new hires Sean T. Collins and Dick Hyacinth offer their own takes on one of the best graphic novels of the past 10 years, Black Hole. Here's Sean:
Needless to say that's just about the most accurate depiction of the emotional life of teenagers I've ever seen. It's how I remember high school. It's not terribly far removed from how I remember college. (And to be perfectly honest, when I think of how I look at the world even now, it's within spitting distance of how I live today, which is probably a big part of why this is one of my favorite comics.) But of course, things do change. Bad things usually get better, which is why it's such a goddamn tragedy any time a teenager commits suicide because of a bad grade or a breakup--or when a group of sick kids feels it necessary to drop out of school, run away from home, and in the case of some characters literally throw their lives away. And unfortunately, good things often get worse; parents do understand, at least some of the time, and it's damn hard to tell someone "I'll love you forever, no matter what" and mean it, and two stoners driving across country probably won't be able to find a cozy apartment where he can make an honest living and she can work on her art and they both live happily ever after. That's a tragedy too.
And here's Dick:
Every time I look at Black Hole, the first thing that hits me is the blackness. Outdoor scenes, particularly those in forests, are common in Black Hole, and play a role in the plot and the multiple, shifting layers of symbolism. But when you first crack the book open, you're hit by the blackness of the woods, trees only distinguished by the slightest slivers of light. It's a primeval forest Charles Burns draws, the woods of fairy tales where wolfs and witches lie in wait for young people.
Dick's essay is actually part of an ongoing project of his to list what he feels are the best comics and graphic novels of the current decade. That in turn, and at the risk of stealing his thunder, leads me to ask, what books do you think should be on that list?