When it was finally collected by Pantheon in 2005, after a decade’s worth of serialization, Black Hole confirmed Charles Burns’s place as the master of indie horror comics. Where many of his fellow graduates of Art Spiegelman’s RAW had long sinced forsaken the teachings of the tattered EC books on which they were weaned, there was something in the youthful psychological terrors which Burns could not abandon—or perhaps more accurately, would not abandon him.
The persistent existentialist horrors of Burns’s work are, if anything, only compounded by the artist’s brush work, which has long since become one of the most familiar styles in all of contemporary sequential art, instantly recognizable, the moment it pops up in some anthology or on the frontcover of McSweeney’s The Believer–its stark, shadow-heavy black and white an ever-present homage to the subtle terror of the earliest of horror movies.
That Burns should attempt one day to make his own horror film should come as a surprise to no one. The artist happily signed on to direct a segment for Peur(s) du Noir—Fear(s) of the Dark. The Guillermo Del Toro-approved collection of dark animated shorts has been making its way around the festival circuit over the past year. The film is subtly frightening in a manner that most contemporary horror films forgo, too often embracing the shock of overt gore—a method that never seems to translate sufficiently in the world of sequential art.
Burns’s segment is the clear centerpiece of the film, and thanks to the subtle form of computer animation employed, which retains his style in a manner which would like be lost on more traditional animation methods, from the moment a character appears on the screen, there’s no doubt who’s behind the piece.
Burns, who has been traveling a bit to promote the film took time during a recent New York appearance to talk to us about Fear(s) of the Dark.
Read the rest of this entry »