Charles Burns (born September 27, 1955) is an American cartoonist

Charles Burns (born September 27,
1955) is
an American cartoonist, illustrator and
film director.
urns is renowned for his meticulous,
high-contrast and creepy artwork and
stories. He lives in Philadelphia with his
wife, painter Susan Moore, and their
two daughters Ava and Rae-Rae.
His father was an oceanographer for
the government. The family moved
frequently, living in
Colorado, Maryland and Missouri befor
e settling in Seattle when Burns was in
fifth grade.
Charles Burns' earliest works include illustrations for the Sub Pop fanzine, and Another Room Magazine of Oakland,
CA, but he came to prominence when his comics were published for the first time in early issues of RAW, the avantgarde comics magazine founded in 1980 by Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman. In 1982, Burns did a die-cut cover
for RAW #4. Raw Books also published two books of Burns as 'RAW One-Shot': Big Baby and Hard-Boiled Defective
Stories. In 1994, he was awarded a Pew Fellowships in the Arts. In 1999, he showed at the Pennsylvania Academy of
the Fine Arts.
Most of Burns' short stories, published in various supports over the decades, were later collected in the three
volumes of the "Charles Burns' Library" (hardcovers from Fantagraphics Books): El Borbah (1999), Big Baby (2000),
and Skin Deep (2001). (A fourth and last volume, Bad Vibes, has yet to be published, which would have the Library
collecting the entirety of his pre-Black Hole comics work.)
From 1993 to 2004, he serialized the 12 chapters of his Harvey Award-winning graphic novel Black Hole (12 issues
from Kitchen Sink Press and Fantagraphics Books). In October 2005, he released a slightly remastered collection
of Black Hole (hardcover from Pantheon Books).
In 2007 Burns contributed material for the French made animated horror anthology Peur(s) Du Noir.
In October 2010, Burns released the first part of a new series, X'ed Out.
Black Hole is a twelve-issue comic book limited
series written and illustrated by Charles
Burns and published first by Kitchen Sink
Press and then Fantagraphics.
It was released in collected form in 2005
by Pantheon Books.
The story deals with the aftermath of a sexually
transmitted disease which causes grotesque
mutations in teenagers.
The Shooting Star is the tenth
of The Adventures of Tintin, a
series of classic comic-strip
books that were written and
illustrated by Belgian writer and
illustrator Hergé, featuring young
reporter Tintin as a hero.
The Shooting Star was first
serialized in the newspaper Le
Soir in black and white in 1941,
and was subsequently published
in a colour album in 1942.
CBR News: Typically the first question is,
"What is the book about?" Someone
asked me that about "X'ed Out," and I
said the best comparison I could think of
was "Tintin" meets "Black Hole.”
Charles Burns: There's a little bit of that.
There's certainly a very strong Herge
influence. If you just think of the FrancoBelgian style of creating comic albums in
that format, the way those European
make them which is the 64 pages, 48
pages. A hardbound albums with
continuing characters. I was one of those
rare kids of my generation who grew up
reading Tintin and it had a very profound
effect on me, so this is the way that I can
kind of reflect on that and play with some
of those ideas.
Pantheon previously published the collection of
"Black Hole." What made them the right publisher
for this book as well?
I enjoyed working with them in the past. They have a
great collection of authors that are doing comics. It
was just a matter of enjoying working with them and
thinking that I was going to give this book its best
chance to get out in bookstores.
Do your projects typically begin with
images, story, themes? What is your
A little bit of all those things. I had a very
vague idea that I wanted to do a comic
that took place during the original punk
era that I experienced living around the
Bay Area in the late seventies. It started
out as that. I had a few false starts where
I was really doing, not a literal
translation, but I was just approaching it
in a way that seemed very pedestrian.
Very uninteresting, ultimately. I also
realized in the process of making notes
and gathering ideas, that there were
other ideas that were starting to enter
into this story. The primary focus wasn't
just about punk culture or that time
period specifically. It grew out of that and
it grew out of a few false starts. You were
asking me how I work, and generally I
work just by taking notes and notations
and little scribbles, drawings, sketches,
that sort of thing, and going from there.
You have a reputation for meticulous
work. Is it just a question that every step
takes a lot of time?
Yeah, it's a continual thing. In this book in
particular, even though I have a skeletal
structure for everything in the story, I'm
also allowing for a lot of things to enter
into it that I'm not anticipating, which is
making the whole process interesting for
me. The process is, a huge amount of
information gets jumbled back and forth
and back and forth and then it gets
distilled down to very, very specific, very
tightly gridded out comics that you finally

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