Black Hole Discussion Starter

I have scoured the internet for Black Hole Discussion questions!  And now I will synthesize them into a list for you to think about in anticipation for the discussion in ONE WEEK (squee).

banished to the woods. photo by flickr user Emanuele Monaco

1. What did you think of the mutations?  If you were mutated, how do you think it would manifest in you (think of your teenage self).

2a. Black Hole has a horror feel to it.  Did you feel any of that horror or did the plight of its characters seem banal?

2b. How did the artwork add to or detract from the plot and atmosphere? Did it make you more uncomfortable than if it were just described in prose?

3. What do you think the main theme or emotion of Black Hole is and where do you see it working in the story?

4. Do you think the mutations are a metaphor for something in our society?

Sources and further questions to think about:

Association of College & Research Libraries Guide

Arapahoe Library District questions & the group’s answers

The Goodreads Book Club discussion of Black Hole

It’s also worth checking out the history of Black Hole being optioned/adapted for film. Neil Gaiman was once hired to be the scriptwriter for an as-yet-unmade full length production, and Rupert Sanders of Snow White and the Hunstman/Kristen Stewart affair fame did a short adapatation that can be found on Vimeo.  I haven’t watched it… yet.  But it’s probalby NSFW.  More info here.

Charles Burns did an animation of his own work a couple years back, for a festival of short films called Fear(s) of the Dark, and he talks about it here.

See you in a week!

– Tessa


Black Hole Almost-Likes (Kinda’ Sorta’.)

Coming up with honest-to-goodness ‘read-a-likes’ for Black Hole was difficult for me as I’ve never read anything really like it, and I don’t  know anything about the surrealist genre, or being a teen in the 70’s, or being infected with, well…whatever.

However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t try. So with that caveat in mind. Here are two things that I came across which tread at least similar waters:

Perfect Example by John Porcellino

Graphic Novel about a teen trying to figure out the world, and his place in it, during the summer of 1986, before going off to college. For John, friends, girls, and even Heavy Metal don’t seem to be what they once were. He’s just sad all the time. The message seems to be about the realization that you are no longer a child, but not yet an adult either, and you don’t know what to do about it. Pocellino’s ‘school notebook doodle’ artwork style puctuates the desire to want to simplify the world at that age, but finding out that it’s not that easy.

The Ice Storm by Rick Moody

It’s Thanksgiving weekend 1973 in the ex-urbs of Connecticut, just a train ride away from New York City. The Hood family are your guides through the pre-disco, Nixonian era, with American involvement in Vietnam ending, and suburban excess and cynicism destroying the memory of the idealisitc 60’s. While Benjamin Hood is paying frequent visits to his neighbor Janey, and Stepford wife Elena devours self-help books, son Paul heads to NYC in an attempt to win the heart of the out-of-his-league girl from school, and daughter Wendy gets into the bottles, and pants, of her neighbors.

Did I mention the massive early winter ice storm that paralyzes the area?

A very well done film adaptation was released in 1997 staring Kevin Kline (Benjamin), Joan Allen (Elena), Christina Ricci (Wendy), Sigourney Weaver (Janey), and a pre-Peter Paker Tobey Maguire (Paul).  There’s also appearances by a pre-Frodo Elijah Wood, and a pre-everything Katie Holmes.

Umm, Paul? Why are you hanging from the ceiling…and what’s that stuff on your hands?








It really is a good film – even with the Nixon mask make-out scene.

Lili Coffee*Shop & Copacetic Comics

On the corner of 3038 Dobson St., nestled in the middle of Polish Hill, there’s a red brick building that holds three very exciting destinations:

1. Lili Coffee*Shop – coffee, food, music

2. Copacetic Comics – all sorts of visual fun

3. Mindcure Records – buy,l sell & trade

If you haven’t been to Polish Hill in a while, or thought that it was mostly houses and Gooski’s, then you’ve been missing a lot!  There’s a pool, a Civic Association, a place to make art, a gorgeous church, and these three shops, not to mention an all-around cute, friendly neighborhood.


Polish Hill! photo by flickr user niemster

When the Book Buzz committee was deciding on what titles to pick and where to discuss them, I immediately thought that we should discuss a graphic novel at Lili Coffee*Shop, because I’d recently been there for a talk and signing by 2 new comics luminaries and had had a chance to visit the comic shop upstairs.  Lili is a small space packed with charm (and a delicious tempeh reuben), and they manage to host a variety of events, including live bands and literary readings. Copacetic is a treasure trove of independent comics. It would be the perfect place to discuss a graphic novel!

If Dan’s post on Black Hole piques your interest, I hope to see you at Lili Coffee*Shop on August 20th to discuss the book!