Black HoleS

If there was a better sci-fi/horror as metaphor for the human condition story than Charles Burns' Black Hole in the last decade, then we'd like to see it. Part AIDS-metaphor, part allegory for adolescent paranoia and leaving childhood things behind, it also works on a more straight-forward, "Subtext? What subtext?" level, which is where it succeeds when more well-known efforts (Hello, V) fail. Ten years in the making (during which time Burns' art style become so well-known thanks to gigs like his regular The Believer covers and patronage from uber-designer Chip Kidd that it spawned imitations), the finished version - published in 2005 - reads like the ultimate horror story: Something so outlandish and, in its own way, horrific that it couldn't be true, but which feels real to everyone that reads it and had a troubled adolescence. Which is to say, everyone.

While The Zeroes/Aughts/That First Decade We Don't Have A Good Name For ended up as an undead clusterfuck, it's worth remembering the comic that got started before the mainstream got bitten by the zombie plague: Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead isn't just the book that made his reputation (Or one of them, at least; Invincible did more than a little bit of the heavy-lifting as well), it's also the book that's been strong enough to withstand the onslaught of zombies in comics and all other forms of media. Slow, atmospheric and appropriately bleak, we have no idea where it's going next... but we're sure it's nowhere good.

Next: Casanova