Our Monsters, Ourselves

By: Gina Brandolino

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Class of 2015–you know what the pictures above are about!  For the rest of you reading here: this week in class, we’re talking about Charles Burns’s Black Hole, a graphic novel that tells the story of a group of teens passing around a sexually transmitted “bug” that gives those infected with it physically monstrous symptoms–take a look at the “before and after” high school yearbook examples below.


To get into the spirit of the book, we spent a little time today in class drawing monstrous versions of ourselves, what we imagine we might look like if infected.  Aside from being great blog eye candy, this is a really useful way to slow down and think about the artwork part of Burns’s graphic novel, which is intricate, moody, and vital to the story he has to tell.

I have my friend and colleague Angie Berkley to thank for providing the inspiration for this class activity; she lent me Lynda Barry’s excellent book Syllabusin particular her practice of having her students draw quick self-portraits. And thanks to Aaron Valdez, who possesses formidable tech skills, for helping upload all these self-portraits in very short order.


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