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X'ed Out Hardcover – October 19, 2010


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X'ed Out + The Hive + Sugar Skull
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Product Details

  • Series: X'Ed Out
  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307379132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307379139
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.5 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Fusing the unsettling kitsch of EC horror comics, the storytelling sensibility of Euro-classics like Tintin, and the astute observations about young adults that made Black Hole so engrossing, Burns has turned out a haunting first chapter in what promises to be a spellbinder. The opening pages flip among the various realities of Doug, a young man recovering from a head injury of some kind with only a box of pills and some strawberry Pop-Tarts to speed his recovery. Flashbacks and dreams switch among various scenes: Doug and his hypocrite father; a wild party gone awry when Doug's crush object's crazy (but unseen) boyfriend goes on a rampage; and, most mysteriously, another world--found behind a hole in a brick wall--where dead cats live, worms weep, and a giant hive rules a grim city of deformed creatures. Burns's control of the story is masterful--the recurring imagery make it unclear just which is the reality and which is the dream. His sharply delineated art captures a grotesque yet sympathetic view of kids thrust far beyond a world that they can control or even understand. The only disappointment about X'ed Out is its brevity--the first of several installments, it will leave you begging for the rest of the story.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The latest work from Burns, who is known for his weirdly cryptic yet strangely comedic graphic novels, may be his most enigmatic effort yet. It opens with Doug, a young student with an unspecified head injury, recalling a dream—or is it?—in which he follows his dead cat, Inky, into a bizarre, devastated environment populated by lizard-faced men and other grotesque creatures. Doug’s waking life is nearly as disturbing: his mother is mostly absent, his father is zoned out, and the object of his affections, a girl from his photography class, has a violent but mysteriously unseen boyfriend. Burns’ neurotically precise, high-contrast artwork evokes a surface normalcy that makes the underlying creepiness all the more disconcerting. This too-brief volume—the first in a series—is tantalizing but frustrating, raising questions that readers can only hope will be answered in future installments: What is the nature of the injury that’s left Doug largely bedridden and dependent on pills? Where will the ominous relationship with his classmate lead? And what’s with all the Tintin references that permeate the tale? --Gordon Flagg

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Customer Reviews

Very good art.
Madwoes
This book is a great gift if you don't know what to give someone.
baby nightsoil
I wouldn't mind having the five minute's it took to read back.
Geoff Rogers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mitch Jones on October 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sensitive stoner poets should enjoy this a lot. Complaints about length seem irrelevant given the amount of time Burns must have spent on this. I'd pay up to $30 for the amazing artwork here. Sure the story's a bit out there, but it has heart where it counts. Burns might throw a gruesome image of a human-faced worm at you, but he'll make sure the worm is crying so you feel weird about it. I don't doubt that we have a masterpiece in the making here.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By paedagogue on April 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
and not in a trivial way. As an art historian, I can assure potential readers that this is the real thing, art that engages a long, weird, beautiful tradition of imaginative art. Ancient sacred images (Mesopotamian, Chinese, Precolumbian, African), medieval drolleries, Bosch, Bruegel, Leonardo, Duchamp, Magritte, Dali, the great masters of the early comic strip and the great Pop artists of our own mid-20th century--it's all there, filtered through the weird scrim of mid-20th-century horror comics and brought back to life in a narrative of youthful heartbreak, illness and partial amnesia. To those who complain about the price--oh PLEASE! You'd probably fork out $25 or more for one seriously crummy undersized reproduction of your favorite Surrealist picture, where here you are offered a whole book's-worth of beautiful ORIGINAL art that takes you on a journey into several strange worlds and a single human heart. I buy books about art all the time, and I do look at the cost-per-page ratio, but this book IS a work of art: the large page-size, the clean, stylish design in-page and page-to-page, the radiant color, the unhurried pacing of the poetically concise "script," all add up to a one-of-a-kind experience. It's a total bargain. I look forward to the sequel, but if it remains unfinished, I'll still feel I've made a fantastic purchase.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Madwoes on November 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This was my first real introduction to Burns's work and I was quite impressed. Very good art. "Art" in the truest sense of the word. There were two panels in particular that were so stunningly visceral (due to the character's expressions) that they stayed with me for a long time. The slowly evolving story lines range from the dreamlike to the stunningly familiar, and they don't clearly connect at first, but come together towards the end. This is a weird book and beautifully so. However, it definitely ends leaving you wanting more. It ended right as I was starting to become fully immersed. Looking forward to more!
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Format: Hardcover
(NOTE: although this isn't really the type of story that gets 'spoiled' by 'spoilers', I do blather on about this amazing book in perhaps too much detail... but since any real answers won;t be found until the final book is released later this year, it's all speculation.)
Anytime Charles Burns touches ink to paper is something worth taking notice of, even if it's one of his many covers for 'The Believer'. But the first book of his new trilogy is an event I was waiting for impatiently, wondering what direction he might take after the decade-long construction of what I feel is the greatest work in the history of sequential art, 'Black Hole'. This opening act is Burns' full-color debut, and he utilizes his razor-sharp linework without relying as heavily on the Al Feldstein-Milt Caniff-type stylized spot-blacks he's known for, leaning toward the European influences in his art instead. The 'ligne claire' of Herge, Edgar P. Jacobs and Joost Swarte has always been an important, if less recognized, element in his art, going all the way back to the 80's and his days at 'Raw' and 'Heavy Metal', when he shared the pages with Swarte, Yves Chaland, Moebius, Vittorio Giardino and Francois Schuiten. His 'Charles Burns Library' featured endpapers and cover designs based on the famous Tintin albums, and his latest work once again pays homage to Herge, beginning with the red & white egg on the cover, which derives from an early adventure entitled 'The Shooting Star'. Then there is the persona that the protagonist, Doug, assumes as an aspiring performance artist/poet, donning a Tintin mask and reversing the name to call himself "Nitnit". But he's in a bad place, far from the wholesome, globetrotting adventures of the intrepid young Belgian reporter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By baby nightsoil on January 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first Charles Burns I encountered after reading Black Hole. It's similar to Black Hole with two MAJOR differences: 1) Black Hole was black and white, this is color 2) Black Hole was very long, X'ed is a very short part of a longer story.

This book is a great gift if you don't know what to give someone. It will make you look hip and they will appreciate it.
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By Ben Bertin on September 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An alternating pattern of panels at the front of Charles Burns' latest work in comic art, X'ed Out, presents (almost theatrically) the story to come in the truest and simplest form of comic language. The six by three arrangement of vertical panels (solid black, black, red, red, etc.) sets the precedent for the panel structure of every page to follow. The visual tension of the two colors set on the white background reflects the sometimes sharp and painful moments found within as well as the jumps in the story from the dream world to the real world, and from memory to memory. And look: don't the black panels together form an "X"? The red panels a crude "O"?

X'ed Out is the first book in what will ultimately be a three volume series. The format of the book is based on a European comic album (Tim Hensley's Wally Gropius, released earlier this year, is presented similarly) and is printed in beautiful full color (Burns' work is normally presented in a strikingly graphic black and white). On one side of this checkerboard of a story is Doug, an art school student in 1970's America who reads his William Burroughs inspired poetry at punk shows and snaps photos with his Polaroid SX-70 instant camera; on the other side is Doug's dream-world alter-ego Nitnit, a character homage to one of modern comics more important ancestors, Hergé's Tintin. For the story, Burns' drew on his own subconscious influences and conscious memories, collected over the span of his lifetime and arranged à la Burroughs' cut-up into the final product.

Tintin, though, is perhaps the most important influence found in the pages of X'ed Out.
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