X'ed Out by Charles Burns

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From the creator of Black Hole: the first volume of an epic masterpiece of graphic fiction in brilliant color.
Doug is having a strange night. A weird buzzing noise on the other side of the wall has woken him up, and there, across the room, next to a huge hole torn out of the bricks, sits his beloved cat, Inky. Who died years ago. But who’s nonetheless slinking out through the hole, beckoning Doug to follow.
What’s going on?
To say any more would spoil the freaky, Burnsian fun, especially because X’ed Out, unlike Black Hole, has not been previously serialized, and every unnervingly meticulous panel will be more tantalizing than the last . . .
Drawing inspiration from such diverse influences as Hergé and William Burroughs, Charles Burns has given us a dazzling spectral fever-dream—and a comic-book masterpiece.

About Charles Burns

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CHARLES BURNS grew up in Seattle in the 1970s. His work rose to prominence in Art Spiegelman's Raw magazine in the mid-1980s and took off from there. He has illustrated covers for Time, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Magazine, among many other publications. Burns's most recent book, Black Hole, received Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz awards in 2005. He lives in Philadelphia.
Published October 1, 2010 by Jonathan Cape. 56 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for X'ed Out

Kirkus Reviews

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The title might refer to the Xs on the calendar that he uses to keep track of his pills or the cuts on the arm of the young woman, though it is never entirely clear whether these flashbacks are memories or simply another alternative reality conjured by the bandaged man in the bed—assuming there r...

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The Guardian

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While I understand that X'ed Out, the new graphic novel by Charles Burns, might not be everyone's cup of tea, it is – nerd alert!

Oct 10 2010 | Read Full Review of X'ed Out

New York Journal of Books

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Moreover, his palpable fear of the world beyond his dreams renders him sympathetic even as his vanity—embodied by, among other things, a near obsession with snapping Polaroid self-portraits—brings out the worst of his adolescent ego.Artistically, Burns is at his visual best when depicting the dis...

Oct 19 2010 | Read Full Review of X'ed Out

Los Angeles Times

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(Pantheon). Jacket cover of the book, X'ed Out by Charles Burns. Pantheon. This
photo is featured in these articles: Book review: 'X'ed Out' by Charles Burns ...

May 14 2014 | Read Full Review of X'ed Out

Los Angeles Times

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In his graphic novel, Burns uses his a recurring nightmare as a reconsideration of Hergé's globetrotting boy reporter. Tintin, meet Nitnit.

Nov 19 2010 | Read Full Review of X'ed Out

Review (Barnes & Noble)

But in Burns's newest, X'ed Out—which is the first 56-page installment in a longer tale of indeterminate length—I found myself thinking of earlier models for the type of story Burns seems bent on telling.

Oct 19 2010 | Read Full Review of X'ed Out

Teen Reads

And just as we begin to think we know where this story is going, we meet Doug’s father, whose role in the puzzle seems possibly frightening and twisted.

Oct 19 2010 | Read Full Review of X'ed Out


In line with Tintin and Snowy, Nitnit and Inky move quickly from motivation to action, allowing X’ed Out to quickly unravel without much in the way of a proper “set up.” Beyond the wall of Nitnit’s bedroom lies a dark otherworld of strange aliens, lizard men, mutated fetuses, and giant eggs, and ...

Nov 16 2010 | Read Full Review of X'ed Out

Book Forum

It is formatted like a Tintin graphic novel: tall and wide, with a regimented panel grid, and colors that both depict (Doug's antiseptic brown and yellow suburban home) and layer symbolic meaning (a burgundy red that evokes both biological fluids and Doug's literal and figurative brainstorms), wh...

Nov 11 2010 | Read Full Review of X'ed Out


That's still the case here, but the addition of flat colours gives it an aesthetic similarity to Hergé's Tintin books, an influence also suggested by the appearance of Doug's dream self, and a few more subtle visual clues.

Oct 27 2010 | Read Full Review of X'ed Out

The Blurb

But in Doug's dreams Nitnit has the central role as he wanders a post-apocalyptic world peopled by lizard-faced humanoids, grub-eating street merchants and those distinctive speckled eggs seen on the cover (this dream world had me thinking of another possible influence,...

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