A picture depicting an interview with Charles Burns is presented. It captures the moment in which he is being asked questions in a conversational manner.
The image gives an insight into his character and his life.
Charles Burns is renowned for his remarkable skills as a cartoonist.
His comics are often humorous and unsettling, yet they display tangible depth and insight, in part due to his mastery of genres such as romance, horror, and detective stories without merely disregarding or reversing their established norms.
His work appears to represent his fascination with the dichotomy between outward and inner states, as well as the interface between the visible and the underlying (which is evident in his recurrent theme of “teen plague” over the course of his long career).
In the early ’80s, Burns gained notoriety in the avant-garde comics magazine RAW.
Since then, he has published multiple collections of books, such as Big Baby in Curse of the Molemen (1986), Hard-Boiled Defective Stories (1988), Skin Deep: Tales of Doomed Romance (1992), Modern Horror Sketchbook (1994), Facetasm with Gary Panter (1998), Big Baby (2000), and Close Your Eyes (2001).
In addition to his illustration work in venues such as the New Yorker and other magazines, his projects have extended to designing the sets for Mark Morris’s restaging of The Nutcracker (renamed The Hard Nut) and contributing to MTV’s Liquid Television, which developed a live-action series based on Burns’ character Dog-Boy.
The most renowned work of Burns is undoubtedly Black Hole, an acclaimed twelve-issue comic-book series that kept people entertained from 1995 to 2004.
This story takes place in Seattle in the 1970s, and follows four teenagers who are afflicted with a fictitious STD known as “the bug”.
This infection causes Rob to have a mouth with teeth that speaks while he is sleeping, Chris sheds her skin, Keith has tadpole-shaped bumps on his torso, and Eliza has a tail.
The black-and-white illustrations in the graphic novel are both beautiful and chilling. The narrative is grim, yet hopeful.
Since the graphic-novel version was published in 2005, Burns has additionally published a book of photography called One Eye, and part of an animated feature film called Peur(s) du Noir.
His current work-in-progress combines the themes of punk and Tintin.
I had the privilege to visit Burns in October at his studio in Philadelphia, where he not only displayed his excellent artistic skills, but also his ability to make a great cup of coffee.
— Hillary Chute
Hillary Chute points out that comics are a unique and powerful form of storytelling. This art form has the potential to convey stories and ideas in a way that is both innovative and inspiring.
She claims that it can be a powerful tool for expression, enabling creators to explore complex topics with a clarity and insight that other mediums cannot provide.
The idea of having a cover or protection is something that is often considered. It is essential for one to think about the kind of protection that is necessary for a particular situation.
Whether it is physical, mental, or emotional, having a cover can be beneficial.
What was the route you took to begin your employment with The Believer?
I was caught off guard when I was contacted, whether it was through email or telephone. I can’t recall who had called me.
For the duration of this never-ending project, it has gone on for quite some time…
When I was first approached about the cover job, I was told it would be every issue. As a result, I’m in the process of being able to draw every person in America.
In a few cases, only one blurry photo exists, so I must rely on my own imagination to create the portrait. Nonetheless, usually there is enough data to make a photorealistic cartoon.
BLVR: Is there any character you found difficult to illustrate?
Occasionally, I come across someone I have an admiration for and respect regardless of their physical appearance.
However, there has never been anyone I have ever looked down upon and thought of as an “idiot”.
BLVR groaned, “Oh no, I need to illustrate so-and-so….”
I can say for a fact that this has occurred, though I cannot name the person involved.
II. AN EXAMPLE OF MY WORK
Can you give me a rundown of some of your more recent commercial projects?
Lately, I had the opportunity to create illustrations for Cartier.
Are you referring to the diamond jeweler, BLVR?
I had the opportunity to journey to France where I participated in an advertisement for a wristwatch.
BLVR: Astonishing. You were tasked with illustrating a Cartier timepiece.
People in the business world may only be familiar with my illustration work, and then there could be readers of the Believer who just know me as the artist who does the covers for the magazine, not knowing that I also do comics.
BLVR: Is there an illustration project that you have liked the most and one that you have liked the least?
CB: It’s not possible to say least favorite when it comes to jobs, as you always want to experience something new. But favorite? I remember when I created the ad campaign for Altoids.
It was actually quite enjoyable. I was asked to create three comic strips, and I asked the art director if they were sure they wanted me to do it.
I was astonished that it had all been approved. There were even billboards of an enormous tongue with a stiletto shoe emerging from it.
BLVR: It didn’t have a highly polished, commercialized look.
CB recalled how odd it was to be instructed to “draw two wires electrocuting a tongue!” He ended up creating a comic strip for an Altoids breath strips ad that was ultimately never released.
The product was marketed as being very powerful, so the comic depicted a kid using a magnifying lens to burn ants and then larger animals such as a pig and a cow.
The punchline was that he himself tried the Altoids and envisioned himself in the same predicament with a giant magnifying lens and all the animals he had hurt laughing at him.
A screenshot of the image taken in 2008 has been presented by culture.org, showing the view of a landscape.
This particular image was captured in the year 2018 on the 27th of June around 5.41pm.
3rd SECTION: THE CHILDHOOD YEARS–FAMILY HISTORY
Did you have a penchant for art when you were younger?
Drawing was my way of entertaining myself before I was able to write. It gave me an inner space to explore and develop my own concepts.
BLVR: How was your high school experience?
My high school experience was much less severe than what I depicted in Black Hole.
[Laughter] I wrote a book called Black Hole, but that was not representative of what high school was really like.
When I was growing up, my family had a lot of moves, and one thing that I was noticed for was my comic drawing skills–even though I wasn’t the best at socializing, I was able to draw some pretty awesome monsters.
I would make my friends draw with me, starting with parodies of superhero comics in grade school and then moving onto parodies of underground comics in junior high.
Seattle was the perfect place for staying in and doing artwork, since it was always raining….
BLVR: What type of job did you find enjoyable?
On a weekly basis, my family would go to the library and come back with a plethora of books, including art books and classic comic book collections.
My dad had the reprints of Mad by Harvey Kurtzman, and I was looking at the illustrations even though I didn’t understand the stories. This had a significant influence on me.
Additionally, Tintin had a great impact on me. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, an American publisher released a series of Tintin books, which my dad got for me.
Consequently, I was fortunate enough to read Tintin when I was growing up.
As I developed, I read whatever I could find–the major, well-known superhero comics. But when I had had enough of that, the underground comics came to my rescue.
BLVR asked where the items had been purchased.
CB described the experience of walking into a head shop in search of underground comics – particularly those of Robert Crumb.
The air was thick with patchouli oil and the shopkeeper was content to exchange Big Ass Comics #2 for a mere fifty cents.
But it was Crumb’s work that truly made an impression on CB; a feeling that was hard to put into words.
I was very passionate about comics, however I was becoming exhausted with all the superhero hype.
Then I encountered a person who had been exposed to some of the same comics I had, such as Harvey Kurtzman’s Mad, and other mainstream ones.
He had created something really unique and peculiar, but which was reminiscent of the traditional comics of the past.
The first thing I became aware of from him was a greeting card, since he used to be employed at American Greetings Corporation.
Even though the card was sweet and sugary, there was something odd and wrong.
When I found a copy of R. Crumb ‘s Head Comix at the nearby bookstore, I realized it was the same creator.
BLVR: From the beginning, had the aspiration to make a career out of creating comics.
A screenshot of 2008 from culture.org is depicted in the figure above. It is clearly visible that the image was taken on the 27th of June in the same year.
In high school, I was creating pieces that didn’t follow a conventional storyline. They were motivated by the works of Zap, Crumb, Victor Moscoso, and Rick Griffin.
I wanted my comic art to appear polished and professional. To learn the technical components of making work copy-ready, I borrowed books from the library on cartooning, which provided information on the ideal pen and paper to use.
I acquired the necessary supplies and taught myself to ink on illustration boards with India ink.
I had never really considered making comics for a career, but I expected I would eventually be featured in a lesser-known comic book.
All the same, I had been creating without any intent to showcase my work.
BLVR: The approach you were taking was earnest but not directed toward any particular objective.
CB stated that it had not gone as anticipated.
Once I completed my high school studies, I went to college and enrolled in some art courses.
I was foolishly under the impression that art school would be the key to my success as an artist and a job.
I decided to pursue printmaking as my major at the University of Washington; it seemed more in line with my interests than painting, sculpture, or design.
While I was taking my art classes, I was also doing my own personal projects; I’d go home and work on comics.
I’d occasionally bring them in to show my teachers, but they never had much of a response. It wasn’t like they disapproved of it, they just didn’t know what to say.
While I was attending Evergreen State College, I eventually had the opportunity to have my comics published in the school paper.
BLVR: I thought you had gone to the University of Washington, but you went to Evergreen instead?
CB: I attended a few universities during my educational journey. To start, I was at the University of Washington.
Afterwards, I moved on to Central Washington University located in Ellensburg.
Lastly, I landed at Evergreen State College, where I was lucky enough to attend classes with Lynda Barry and Matt Groening.
I stayed there for approximately one and a half years and worked on the newspaper, creating comics parodies.
[ Picking up a binder of college work ] One of them was a rendition of The Family Circus that said, “Mommy, please be quiet, we’re trying to watch television!”
IV. ORIGINAL WORK
Initially, research was conducted to investigate the topic in question.
BLVR: Where was your work first published apart from the Evergreen newspaper?
I had a comic, Mysteries of the Flesh, that was published in the Bay Area punk newspaper Another Room. There were a few other things I had done before that, but not a whole lot.
BLVR: [ Scanning through the notebook of Burns ‘s earlier compositions] Pause.
Could I reverse this? The mouth on the figure…. It’s similar to Black Hole , where the protagonist Rob has a mouth on his throat.
It’s evident that this idea has been around since the earliest of times.
One particular episode is about a person who purchases a set of “X-Ray Specs” from the back of a comic book, and they really function – he’s able to take a peek beneath his skin and see more than he anticipated.
When his companion strolls in, he completely freaks out.
What was the process that got you to the point of being published in RAW?
When I was no longer in school, I moved to Philadelphia and went to New York, showing off my minimal and depressing collection of work.
BLVR enquired why the feeling was one of eagerness and sadness?
CB mentioned the common issue of needing to be published in order to get published. At that time, CB had nothing published so they were presenting photocopies of their comics instead.
It was a real challenge. When you would phone a magazine to inquire about their portfolio day, the secretary would direct you to drop off your portfolio in a corner.
Later, you would often wonder if anyone even gave it a glance.
Did you ever receive a response?
CB: When I first started out, I had not done any commercial work. However, once I moved to Philadelphia, I ended up obtaining a job to make illustrations for a nursing periodical.
I was in New York and saw the original RAW, and there was an address with an invitation to submit my work. I found Greene Street, rang the bell, and Art Spiegelman answered in a frenzy, asking “What? What? What do you want?”
He suggested I send copies of my work, and then he got back in contact and we met.
He was the first comic artist I ever spoke to and was the first to understand what I was attempting to accomplish.
Subsequently, your creative works started to be featured in RAW.
In 1981, the release of their abstract work, [“And I Pressed My Hand Against His Face, Feeling His Thick Massive Lips, and…”], and Dog-Boy was made public.
BLVR: In what other places did your work appear?
When I began drawing comics, RAW served as a significant platform. The options for this kind of work were limited, with only mainstream comics like Marvel and DC being available.
Underground comics were still being published, but had little to offer. National Lampoon had a comics section, and Heavy Metal magazine was a source for French science fiction, fantasy and adult comics.
It was in the latter that I managed to serialize my creation, El Borbah.
Books are essential resources that can provide knowledge and insight, but volumes are just as important for the same purpose.
They are often the gateway to understanding a topic, and they can give readers a deeper understanding of the world.
From textbooks to fiction, volumes can help us make sense of our lives and the things that surround us.
Did you gather the works of El Borbah together to create your initial book?
CB: The material that was published in Heavy Metal magazine was later compiled into a book.
At the time, how would you characterize the style and substance of your work?
CB had a fondness for the stories of romance comics from the 40’s and 50’s, so when he wrote “A Marriage Made in Hell” for RAW, he used the structure of those comics and subverted it.
He wasn’t just attracted to them for the kitsch aspects, or because “they’re so bad they’re good”; rather, he appreciated the opportunity to explore the male and female stereotypes that were evident in all of the stories.
I was enthralled with detective stories. For my El Borbah series, I imagined a comical detective who managed to resolve his cases through coincidence.
What was the source of inspiration for the character’s creation?
For a period of time, I resided in central California, where I had access to stores that catered to migrant workers.
The stores had a wide selection of Mexican comics and magazines, including wrestling ones, which I found to be enjoyable.
Their costumes and characters were quite remarkable. My favorite was the masked wrestler who came to the ring with a briefcase while dressed in a suit and tie.
My affection for lucha libre and hard-boiled detective stories inspired me to create El Borbah.
BLVR: What was the title of the book you wrote after El Borbah?
An image of a person seated in a chair with their face in their hands is presented. Their posture conveys a sense of despair, as if whatever they are going through has become too much to bear.
I had a fondness for the collection of small hardbound books released by a Belgian publisher. In my opinion, a book is an entity in itself and these volumes had a cloth spine, making them an attractive item.
I tried to put out a book in this series but it didn’t work out. I was successful in producing a book with Art and Françoise Mouly called Big Baby that was in a similar format.
BLVR: What made you become attracted to the large infant figure named Tony?
CB: In a sense, I think this character reflects myself as a child in the 1960s. He is attempting to comprehend the perplexing grown-up world, deciphering it as well as he can.
His vivid imagination sometimes gets him into trouble. Additionally, he is a peculiar small boy living in his own world.
BLVR: In Big Baby, the suburbs are represented in a very unsettling way.
CB: During my childhood, I experienced similar environments from the American dream-home world which was presented in magazines like Better Homes and Gardens.
I’ve always been curious about this facade of the American way of life and what was behind it.
This is what the first story is about – TV monsters that are fake, but entertaining, and the real monsters living next door who are abusive adults.
It’s a story of a kid coming to terms with the difference between these two kinds of horrors.
In Skin Deep, some of the tales also include this type of tension.
CB: Indeed. The narrative, “Burn Again,” follows a young individual with a dad who sears a representation of Jesus onto their torso and tries to pretend it is a miracle.
Eventually, God intervenes and resolves the situation.
BLVR: What was the moment you began Black Hole as a running comic book series?
In the early ’90s, I created a few pieces that had similar themes. The story “Big Baby” in Skin Deep featured teenagers suffering from a mysterious illness.
A one-page piece in RAW spoke of dead teenagers returning to their parents’ homes and recreating the activities of their past. This was the initial idea I had for Black Hole, with the dead teenagers coming back to life.
The piece in RAW focused on these characters coming home at night and doing things like watching TV and making sandwiches.
Many of my works from the late ’70s focused on the same topic of disfigurement and illnesses that were affecting young people.
I wanted to delve deeper into that subject, so I began serializing a lengthy narrative in the form of comics. It was an exploration of something I hadn’t fully delved into before.
VI. A DEEP GRAVITATIONAL WELL
A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it.
This is often referred to as a deep gravitational well.
BLVR: What do you believe is the reason why the concept of a teen with a distorted physical appearance but with a front of appearing ordinary has been a recurring theme?
CB suggested that people can put up a facade to hide their true internal world, which could be filled with something dark and sinister.
The teen plague is then used to represent this inner turmoil, pushing the characters into a situation that is much more dire than the one they were in before.
I’m not sure whether it’s really true, but I’ve always mused that I could tell a similar story without the concept of a teen plague.
I found it fascinating. The thought of someone, particularly a girl, being able to escape the confines of their skin really appealed to me. I even drew pictures in the early 80s of a person doing a striptease and taking off their skin.
There was also an advertisement I made at RAW where a character had a skin hung up on a hanger and was lying in bed with their raw flesh exposed.
This concept has been with me for a long time. I enjoy playing with these sorts of images and thinking about how a snake molts and sheds its skin, and how when you’re that age you feel the desire to reinvent yourself.
I’ve talked to my wife about this, as she moved around a lot and every time she would go to a new school she would be granted a new opportunity to be a different person.
It’s like, “I’m not going to wear these foolish clothes any more, I’m going to be…”– whatever it may be.
I enjoyed exploring the visual representation of the illness and how it differed among people. Also, the concept that in certain cases, you can hide the symptoms and appear healthy is possible.
You can conceal it and remain unknown.
BLVR: You had mentioned that you were intrigued by the idea of a regular surface with something chaotic happening underneath.
Black Hole turns this notion on its head, because the warped stuff is up top, while the sickly characters are actually quite ordinary. This is what makes the book all the more tragic.
Yeah, that is accurate. Children who are ill have to endure a much different lifestyle than what they would like; such as going home, having their supper and watching silly television programs.
Instead, they are obligated to take part in something else.
It is possible in reality that teens can find themselves in a difficult position, fleeing from home and trying to make enough money to stay alive in, for instance, a tent in the woods.
Black Hole, however, takes this idea one step further and portrays characters who have no other option but to run away.
One character is depicted in school, knowing that if their parents were to discover their illness, they would be compelled to leave home – similar to a situation in which a young person knows they cannot tell their parents if they are gay.
In the book, not one parent can come to terms with the illness.
When I began crafting my story, I had a general plan of action in mind where the children are the heroes and the adults are the villains.
Even though I’m simplifying a lot, I quickly understood that I wasn’t keen on narrating that kind of narrative– I didn’t wish to make it into a lesson in morality.
I came to the realization that I wanted to concentrate more on the characters and their lives, with the adults being more of a secondary factor.
Parents were not a major part of my existence at that time, I was mostly concerned with what was going on between me and my friends.
This lack of parental involvement can make it seem a bit unrealistic, but I was not interested in exploring the characters’ relationships with their parents.
The visual accuracy of Black Hole is remarkable; to give an example, the endpapers are full of all kinds of fragments and junk on the ground.
Could you explain your approach to creating those images and how long it took to put all the ink down?
At the start, it’s important to note that I’m a slow, detailed artist and that the physical act of drawing takes some time.
Furthermore, I’m not making the most popular comic book, so to make ends meet, I have to do additional illustration and advertising work.
I would use a month to complete illustrations and then use the following month to work on my comic, affording me a break and the opportunity to look at my project with fresh eyes.
To sum up, I believe this starting and stopping was beneficial to me.
It took a substantial amount of time to create the endpapers; I had to draw every grain of sand, every pebble, and every twig with precision.
BLVR: Does focusing on such a minute level of detail become exasperating, or is that something in which you can easily find comfort?
CB: While the process can be quite lengthy and trying, I’m quite content while doing it. Many times I’m looking at the design in an abstract way; I’m analyzing shapes.
My focus is on what I need: a darker shape here, a brighter one there, and so forth.
To have a fully developed design, I even have to go outside, observing the garbage and other remnants on the street, in search of something that could be useful for the design, for instance, a plastic fork.
What would you say your visual style is? How do your pages come together?
CB commented that they had always been drawn to a particular type of line quality; one with a thick-to-thin form, achieved with a brush.
There was a particular solidity or richness to it that was quite appealing – an elusive feeling that was hard to articulate.
I began by attempting to imitate the appearance of that kind of line and I think I went beyond the original source. If you look at my artwork in comparison to the traditional comic-book style, you can see that it is much tighter and more extreme.
I didn’t mean to make it mechanical, but that’s how it turned out. It was a gradual process; I used to employ shade patterns and cross-hatching to bring out a middle ground of grays, but I eventually reduced it to a black and white format.
I aim to create a powerful emotional impact. The lines, shading, and darkness all lend themselves to an effect on the subconscious.
The texture of the illustrations in Black Hole become a character of the story, and when Keith is in the kitchen, looking into a cup filled with cigarette butts, my goal is that the reader can sense his revulsion or darkness without having to write something like “I looked down into the cup and saw…” or “The room was all trashed and it made me feel crummy.”
The goal of the artwork is to provoke an emotional reaction and that’s what I’m aiming for.
If it succeeds, it should be able to tell its own story without me needing to explain it.
An image of a computer monitor is depicted, with a browser window open, displaying a web page with the headline: “Culture: A Source of Knowledge.”
The page has various articles and resources related to culture.
The seventh point is Nitnit, a term used to describe a particular type of concept.
BLVR: What can readers expect to learn from your newest publication?
I am attempting to construct my “punk” narrative. It is, in a manner, unfeasible to portray. It deals with William Burroughs.
In what capacity does BLVR appear as a character?
CB’s reply was a resounding “No.”
BLVR: Is it a concept that is being discussed?
CB stated that they were in the process of writing the story in a new way, page by page or two facing pages at a time, without having a set page limit or a publisher. It appears that the story will be quite lengthy.
Punks idolized William Burroughs as a figurehead, so I’ve returned to his writing lately and found that his concept of cutups aligns perfectly with the plot I’m trying to tell….
BLVR: Are you referring to how your publication interweaves different approaches in a systematic fashion?
CB: Yes. This is something that the main character of the story also has an interest in. At one point, he’s experimenting with cutups of his own–incorporating his own poor writing with Burroughs’s.
Did you find yourself enjoying the writings of Burroughs?
During a time in my life, I read the works of a particular individual. This person was incredibly meaningful to me in that season.
There were a few pieces that were very powerful and easy to understand, yet others were not as easy and were rather dull.
Even so, as an author who tried several distinct writing styles, the individual is quite fascinating.
BLVR inquired if the book had a distinctive name.
CB has yet to decide on a name for the comic strip. When he reversed the name Tintin, he came up with Nitnit. CB then discovered that this name had been taken already by two comic strips.
As a result, CB wants to have either a character with the name “Nitnit” or have one of the punk bands be called “Nitnit”.
Have there been any other authors whose works have been of particular interest to you besides Burroughs?
For this narrative, I’m tapping into the punk style through Burroughs, though I have never been mostly inspired by a particular author.
In Black Hole, I borrowed some pieces of Hemingway’s work, just small snippets.
BLVR inquired, “Is that so?”
CB pointed out that Hemingway, or a character representing him, was featured in one of his short stories.
He recollected the scene of the person arriving by train, spotting the little black grasshoppers that had consumed the scorched foliage.
Subsequently, he proceeded to the hills to cast his line and noticed the grasshoppers were no longer black, but instead were healthy and clean.
What tale is this? BLVR inquired.
In CB’s story “Big Two-Hearted River” there is a kid who is a veteran of war and is attempting to return to his previous life.
However, it is clear that he is suffering from some sort of internal damage from his service. The story follows him fishing and serves as a metaphor for his current situation.
Similarly, in CB’s new comic, a kid is in bed taking strong medication and starts to tell a story. The story will trace how he got to his current, damaged state and look back on his experiences.
BLVR: An inability to re-experience…
Considering what he experienced and attempting to reconcile with the transformation of himself, the finale of Black Hole unveils a similar concept–that of Chris returning to the sea once more, relinquishing himself again.
BLVR: Yes, carry on, I’m intensely fascinated!
CB: Right, I’m giving myself away! It’s like a Hemingway tale of a protagonist who goes back to his past, and she is doing the same thing, she is back at the sea.
The ocean has been a place of solace for her, and she speaks of it that way.
She states: “Each time I arrived here, I had a place to go, I ran up the beach to this selected spot–my most cherished site on the planet but this time I cannot run.”
She is returning and it is evident that she has altered, however, she is battling to accept it.
BLVR: I wouldn’t call the end of Black Hole “optimistic”. Saying it ends on a positive note is too simplistic. Nonetheless, it’s not a totally dismal conclusion.
CB: No, I don’t think so. People have asked me if she ended up taking her own life, but I’m not going to say how to view it.
I included a sentence near the end of the story that reads “I’ve thought about being done with everything, but how could I?”, which was purposely done to show that she’s not planning on drowning herself.
There are other moments where she contemplates ending it all, but it’s made clear that she doesn’t want to. Still, the question of how she will endure remains unanswered.
BLVR: There’s no definitive conclusion indicated in the book. No hint of a conclusion is given.
CB confirmed the statement to be accurate.
BLVR: Despite the difficult predicament she is in with a bug and no one else around, her demeanor is surprisingly positive.
CB: A young woman was invited to join a family for a meal, but despite her hunger she was unable to accept due to the traumatic memories of her past.
Despite this, her inner strength empowered her to take a step forward and start the process of healing.
BLVR stated that burying a photograph of her then-partner, Rob, was a positive action.
CB commented that burying and burning items is a romantic and youthful activity, one often done during a life-altering event. It is used to ritualistically destroy something, marking the transition into a new phase.
BLVR: I didn’t catch the Hemingway allusions within Black Hole, even though I’m a fan of his work, so I feel like I should go over it again….
In my opinion, Hemingway’s writing has great accuracy, however, he can sometimes have an overly romantic tone which can be quite revealing.
He has an incredible ability to balance these two elements, but there are moments when he doesn’t quite manage it.
Nevertheless, his short story is an example of where he succeeds. That particular imagery of the black grasshoppers is especially remarkable.
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Therefore, it is imperative to acknowledge and address the problem of cyberbullying in order to protect its victims.