Sugar Skull – nightmare continues in Charles Burns' grotesquely fantastic trilogy

In May I reviewed Charles Burns' surreal and darkly realistic graphic novels, X'ed Out (2010) and The Hive (2012), and now the eerie trilogy is complete with the release of Sugar Skull.

Picking up six years after The Hive left off, former performance artist and ne'er-do-well Doug still finds himself trapped part-time in a dystopian world (his alter ego) of green worm-like creatures in which his covert visit to his "breeder" girlfriend ends in a grotesque revelation as to her true purpose. As in the first two books, he is also trapped part-time in the here and now, where his obsessive thoughts about his troubled past, and especially about his ex-girlfriend Sarah, keep him from moving forward with his present girlfriend – and his life. Truths about Doug's cowardly character are unveiled in this book that reveal many of the mysteries that came with the first two books, and by the end of Sugar Skull, I was uttering my first "Aha!" before opening up X'ed Out to begin the trilogy again.

See sample pages from Sugar Skull at Wink