The Bug in "Black Hole"

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The teens who occupy Charles Burns's graphic novel Black Hole are ill with what seem to be a sexually-transmitted disease that the teens identify as "the bug," an increasing number of teens become infected and reside with a group of teenagers that live in separate from their families and individuals uninfected remain students at their high school in uptown Seattle. The ill teens dwell in a tent village concealed in the outskirts of their community, in the forest and they manage to survive largely on the trash and infrequent aid of the well teens. The sickness marks each teen in varying degrees; many seem grotesque while others physical manifestations are subtle, as a result the ill are alienated and rejected by the community because of…show more content…
Teens typically, feel rejected by their peers and intern isolates himself or herself from the rest of the world in order to cope and deal with stigmatism. Since Chris’s mother was going to take her to the doctor and Chris knew she had the bug she didn’t want her mother to know so she runaway. This communicates to the reader the incidence of runaway teens and the fear of talking to their parents about issues they are going through.

The bug
The characters infected with the “bug” felt rejected their former peers because of their unconscious transition from adolescence to young adulthood: “‘I don’t know what it was…but suddenly we were the target of every asshole joke in town. They’d drive around searching for us at night, ganging up on us when we were out trying to find food. They did everything they could to make our lives as miserable as possible’” (no. 9).
“‘Sometimes we made jokes about it…but it was no joke - we were scared shitless’” (no. 5). The “bug”, instead of inflicting typical disease related attribute, like pain or death, the illness causes unstable levels of freakish malformations. Unlike AIDS, however, the teen plague in Black Hole results in physical mutations, though these are not always easily observable by other people; For example, Eliza develops a miniature tail, Rob a mouth on his chest, and other characters bud grotesque mutations on the face and body. They are like
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