PX99: Big Baby

Big Baby by Charles Burns (235x312mm)

Oh, the edition I have has a glued-in signature sheet, as well as a screenprinted print.

Anyway, this reprints all of the Big Baby things — starting with the first two-pager from ram #5. It’s definitely the creepiest one, and Burns says (in the back of this book) that he didn’t really want to go further down that road…

… so in the second piece here, The Curse of the Molemen (reprinted from Raw One-Shot #5), Big Baby is more of a bystander.

The larger format for this story doesn’t look quite right? I mean, Burns always looks great, but it looks even better in the smaller Raw edition. And look at the difference in printing here — the ink is so much blacker in the Raw book.

The bulk of the book reprints the Big Baby comic strip that Burns had serialised in various alt-weeklies. The first part (Teen Plague) is basically a dry run for Black Hole, Burn’s magnum opus about teenagers and sex and teenagers having sex.

The artworks still super sharp, but the faces, as odd as they are, look a lot less striking and alien than his earlier work.

The last section, Blood Club, is the weakest one: All the creepy subtext seems to have disappeared, and this is basically a (quite good) straightforward horror story.

We finish up with a history of Big Baby, as well as several pages of various ephemera — this is a very complete Big Baby collection, which is nice.

But… reading these pieces all together, it’s weird how much that lessens their impact. The first two-pager is still perfect, but the other three stories which I remember having a pretty big “whoa” impact on me at the time, now seem almost… er… is there a positive word for “pedestrian”? They seem almost ordinary?

This blog post is part of the Punk Comix series.

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