Black Hole is a comic book series that was published by Charles Burns over the course of about a decade. Collected in a widely-praised graphic novel last year, the series explores "fear of adulthood, sex and ostracism" via a story about a horrible, sexually transmitted disease known as "the bug" that leaves teens with symptoms ranging from "a rash or a few bumps" to extreme disfigurement. According to Publishers Weekly, "The AIDS metaphor is obvious, but the bug also amplifies already existing teen emotions and the wrenching changes of puberty." Ah. So you're saying it's sort of a harrowing read, then?

Burns' incredibly intense work has been optioned by Paramount and MTV Films, who have hired Neil Gaiman - no stranger to graphic novels - and Roger Avary to adapt it for the screen; the pair previously worked together on the screenplay for Robert Zemeckis' upcoming Beowulf. Directing the film will be Frenchman Alexandre Aja, whose remake of The Hills Have Eyes opens this weekend. Aja is about to head into production on The Waiting; it's expected that work on Black Hole will begin as soon as that film wraps.