Sunday, September 12, 2010

Swallow Me Whole

I love comic books, and I love even more an original comic that is well constructed for both its art and story components. The book Swallow Me Whole is such a comic. This book is written by Nate Powell and published by Top Shelf Productions. The price tag was $20 US, which may have been cheaper than elsewhere since I picked it up while at the San Diego Comic Con 2010 convention.
One of the things I love about comic book conventions is that you are able to meet many different comic book creators, some of which you likely never heard of before. These people sit at various booths selling their books for reduced prices and gladly autograph the books for you. Unfortunately Nate Powell had already left the convention by the time I came across his booth, but a sales representative of Top Shelf Productions was there. I picked this book up and noticed the absolutely beautiful cover art and decided I must have it (yes, I judge a book by its cover).

Swallow Me Whole is the story of two siblings during their high-school years. They both have mental issues, where the brother's is not clearly defined and the sister is stated as having schizophrenia. They live with their parents, who are noticeably older than they should perhaps be, and their Memaw who is quite old and sick. As the years click by, the mental problems of the two siblings continue to worsen and it all comes to a dramatic boil at the end. Each page of this black and white book is beautifully illustrated with thick strokes of india ink that provide it a real haunting feel (below is an example page from the book). You know from the first page that this book will not end happily or the way you initially expect. All that can be expected is that you will be rapidly drawn into the world of this book and its feelings will haunt you for days to come.

As a fan of comic books and a fan of well structured and illustrated stories like Ghost World, Strangers in Paradise, and Stray Bullets, this is a great book that left me more than satisfied. I also feel that I must buy more of Nate Powell's books! I wholly encourage you to find this book! Furthermore, buy this for a high-school student and have them read it. It is absolutely amazing. As a side note, I could easily see this becoming a movie, preferably directed by Del Toro.

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