Graphic novel "Swallow Me Whole" by Nate Powell

Oct 16, 2012

Nate Powell’s Swallow Me Whole won an Eisner award for best graphic novel. Powell’s artwork will be on display at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center until October 26th. WMUK’s graphic novel experts Annie Kelley and Andy Fitzpatrick of the Battle Creek Enquirer talked about Swallow Me Whole in this review:

The graphic novel is about two teenage twins, Ruth and Perry, who both have schizophrenia. Ruth is obsessive-compulsive and talks to bugs. Perry has conversations with a tiny wizard that forces him to draw things, which he says is part of some kind of mission.

Kelley says the big question in the book is whether the kids are crazy or if they are simply seeing something that others cannot see. Fitzpatrick says, as the novel progresses, you realize that it’s much more than just a story about two teenagers living in a small town. He says the art plays into this mystery too. Fitzpatrick says the use of shadow in the graphics reminds him of those times when you think you might see something out of the corner of your eye, but when you turn around it’s not really there.

The twins have to battle through what it means to be a teenager as well as their schizophrenia. Kelley warns that the novel is creepy and can be somewhat confusing in the beginning, but she says it’s well worth a read.