Monday, March 9, 2009

Graphic Novel Monday: It Disappears..., by Nate Powell

It Disappears..., by Nate Powell. Published 2004 by Soft Skull Press. Graphica. Fiction.

It Disappears... is a short work by graphic novel artist and writer Nate Powell, who won an Ignatz Award for his book Swallow Me Whole. It Disappears... is brief, lyrical and beautiful.

The book interweaves two stories of two men- one, a young man carried into an alternate world where he conversing with a talking doe and salamander, and another, older man looking at a photograph and reminiscing with a friend, who may be an older version of the man from the first story. The book begins and ends with the first story, with images of loneliness and desolation- snow and wind and shadow, beautifully rendered in white-on-black.

The artwork is the point more than the story in It Disappears...- Powell's moody chiaroscuro landscapes envelope the reader and carry the bare-bones narrative along. What's going on exactly isn't always entirely clear but one can't help but get swept up in the sheer loveliness of the visual narration and varied, cinematic panels.

It's kind of a weird little book- weird in a good way, and one I'd recommend for teens or adults. There's no sex or cursing- just some adult conversation- but I think children wouldn't get it. (I had to read it over a couple of times myself.) I was lucky to get a copy of It Disappears... as the publisher tells me it's out of print, but it's still available here and there. (The link at the top will take you to IndieBound's great page on the book.) Powell is an artist to watch and I'd take a look at this one if I were you- and keep an eye out for whatever Powell is doing now or in the future. I know I will.

UPDATE: See the comments for more information on Powell's work from Soft Skull publisher Richard Nash.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher.