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"Swimming in Darkness" Graphic Novel Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Arsenal Pulp Press


Written and illustrated by Lucas Harari
Translated by David Homel
2019, 152 pages, $24.95
Graphic novel released November 5th, 2019


Pierre looks to find himself in architecture, something he once cared about deeply, but lost along the way. He travels to Vals in the Swiss Alps to study the thermal springs complex in the mountain designed by the noted architect Paul Zumthor. What he finds is something much more than great woodwork and a welcoming hotel. There's a mystery hidden away in this mountain, tied to disappearances over the years. He's about to learn all about this up close and personal.

The lost feeling that Pierre is going through is something most people go through when transitioning into full-blown adulthood. The responsibilities of this newfound maturity can weigh someone down. Pierre seeks solace in what he once loved in an effort to find out who he really is.

Click images to enlarge

While this is a familiar feeling, it can be a little tough to deal with as a reader. Pierre is a bit of a wet blanket, paralyzed by fears of actually trying to do anything with his life. He's a big mush of a human being. This trip is a step in the right direction.

Creator Lucas Harari created a moody atmosphere throughout Swimming Darkness. He used shadow well to cast a foreboding energy. You get the sense that Pierre is not going to walk away from this. He's left everything and everyone behind forever and ever. There's a scary amount of isolation and loneliness which lends itself to the uneasy feeling that Pierre is being watched. This is a very real emotion that takes over, particularly with the scenes in the baths.

Click images to enlarge

The design of the building itself is eerie. It sticks out like this modern marvel of architecture in a serene natural setting. The local townsfolk seem to revere and fear it, especially those that are in tune with the folklore associated with the area. The whole thing works to create this dreadful tone.

Swimming in Darkness can get a little weird. It's got that Twin Peaks flair to it, which can be a good thing for some. It's not really my cup of tea. There isn’t much in the way of a satisfactory ending. Instead, much is left up to interpretation. You'll definitely have your own opinions as to Pierre's fate and what's going on with this strange building.


Story: threestars Cover
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Art: fourstars
Overall: 3 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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