Loyd's Reviews > Asterios Polyp

Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
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Sep 14, 10

bookshelves: graphic-novels
Read in September, 2010 — I own a copy

Artist/writer David Mazzucchelli has had one of the more twisted career paths of any artist I know. He began in conventional comics, becoming well-known illustrating Frank Miller's Daredevil, then he disappeared for awhile, emerging with an entirely new style. His new, fluid line was perfect for Miller's DC hit, Batman: Year One. Then Mazzucchelli dropped off the radar again. This time, he showed up illustrating a graphic novelization of Paul Auster's City of Glass: The Graphic Novel , a metaphysical detective story. This was a major step away from the comic books for which he was known, and a step up in quality and sophistication. His drawings took on an otherworldy presence, part abstraction, part gritty realism, perfect for Auster's text. He followed that with a few issues of self-published avant garde art magazine, Rubber Blanket, which became even more esoteric and exploratory. His output in the last few years has been sparse, and I missed his influence in the world of comic art.

Which brings us to his latest work, Asterios Polyp. Asterios Polyp is a stylistic masterpiece, a perfect blend of visuals and text. Each tell the story in a way that neither could on their own.

Asterios Polyp is the story of a snobbish, apparently emotionless know-it-all architect, whose theories about life and art enclose him in a hermetically sealed existence. On the opposite side is his wife who is caring and emotional, artistically organic, and seeks to find a form for her art in the world around her. The two come to a collision, then a resolution that enhances both points of view.

A couple of quick notes: I was put off a little at first in the severe change in style (yet again) that Mazzucchelli displays, but I got over that quickly. The book is impeccably produced--the printing is extraordinary. The writing gets a bit "precious" at times, but that is also a minor quibble. Graphic novels are seldom "art." This one is the real deal.
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