‘Asterios Polyp’ by David Mazzucchelli

Last weekend (I think) I was in Skylight Books, as is usual for me to do on my weekends, and while browsing the comics and graphic novels I came across this book called Asterios Polyp. The name immediately struck me because it was suggested to me by a reader who wanted to help me out named Rhea Rivera. There’s also the vibrant as all hell cover, as well as who the author/illustrator is, a Mr. David Mazzucchelli.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with comic books, Mr. Mazzucchelli was the artist behind Frank Miller’s amazing Batman: Year One storyline as well as illustrating Daredevil which Frank Miller was also writing for a time. The thing is, this was all happening way back in the mid to late 80’s. David Mazzucchelli is something of legend when it comes to comic books, but here he is now in 2010, finally releasing his very first graphic novel.

The story is centered around a man named Asterios Polyp, who when we first come upon him you can clearly see that his life, which is filled with designer furniture signifying he has wealth, has somehow fallen apart. Suddenly, lightning strikes the generators outside of his apartments, setting fire to the building until eventually it’s all gone. And that’s where we start, on a voyage with Asterios as he tries to put himself back together while seeing how he got so very low.

The book is exquisitely drawn and designed, it’s hard to even describe how brilliant this book is. The style is nothing like his old comic work, it’s much more stylized like an Italian or French comic book. It’s a simple style that allows the story to dominate the pages, while at other times the art completely shifts tone, illustrating a plot point with a visual punch.

I also thought I’d include these images of the endpapers, which I thought were quite wonderful. Once you read the story you’ll understand the significance of flowers, but it’s subtle touches like this that really make this story so wonderful.

Do yourself a favor and buy this book now.


6 Comments ‘Asterios Polyp’ by David Mazzucchelli

  1. Jeremiah April 13, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    Seriously great book in so many ways. I couldn’t agree more. Everyone should go out and buy this. I even gifted it six times over the holidays! You can’t go wrong.

  2. pedro freenandes April 14, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    Now, would you look at that nice typography. I want to eat it.

  3. Jac April 15, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    Are like illustrations of Jean-Jacques Sempé in Le Petit Nicolas…

  4. hilary April 16, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    I went out and bought this after reading your post, and read it the whole way through within the hour. Im absolutely not a comic books person but this was Brilliant. Thanks Bobby.

  5. Gilliom April 19, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    True, this is mister Mazzucchelli’s first big solo book but it’s not as if he jumped from Batman to doing this. There is the quite wonderful Auster adaptation “City of Glass” and three issues of the experimental comic-magazine “Rubber Blanket”. I have no idea how readily available these are at the moment but if you come across any of these, you shouldn’t hesitate.

    That being said, yes, I loved “Asterios Polyp” as well. Mazzucchelli is a master in doing things with comics you can only do with comics.

    If anybody is really, really interested, I’ve got an hour long interview with Mazzucchelli (by Dan Nadel of MoCCA) on my blog Monsieur Bandit. But I must warn you: It’s long an tedious and has bad sound quality to boot. Only for the real die hard fans, I guess.

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