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Asterios Polypby David Mazzucchelli
If David Mazzucchelli weren't already beloved by comics fans, Asterios Polyp would make him legendary. This visually inventive, completely mesmerizing graphic novel will have you eagerly flipping pages on the first read, then flipping back to savor the sumptuous artwork and brilliant design.
"There's a danger in overstating the density of Asterios Polyp. This isn't some homework assignment to identify which "ism" Mazzucchelli represents on each page. Every single image is a delight to the eyes and a thrill for the brain. I was particularly spellbound by the sequence in which Polyp descends to Hades in a realization of the Orpheus myth (a personal favorite of mine). The sequence works on a surface level; your eyes can glance across the images and feel perfectly satisfied as you turn the page. But the work is so beautiful, bursting with potent imagery and gorgeous symbolism, that it richly rewards the most intense scrutiny. I'm not sure it has ever taken me so long to read so few pages." Chris Bolton, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
The triumphant return of one of comics' greatest talents, with an engrossing story of one man's search for love, meaning, sanity, and perfect architectural proportions. An epic story long awaited, and well worth the wait.
Meet Asterios Polyp: middle-aged, meagerly successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womanizer, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this "escape" really about?
As the story unfolds, moving between the present and the past, we begin to understand this confounding yet fascinating character, and how he’s gotten to where he is. And isn't. And we meet Hana: a sweet, smart, first-generation Japanese American artist with whom he had made a blissful life. But now she's gone. Did Asterios do something to drive her away? What has happened to her? Is she even alive? All the questions will be answered, eventually.
In the meantime, we are enthralled by Mazzucchelli's extraordinarily imagined world of brilliantly conceived eccentrics, sharply observed social mores, and deftly depicted asides on everything from design theory to the nature of human perception.
Asterios Polyp is David Mazzucchelli's masterpiece: a great American graphic novel.
"For decades, Mazzucchelli has been a master without a masterpiece. Now he has one. His long-awaited graphic novel is a huge, knotty marvel, the comics equivalent of a Pynchon or Gaddis novel, and radically different from anything he's done before. Asterios Polyp, its arrogant, prickly protagonist, is an award-winning architect who's never built an actual building, and a pedant in the midst of a spiritual crisis. After the structure of his own life falls apart, he runs away to try to rebuild it into something new. There are fascinating digressions on aesthetic philosophy, as well as some very broad satire, but the core of the book is Mazzucchelli's odyssey of style — every major character in the book is associated with a specific drawing style and visual motifs, and the design, color scheme and formal techniques of every page change to reinforce whatever's happening in the story. Although Mazzucchelli stacks the deck — few characters besides Polyp and his inamorata, the impossibly good-hearted sculptor Hana, are more than caricatures — the book's bravado and mastery make it riveting even when it's frustrating, and provide a powerful example of how comics use visual information to illustrate complex, interconnected topics. Easily one of the best books of 2009 already. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[M]agnificent....Asterios Polyp, which took a decade for Mr. Mazzucchelli to complete, has been well worth the wait. Its ambition jump-starts the future of the graphic novel." The New York Times
"Even by the standards of the graphic novel, this cosmic epic pushes the creative envelope....A visual and even philosophical stunner." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"It's a testimony to Mazzucchelli's skills that by the end of Polyp's odyssey, the arrogant academic has been rendered a tragic and sympathetic figure deserving of the tale's (possibly) happy ending." Booklist (starred review)
"[S]prawling, trippy, moving, and a hell of a lot of fun....Elegant, deceptively simple line work and nearly subliminal color symbolism make everything go down like candy." Entertainment Weekly
"One of the greatest comics of all time." Comic Book Resources
"We can all stop reading comics now, because David Mazzucchelli's crafted the ultimate comic book statement....Mazzucchelli has somehow managed to jam just about everything great about comics into 340 pages of humanity, soul-searching, graphic design, philosophy and humor." Newsarama
"It's a remarkable, bravura achievement — funny, harrowing and thought-provoking." San Francisco Chronicle
"One of the smartest and most rewarding graphic novels of the year to date." Pop Matters
The triumphant return of one of comics greatest talents, with an engrossing story of one mans search for love, meaning, sanity, and perfect architectural proportions. An epic story long awaited, and well worth the wait.
Meet Asterios Polyp: middle-aged, meagerly successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womanizer, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this “escape” really about?
As the story unfolds, moving between the present and the past, we begin to understand this confounding yet fascinating character, and how hes gotten to where he is. And isnt. And we meet Hana: a sweet, smart, first-generation Japanese American artist with whom he had made a blissful life. But now shes gone. Did Asterios do something to drive her away? What has happened to her? Is she even alive? All the questions will be answered, eventually.
In the meantime, we are enthralled by Mazzucchellis extraordinarily imagined world of brilliantly conceived eccentrics, sharply observed social mores, and deftly depicted asides on everything from design theory to the nature of human perception.
Asterios Polyp is David Mazzucchellis masterpiece: a great American graphic novel.
Jimmy is a stereotypical geek who works at the library in Oakland, California, and is trapped in his own torpidity. Sara is his best friend, but she wants to get a life (translation: an apartment in Brooklyn and a publishing internship). When Sara moves to New York City, Jimmy is rattled. Then lonely. Then desperate. He screws up his courage, writes Sara a letter about his true feelings, and asks her to meet him at the top of the Empire State Building (a nod to their ongoing debate about Sleepless in Seattle).
Jimmy\'s cross-country bus trip to Manhattan is as hapless and funny as Jimmy himself. When he arrives in the city he\'s thought of as \"a festering hellhole,\" he\'s surprised by how exciting he finds New York, and how heartbreakinghe discovers Sara has a boyfriend!
Jason Shiga\'s bold visual storytelling, sly pokes at popular culture, and subtle text work together seamlessly in Empire State, creating a quirky graphic novel comedy about the vagaries of love and friendship.
About the Author
David Mazzucchelli has been making comics his whole life. Known chiefly for his collaborations — with Frank Miller on seminal Batman and Daredevil stories, and with Paul Karasik on an adaptation of Paul Auster's novel, City of Glass — he began publishing his own stories in 1991 in his anthology magazine, Rubber Blanket. Since then, his short comics have been published in books and magazines around the world. Asterios Polyp is his first graphic novel.
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