Saturday, July 2, 2011

Asterios Polyp

I've been meaning to write about this for a while. I think this first graphic novel by David Mazzucchelli is perhaps the best example of the power of the medium of the graphic novel that I've ever seen. It has important things to say, that couldn't be told the same way with any other medium. Even though I read it months ago, moments from it still pop up in my mind - partly because I'm going on some of the same journeys of self-realization as Asterios. And the ending, well, seals the deal. I hope to see more independent work from Mazzucchelli. Even though this is a novel targeted at an older audience, I really hope that up and coming art students are reading this. There is so much to learn from this book about how aesthetics can be used to define characters.


  1. Rubber Blanket is still one of the best comic books ever printed...issues #1 and #2 are impossible to find (unless you speak French or Italian, in which case you can buy a reprint collection,) but #3 is still findable for list price. Highly highly recommended.

    I thought Polyp was great too, though a little marred by the somewhat pat "Show don't tell" characterizations of its more minor characters...though honestly it'd be tough to find a way around that without extending the book another 100 pages, so it's only a minor ding. The composer character is an utterly perfect set piece, though.

  2. Oh man, and I totally somehow forgot about this, which I guess makes Garrity's point nicely:

    This is still the best adaptation of a prose novel in comics form, ever. I doubt it will be topped any time soon.

  3. Wow -- great notes! Thanks!