Every once in a while a Graphic Novel comes a long that raises the bar in comic storytelling. Giants like Watchmen, Maus, and Sandman all redefined the way we think about comic book fiction through their thought provoking narration and originality. David Mazzucchelli's Asterios Polyp is a masterpiece that deserves its place amongst the modern day classics.
Being completely unfamiliar with Mazzucchelli's work I picked up Asterios at Bergen Street Comics on a suggestion from Ms. Wonderland. I was immediately drawn in to Mazzucchelli's unique two tone coloring style. It was also interesting to see purple used as the main color as opposed to black ink. Mazzuchelli's pencils are very mature and his storytelling is phenomenal. The way he combines different art styles while infusing each panel with symbolism is truly remarkable.
Asterios is a very intricate character. At the beginning of the story, we find Asterios, once a world renown "Paper Architect" (named so due to the fact that none of his designs were ever built), penniless and depressed after losing his wife through divorce. In a freak accident, his apartment building is struck by lightning and quickly catches fire. Asterios barely escapes with his life. He then uses the near death experience as a platform to start his life over again.
Besides its engaging characters and profound story, Asterios has a very cinematic quality to it. It reminds me of the kind of character pieces you see in films like Synechode, New York with Philip Seymour Hoffman or About Schmidt with Jack Nicholson. Go on Amazon or to your local comic shops and grab this one.
by David Mazzucchelli
5 out of 5 stars