-== What is it? ==-
Asterios Polyp is a graphic novel that tackles some deep topics through the eyes of its eclectic main character. The book was written and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli and published by Pantheon Books. It was released in 2009.
Asterios Polyp has interior art that is comprised of only yellow, pink, purple, and blue shades. The cover has some black but it is predominately in the same color palette. The book is 10.5” x 8” in size and is 344 pages in length. I am reviewing a hardcover copy that I bought from Lee’s Comics in San Mateo.
-== What I Like ==-
The main story is comprised of deep layered topics which are explored through the life and beliefs of the main character, Asterios Polyp. Some of the major topics covered in the story include fate, death, art, and love. In each case Asterios brings light to these in his own analytically minded fashion.
Asterios Polyp is wonderfully intricate in its simplicity. The story is told through several threads that start and stop at various points in his life. After having described the narrative as jumping around through time you might think that this would make the book hard to read. In fact the narrative is so masterfully crafted that instead it feels fluid and natural.
Everything about the story, artwork, AND physical presentation of Asterios Polyp has meaning. in 344 pages there are no wasted panels. The way the scenes are drawn evokes Asterios’ state of mind at the time. For example, when someone is upset or fearful they may take on a shaky sort of outline. The dust jacket has Asterios Polyp on front cover facing the spine. On the back cover of the jacket is the ghost of his brother staring back across the spine. Also the dust jacket does not cover the front surface of the book. It leaves parts of the cover exposed which allows it to move around in a sort of disconcerting way. For some reason even the ill fitting cover reminded me of Asterios.
Asterios Polyp has many memorable moments which I can vividly recall months after reading it. The initial pages and last few pages are really memorable. These pages hook you into the story, make you read it to the end, then really makes you want to go back and revisit those moments with a reread.
The artwork in Asterios Polyp is comprised of simple lines with little shading but it is executed to perfection. I would stare at the simple lines trying to divulge some deeper meaning. It reminded me of the story…intricate in its simplicity.
-== What I Don’t Like ==-
Maybe my only complaint is that the story can be a bit “heavy” at times. If you want a quick read where you can turn your brain off at the door this is not the book you want to pickup.
-== Summary ==-
With Asterios Polyp David Mazzucchelli weaves a masterful tale that is detailed and utterly unforgettable. I need to give credit where credit is due. I found this graphic novel based on a recommendation from Blair Butler who hosts G4′s Fresh Ink. Here is a link to the video review that tipped me off that Asterios Polyp was something different and great. Boy Blair was right on this one. Please go buy Asterios Polyp and see how graphic novels can tell compelling stories. This might be the best graphic novel that I have ever read. Go buy this sucker right now and read it. When you get done come back here and thank me.
Amazon has Asterios Polyp for sale at this URL for a paltry $19.77.
I give it 10 out of 10 paws.