Thursday, November 11, 2010

Asterios Polyp

I was given this graphic novel for my birthday almost a year ago by a good friend, Mr. Scott McLaren. In fact I can attribute his enthusiasm (and collection) to my renewed obsession with comics. It's safe to say that had I not met him, I probably wouldn't be reading them as much as I do. Now I can't imagine not reading them.

This has been hailed as the best comic of 2009 - it was hailed that before it was even released. It would be easy to say that this story's plot relies upon the same cliches that a lot of indie films about intellectuals do. An academic walks away from academia and surrounds himself with a simpler life and finds deeper meaning that he couldn't have found otherwise. So there is that, however David Mazzucchelli has us in store for a much larger treat - because it's what makes his work of art stand out among the others that sets it apart.

I don't have any kind of Masters in English, so I can't pretend to comprehend the vast intellectualisms of this piece, but there's a lot to digest here and I imagine that a few readings are required to even start to see all of the pieces that David Mazzucchelli is playing with. At it's heart it's about duality - the story itself is narrated by Asterios' twin brother, who died in the womb, and throughout duality is explored visually as well as emotionally and intellectually.

What struck me about this the most is how, out of almost nowhere, come this quite heart breaking moments of honesty and emotional realism, in particular involving the scenes with our hero and his one-who-got away.

The art work itself is quite inspired and impressive. Seemingly simplistic there's a lot of thought that's going into it, with the color scheme in particular. I imagine that this is something I'll return to from time to time as there is a great deal of inspiring stuff, despite the simplicity of it's plot.

Much recommended!

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