Anyone in need of a reminder of how graphic novels can offer creative opportunities not found in lit or cinema should look to the work David Mazzucchelli. Mazzuchelli, best known for his collaboration with Frank Miller on Batman: Year One and his deft adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass, has outdone himself with his book Asterios Polyp.
Asterios Polyp is a brilliant, self-absorbed, architecture professor re-examining his life, loves and loses after a lightning bolt causes his New York City apartment to go up in flames. The story hinges on Asterios’s broken marriage to Hana, a sculptor whose intuitive and natural approach to art is a perfect foil to his over-intellectualized formalism. Narrated by the ghost of his still-born twin brother, Asterios’s story follows his search to re-discover meaning in his life.
David Mazzucchelli (Source: mattmadden.blogspot.com)
Asterios Polyp is the first full length graphic novel both written and drawn by Mazzucchelli. Mazzucchelli’s experiments in layering many levels of visual information on top of the usual narrative flow that made City of Glass so successful, work brilliantly in Asterios Polyp. Asterios and Hana are each rendered in separate drawing styles, illustrating their personalities, which merge and separate as a function of their relationship.
Mazzucchelli’s beautiful art, clever graphic devices, and great story work together to make Asterios Polyp a thoroughly original and immersive read.