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Asterios Polyp Hardcover – Jul 7 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (July 7 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307377326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307377326
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 3.2 x 26.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #91,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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“Mazzucchelli manages to combine breathless formal experimentation and read feeling into a story where every line, color choice, and panel arrangement builds toward a cohesive whole, lending an air of epic proportions to what would otherwise be a simple tale.” –Library Journal
 “This is an epic, emotionally rich, symbol-laden work that promises to redefine the graphic novel...David Mazzucchelli has made a beautiful, elaborate construction that coyly juggles style and content in a way few cartoonists are capable of.” –Globe and Mail

“This brazenly original and complex work is easily one of the year's best novels, graphic or otherwise…Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.” –San Jose Mercury News
“David Mazzucchelli's boldly ambitious, boundary-pushing graphic novel is remarkable for the way it synthesizes word and image to craft a new kind of storytelling, and for how it makes that synthesis seem so intuitive as to render it invisible…Asterios Polyp is a fast, fun read, but it's also a work that has been carefully wrought to take optimum advantage of comics' hybrid nature — it's a tale that could only be told on the knife-edge where text and art come seamlessly together.” –NPR’s The Five Best Books to Share with Your Friends
“As ever, Mazzucchelli keeps both the visual and storytelling fireworks coming…This is a work that demands to be read, re-read, analyzed, and discussed.”—Comics Bulletin
“Formally daring yet stylistically self-assured, Asterios Polyp is a bona fide masterpiece and the early frontrunner for best graphic novel of the year…It’s the presentation— the use of narrative symbolism, color and visual metaphor—that truly sets the book apart. Much like he did with Year One over 20 years ago, Mazzucchelli has once again raised the bar for his entire artform.” –Chicago Sun Times
 “This is a comic for artists, and it plays with space and color in ways that maybe only artists will understand, but it is a story for everyone, and Asterios Polyp is easily among the best graphic novels ever made. Go read it, and read it twice.” –Providence City Paper
 “Mazzucchelli experiments with numerous art styles and pushes the envelope with challenging digressions into philosophy, religion and mortality throughout Polyp's tale. The engrossing effort culminates with a bombshell that will leave readers reeling.” –Toronto Star
“In Asterios Polyp -- the best of the summer's new releases -- Mazzucchelli employs spotlights, coloring schemes, knitting, Aristophanes, an identical twin who died at birth and the wide array of secretions from a woman's body to lead us into the self-centered world of the title character even as the center implodes…. Asterios Polyp is a primer for both the fervent possibilities and the rich rewards of the graphic novel.”—Portland Oregonian
“Now, after a decade-and-a-half, he has re-re-emerged with Asterios Polyp, an epic, emotionally rich, symbol-laden work that promises to redefine the graphic novel. Published by Pantheon Books (home to master-class cartoonists such as Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware and Dan Clowes), Asterios Polyp is Mazzucchelli's first graphic novel. It is also happens to be his masterpiece, the culmination of 25 years of promise….Mazzucchelli has made a beautiful, elaborate construction that coyly juggles style and content in a way few cartoonists are capable of.”—Globe and Mail (Canada)
“The beauty of Asterios Polyp is that its core tenet, the need to pay attention to life as it happens, is so well reflected in the book itself—in its lush paper tone and rough-hewn, elegant design—and in the way all the formal devices serve the story. As such, it rewards attention and even devotion.” –Bookforum
“The more you study Polyp, the more there is to discover. This is a book that stands with works by Updike, Roth, and other giants of American literature. It is undoubtedly one of the best novels of the year.” –The Stranger
“Asterios Polyp is a perfect marriage of words and pictures. Every drawing, color choice and panel layout is pregnant with meaning.” –Columbus Dispatch

“Mazzuchelli is using color to convey ideas in a way not attempted by most graphic novelists. The book is all about style, design and visual language, and Mazzuchelli is moving the discussion of all of these forward with Asterios Polyp.” –Matt Price's best graphic novels of 2009
Asterios Polyp will cause comic-book buffs to swoon, sure, but the narrative — after a fire, an arrogant architect slowly begins to rebuild his own life — makes it much more than a pretty picture book.” –Modern Tonic 
“What Mazzucchelli accomplishes, though, with remarkable clarity and a jazzy pop-culture eye, and which the written word has a tougher time with, is portraying silence, moments between something said and something to come -- even thought itself. That sticks; those last pages are as tender and heartbreaking a portrait of lost time as I can recall, and no less powerful for being nearly wordless” –Chicago Tribune
“Critics have decried the modern graphic novel's focus on form at the expense of content. With "Asterios Polyp," Mazzucchelli has put paid to that charge: It's funny, it's warm and it's beautiful. Go read it.” –Newsday.com
“It contains a relatively simple story (and probably a deceptively simple one), but told in a dazzlingly stunning array of comic book techniques not possible in other mediums. Mazzucchelli is a genius of the form.” –Forbidden Planet

“Each panel is a moment in the story that when connected to other panels becomes part of a scene or sequence that is rich in storytelling and fertile with ideas, inquiry, and themes.” –ComicBookBin, A+ review
 “Visually, Asterios Polyp is the lushest comic of the year--maybe of the last the 10 years, a decade not exactly thin on astounding cartooning. Mazzucchelli's work has all but abandoned the realistic musculature and architecture that made him stand out from his superhero peers. Asterios Polyp feels like three or four cartoonists working in concert, often on the same page, all of them firmly working on the "stylized" end of comics' spectrum.” –Baltimore City Paper
“This fan of the novel is an ever bigger fan of the magic that happens in comics, and only in comics, when text and art work together to create something wholly, wonderfully new. In books like Jimmy Corrigan -- and the just released ASTERIOS POLYP by David Mazzucchelli, it happens on every. Single. Page.”—NPR.ORG
“This absorbing, idiosyncratic tale of love, ambition and opportunity marks the return of one of the modern masters of graphic storytelling.”—Miami Herald
 “You’ll be in awe of how perfect it is and certainly envious of it if you are a writer. What a beautiful, staggeringly brilliant piece of literature.”—Contra Costa Times
‘The book is a satirical comedy of remarriage, a treatise on aesthetics and design and ontology, a late-life Künstlerroman, a Novel of Ideas with two capital letters, and just about the most schematic work of fiction this side of that other big book that constantly alludes to the ­“Odyssey.”…. “Asterios Polyp” is a dazzling, expertly constructed entertainment, even as it’s maddening and even suffocating at times. It demands that its audience wrestle with it, argue with it, reread and re-examine it. Isn’t that the ultimate purpose of style?’—Douglas Wolk, NYTBR
“Heady with philosophical and mythological references, Asterios Polyp vaults Mazzucchelli into the top rank of graphic artists. It’s a sweeping, provocative book that blends the richness of the traditional novel with the best modern art. Mazzucchelli’s style - effortless and so versatile that you can’t imagine Asterios in any other medium - is sweeping in every sense.”—Boston Globe
“It's a remarkable, bravura achievement - funny, harrowing and thought-provoking.”—San Francisco Chronicle
"A dazzling expertly constructed entertainment...that is a satirical comedy of remarriage, a treatise on aesthetics and design and ontology, late life Künstlerroman, a Novel of Ideas with two capital letters..." –The New York Times Book Review
“Asterios Polyp reads like an intricately designed and heartfelt work of metafiction, juggling design theory, philosophy and sly nods to other cartoonists to create a dryly funny masterpiece.”—Time Out New York
“It's as if John Updike had discovered a bag of art supplies and LSD. Elegant, deceptively simple line work and nearly subliminal color symbolism make everything go down like candy. The narrative comes back to earth for a profoundly satisfying climax, but you'll want to keep turning pages - all the way back to the beginning, for another read."
Entertainment Weekly
“Haunting and beautiful.”—Los Angeles Times
"The simplicity of that facile summary, along with the deceptively cartoony drawing style Mazzucchelli has adopted for the work, makes it easy to miss its genuine accomplishment. The sparseness of his illustration gives necessary clarity to his complex storytelling, which employs intricate and imaginative panel arrangements and a constantly shifting chronology.meticulously constructed.It's a testimony to Mazzucchelli's skills that by the end of Polyp's odyssey, the arrogant academic has been rendered a tragic and sympathetic figure deserving of the tale's (possibly) happy ending." –Gordon Flagg, Booklist
“I was completely blown away by Asterios Polyp, David Mazzucchelli’s latest comic book, a pull-out-all-the-stops package that’s funny, poignant and deep, with panels of thoughtfully shaded images that form a visual novel, a paper movie, and finally, an existential meditation on things that matter to us: religion, art, science, love and memory.”—Pop Culture Nerd
“Mazzucchelli's masterwork is by no means an easy read…but it is a transcendent one.”—Austin Chronicle
“The comics world is abuzz over Mazzucchelli’s first solo book, Asterios Polyp. Rightly so: It’s terrific.”—New York Magazine
A sprawling work about the life and loves of a middle-aged, philandering architect who loses everything in a fire. The coming release has been compared to the idiosyncratic work of Thomas Pynchon.”—Wall Street Journal
“An absolutely incredible piece of visual communication.”—Portland Mercury
“Easily one of the best books of 2009 already."—Publishers Weekly
“A visual and even philosophical stunner."—Kirkus
“One of the greatest comics of all time.” —Comic Book Resources
“We can all stop reading comics now, because David Mazzucchelli’s crafted the ultimate comic book statement. Just take everything on your reading pile right now and chuck it out. Asterios Polyp is the new standard bearer. Mazzucchelli has somehow managed to jam just about everything great about comics into 340 pages of humanity, soul-searching, graphic design, philosophy and humor.”—Newsarama
Asterios Polyp is the work of a veteran artist firing on all cylinders, who, despite having worked his way through the sequential art ringer for a few decades now, has managed to craft something remarkably fresh.”—Daily Cross Hatch
“One of the smartest and most rewarding graphic novels of the year to date.”—Pop Matters
“Mazzucchelli manages to combine breathless formal experimentation and read feeling into a story where every line, color choice, and panel arrangement builds toward a cohesive whole, lending an air of epic proportions to what would otherwise be a simple tale.” –Library Journal

 “Mazzucchelli is a gifted artist/writer, and as a reader moves through the lush and varied pages of Asterios Polyp, stylistic surprises abound amid what feels like a master lesson in the form and function of design. He delivers a truly transformative tale of love and trust.” –World Literature Today


About the Author

David Mazzucchelli has been making comics his whole life. Known chiefly for his collaborations - with Frank Miller on seminal Batman and Daredevil stories, and with Paul Karasik on an adaptation of Paul Auster's novel, City of Glass - he began publishing his own stories in 1991 in his anthology magazine, Rubber Blanket. Since then his short comics have been published in books and magazines around the world. Asterios Polyp is his first graphic novel, and has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and been listed as a New York Times notable book.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On the surface of this graphic novel, this is the story of a fifty year old academic and architect named Asterios Polyp: who lost his wife, his home, and his life's ambition. He goes to a small town where he really contemplates these things -- sometimes with the help of the highly intuitive Ursula Major and her family who take him in.

However, the plot of the story is only part of its incredibly symbolic nature. Asterios Polyp is a man that embodies what the German philosopher Nietzsche would call the 'Apollonian' -- an instinct or inclination towards balance, serenity, and symmetry in life. It is no accident that Mazzucchelli draws on architecture, and Greek epic and tragedy, and even a reference to ancient Chinese burial terracotta warriors. Through his obsession with order, Asterios Polyp seeks a symmetry that never really existed inside of him, or in his life. In fact, the only two times he ever comes close to this are when he creates his theoretical architecture -- the ultimate in Plato's World of Forms because nothing he ever designed was ever built in reality -- and when he is with his wife Hana who herself is more Dionysian -- more passionate, intuitive and creative if not less confident -- than he is.

The art in this graphic novel reflects this nature between the Apollonian and Dionysian: with the clear lines and angles of the Platonic Solids that make up Asterios Polyp's world, and the various shades, textures and colours of Hana's own reality. Sometimes these two worlds overlap and complement each other and sometimes make a reality that the reader can recognize, but more often than not they clash and end up looking like the exact opposite of each other.
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By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on Oct. 30 2009
Format: Hardcover
The book opens with a man watching, presumably, a pornographic movie, when his building is hit by lightning and catches fire. Such is how we meet Asterios Polyp, 50 year old architect. He grabs a few trinkets and as he rushes out the door we see he has a room full of videos, each one marked with a consecutive day of the week which appear to go on for years back. Through a series of flashbacks we follow Asterios' past and present as with the cash he takes a bus to however far it will get him, ending up in a hick town where he gets a job as a mechanic and rents a room in the house of his boss.

Comments: The book is a study in self. It is hard for me to review this book critically as I have never studied philosophy and that is the main theme running through this book. The first thing to enter my mind was existentialism and after googling it, I found it fit the situation perfectly in my mind but I also so the opposite happening as well, so another google brought up the term nihilism. The amazing thing about this graphic novel is that the illustrations follow suit in a gripping display a graphic brilliance to fit the atmosphere of the pages.

For characters, the book is sparse. Asterios himself is self-centered and egotistical. His Asian wife is his opposite: warm, tender and loving. Otherwise the book contains a handful of eccentric characters, who while also being wrapped in their own self manage to do so without the know-it-all, "I'm always right", attitude of Asterios. My favourite character was the garage owner's wife, Ursula Major a buxom, large, pipe smoking, luxurious blonde woman who follows all the Pagan religions and thinks she is part Indian because she was a Shaman in a past life.
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Format: Hardcover
Guy alienates his wife, his marriage breaks up and he quits his job and gets lost for awhile. It is not a vastly original story, but the graphic sensibility and visual storytelling is quite complex and rewarding. I particularly liked the retelling of the myth of Orpheus in the subway system. The pacing and quiet sense of drama were perfect and carried the story along effortlessly as we work to unravel the mystery of how the world famous architect 'Sterio came to work as a car mechanic in small town nowhere. Really enjoyable and not even a let down, despite all of the media hype the book has received.
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Format: Hardcover
I put off buying this book for a while because I was put off by the drawing style and colorization. How superficial... The author's choice of colour and drawing suits Asterios Polyp's story perfectly! At first glance, Polyp is some superficial jerk, but of course, like everyone he is more complex and what we learn early on about is life misleads us. The use of bold lines and colours, and the original utilization of some basic drawing techniques, more notably, Mazzucchelli crafts a clever narrative that everyone is bound to enjoy. Well worth re-reading a few times to soak up the more subtle aspects of the drawn narrative.
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