Saturday, July 18, 2009

Polyp; a less than acadmic review

Graphic novels, already a favorite of mind, have become something of an obsession this summer. I'm consuming them at a much faster rate than normal. Because of this, I have gotten through all of the backlist I had for those I always wanted to read but hadn't had a chance to. Now, I'm looking for new stuff.

Luckily enough for me, this happens right as comics convention season is underway. A lot of authors showcasing just- or soon-to-be published graphic novels. This season there are two that everyone seems to be talking about. Of them, only one is currently already on the shelves, and that's David Mazzuchelli's graphic novel, "Asterios Polyp".

Here's a quick article about the book, with a bit of artwork from it attached. Here, too, is another.

There's a lot of hype out there about this book right now, and that made me suspicious, but I decided to take a chance on it. I was not in any way let down. The linework is exquisite, the color-work seems simplistic until you see what he's doing with it re: theme. The characters are complex, every bit as hate-able as they are loveable. Even if that weren't enough, the narrator's identity is an extremely cool concept that I wish I could talk more about--but I want you to go out and buy the book, so I don't want to spoil it. The ending might cause some consternation, but don't forget that in a graphic novel not a single image is wasted or offhand--so if you read it, and find the ending upsetting, don't forget that very last image, and really think about what that might mean.

I know money is tight, and at $30 a copy, you'll be thinking "is it really worth it?" I know, because I think that all the time while standing in my local comic book shop, or the graphic novels section of the bookstore.

Let me tell you, though; in this case, it most definitely is.

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