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A field guide to ASTERIOS POLYP

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Today is a pretty epic Wednesday at the comics shops, not just because of WEDNESDAY COMICS, but because of the debut of one of the most eagerly awaited graphic novels of recent times, David Mazzucchelli’s ASTERIOS POLYP. Over a decade in the making, and crafted with attention to every detail by one of the medium’s most nuanced storytellers, it’s a book that not only invites this level of scrutiny but lives up to it…and delivers more than you expected. Mazzucchelli has decided not to do any press for the book, preferring to let his work speak for itself…and it speaks eloquently. The reviews are already raving; here’s a few to get you started:
Paul Gravett: This is probably the single must-read on the book, with a history of Mazzucchelli’s comics and Gravett’s usual insightful analysis.

From the advance colour photocopies I’ve been privileged to read, Mazzucchelli has really thrown down the gauntlet here and produced something extraordinary, something which he wants readers to come to as fresh and unprepared as possible. 

Eight Page excerpt from Vulture

Timothy Callahan

Dan Kois’ rave in New York Magazine:

What’s best about Asterios Polyp is that it succeeds so wildly at being what it is: a great graphic novel. Mazzucchelli doesn’t seem worried about competing with “real” literature. Nor does the book read, as so many contemporary graphic novels do, like a treatment for a future movie deal. Mazzucchelli is still a cartoonist’s cartoonist, and Asterios Polyp—maybe even more than its predecessor—is a cartoonist’s cartoonist’s masterpiece.

Sean Howe in Entertainment Weekly
Sean T. Collins at The Savage Critic

  1. I bought it and read it today and it made me smile, feel like the art form is going to live on forever and its just amazing on every level. i am buying a few copies to give as gifts…no kidding. just stunning work from a really nice guy.

  2. This seemed like a great book, but not knowing what it was all about and it being a pretty substantially sized gn, I didn’t pick it up, but I was interested. Maybe if I knew more about the book and artist….

  3. Asterios Polyp truly is a wonderful graphic novel. Mr. Mazzucchelli will be discussing it and his exhibition “Sounds and Pauses: The Comics of David Mazzucchelli” with curator and PictureBox publisher Dan Nadel on Thursday July 16th at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.

    David is also scheduled to appear at Bryant Park on August 19th with Heidi and Danny Fingeroth, Chip Kidd and more!

    It was a great pleasure to put together the show with David and Dan and I hope everyone will have a chance to come see it!

  4. Maybe if I knew more about the book and artist….

    This review by Paul Gravett includes some artwork from the book and substantial info on Mazzucchelli:

    Sorry to disappoint those who thought its title, Rubber Blanket, was some kinky sex reference, when it is actually a term in litho printing for the solid roller which picks up the inked image before transferring it onto the paper. In his three annual issues, from 1991 to 1993, he stunned his followers with blockish bravura brushstokes, a fusion of Kirby and Toth mixed with Edward Hopper and the sheer physicality of ink on paper, especially on Big Man, like a variation on the Hulk and Rick Jones but turned into a subdued reflection on masculinity and coming of age in middle-America. Mazzucchelli, no doubt with Lewis’s input, also stripped back his colours, playing for the first time with the contrasts and constraints of only two hues.

    The Inkstuds review also features artwork and info:

    The part about the book that I find fascinating, is his use of representation. The past and present both have a unique colour scheme that seem to reflect the state of mind that Asterios is in. The colours he uses are very very close to what Frank Santoro and Ben Jones have been using with Cold Heat and I find it fascinating that both books use the similar hues. But that is something that Frank can analyze, the way he loves to analyze colour. The book also has a great use of representational symbols that show Mazzucchelli really speaking to the strengths of what can be done with comics when pushed far enough. At some points I do feel like I am reading a Scott McCloud book, but he manages to reign in before that can happen. I highly recommend picking up this book when it comes out(june 2).

  5. I loved this book. David Mazzuchelli is one of my five favorite cartoonists (along with Seth, Darwyn Cooke, Alex Toth, and Paul Grist). I would love it if he published more regularly, but this was definitely worth the wait.

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