A graphic novel by cartoonist David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (2009) tells the story of the eponymous Asterios Polyp, a professor from Cornell University in New York. After a sudden lightning strike destroys his apartment, Polyp takes up employment as an auto mechanic in small-town Arizona, which is the farthest place he could go on the money he had. Above all, though, the graphic novel tells the story of Polyp's life - his origins, his beliefs, and his goals in life. Along the way, he must confront some of the issues in his life and occasionally, even life -- and the nature of it -- itself.
Asterios Polyp is considered to be one of the best graphic novels to have ever been published. Now in its fourth printing, Asterios Polyp has sold well over 40,000 copies since its publication. It also won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Graphic Novel award and was nominated for several Eisner Awards (which are prestigious awards in the comic book industry). The New York Times loved the book, writing that “'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."
The novel follows the life of Asterios Polyp in an unusual and captivating fashion, as he must contend with the various issues in his life, such as his strained relationship with his brother, his failed marriage, and his broken relationships with his past love. Through his journey, he must come to terms with his mortality and grapple with the idea of what it means to be alive. The novel also delves into the philosophical and metaphysical aspects of life, exploring the nature of fate, destiny, and the soul.
The artwork in Asterios Polyp is unique, as Mazzucchelli’s illustrations often use geometric shapes and bright colors to portray a whimsical and surreal world. His artwork is often compared to the works of Pablo Picasso, due to its surreal nature. The artwork in the novel also serves as a metaphor for Asterios Polyp’s life, as the shapes and lines illustrate the struggles he faces in his life.
Asterios Polyp is a captivating and thought-provoking graphic novel that is sure to leave an impact on its readers. With its artistic visuals and philosophical musings, it has been praised for its complex and layered narrative structure. The audience is simultaneously taken on a journey of exploration and self-discovery through Asterios’ life. The graphic novel also contains a great deal of symbolism, with many objects and characters being used to represent ideas and thoughts. The novel also makes frequent use of dream sequences and other surrealistic elements, which further enhance the story’s themes.
The novel’s story is not only entertaining and engaging but also thought-provoking. It is filled with philosophical musings and discussions, which are sure to leave the reader pondering. The novel is also full of social commentary, as it touches upon many of the issues facing our society today. It also draws attention to the importance of understanding one’s identity and the various paths one can take in life.
The art in Asterios Polyp is nothing short of stunning. Every page is filled with detailed and vibrant artwork, which brings the story to life. The use of bold colors and lines gives the novel a unique feel, while the use of various panel sizes and shapes allows for a great deal of flexibility in the storytelling.