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Friday, September 25, 2009

Mazzucchelli Market Correction -- Blogger and comics creator Geoff Grogan provides a market correction for the nigh-deified Asterios Polyp.

As I noted in my comment after Geoff's post, I love most everything David Mazzucchelli has done, but Asterios Polyp was not the earth-shaking, career-defining revelation I think most of us were expecting.

Mazzucchelli probably doesn't get enough credit for his visionary superhero work on Batman: Year One and Daredevil: Born Again, both of which expanded the visual possibilities of the superhero sub-genre; but his most personal and visionary work in anthologies like Drawn and Quarterly and his own self-published Rubber Blanket set some pretty high expectations for Asterios Polyp, I think, and those expectations weren't quite met. The few short pages of Mazzucchelli's "Discovering America," contain more emotion, passion and straightforward visual genius than the entirety of Asterios Polyp, the totality of which to me felt ambitious but sterile, sprawling but ultimately not taking me anywhere new, or even anywhere I particularly wanted to go.

I'm a huge fan of Mazzucchelli's comics work, and "fan" is not a word I use often, or lightly. From X-Factor back issues to Batman statues and Italian collections I can't even read, I've spent lots of dollars trying to have everything the man has been involved in. But there remains, in the wake of Asterios Polyp, a feeling that if his career will eventually hit a previously-undreamed-of peak, it won't be with his most recent (and first solo) graphic novel. Maybe his best work is behind him, but I kind of doubt it. I do know that when he exceeds what he accomplished with Asterios Polyp, it will be with a work that feels more personal, more passionate, less sterile, and far less meticulously constructed.



Blogger Nik said...

Very much my feelings on Polyp; visually it's gorgeous but the main character being such a cold fish kind of keeps you from caring so much. What I really want to see is Mazzuchelli's old work put together in a collection, a lot of it I've never seen and it's quite hard to find. This one was a good effort, but in the end not quite living up to the hype or the wait I think.

25 September, 2009 17:46  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

I would love a hardcover omnibus of all his anthology stuff, I'd pay Kramers Ergot 7 cash money to have it!

25 September, 2009 20:35  
Blogger Stephen said...

Couldn't afford KE7 money, but I'd definitely buy a collection of his shorter pieces priced around what Astereos Polyp is. I really hope the latter's success convinces someone that it's worthwhile to do it!

25 September, 2009 21:43  
Blogger Geoff Grogan said...

I totally agree w/that last paragraph, Alan. Well said.

28 September, 2009 17:58  

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