Thursday, December 1, 2011

Asterios Polyp

            I was really surprised with this graphic novel. I was more impressed with the illustration over the dialogue. The way every character was their own style of illustration and how their speech bubbles were all different shapes and different fonts. I would read more graphic novels if they shared this style. The story line was good but it wasn’t enough to keep me as interested as the illustrations did. My favorite use of the different styles was with Asterios and his wife. Asterios was drawn like architecture; blue lines, all perfectly straight or perfect circles connecting to make his body. While his wife, the artist, was drawn as a sketch with flowing lines. When they met and fell in love their two styles converged into one, simple, clean, blue illustrations; but the best part was when they fought and their styles were literally torn apart. In a series of a few panels the couple would slowly go from the same back to their original styles before they met, it heightened the anger and distance between them, made them seem as if they were on different planets.
            I was so interested in this I read the whole novel straight through in one sitting. Something that was really interesting was how questions were answered without even being asked. For example, in the first few pages when Asterios is on his bed watching tv you hear what you think is an adult movie being played then see a collection of home videos. It looked as if that was his “stash” and he was a lonely man. But later he showed his girlfriend that he had video cameras throughout the whole house to make him feel less alone and that he never watched any footage. The audio that sounded like it was from an adult film was really one of their dates recorded in the kitchen, when Asterios made a salad and she loved it.
            The characters were really interesting, but I think what made them so interesting were the different styles they were illustrated in, it always felt like I was reading something different. Another one of my favorite parts was when Asterios helped build the tree house. It was not his design but he helped build it and mentioned it was the first house he ever built. It continually mentioned how he won awards for design but yet none of them were ever built. Building the tree house was almost like a cleansing process for him I feel. He did something he strived for all his life. 

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