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Asterios Polyp

Asterios Polyp is the novel I’ve always wanted to make.

I take that back. Asterios Polyp is the novel I wanted Tiny Life to initially be.

When I first started Tiny Life, it was originally called Jed Jr. I wanted Jed Jr. to be about a little of every genre. I wanted a little poetry, a little epic, a little biography; basically, I wanted my comic to consist of everything I knew about art. At 21 years old, that wasn’t a lot. Asterios Polyp is everything Mazzucchelli knows about art. And it’s a lot.

I’ve only gone through the book once (and it’s one of those books that you have to go through a few times), but it seems to me, at it’s core, the novel is simply about different points of view. Or, to put it more precisely, how different people can view the same thing and see something different. The main character is an ideal architect; that is, he knows about building things, but doesn’t really know how. He sees the world as a dichotomy: everything has a right and a wrong and he’s always right (no, he’s not very likeable).  His love interest sees the world in a very different way; to her, everything is art. Together, though, when their two points of view are merged, they see the world as it is.  This idea of two people being perfect for each other is something I’ve been building up for years in Tiny Life. Mazzucchelli does it in just a few pages. Bastard.

Polyp sees the world as structure, his lady-friend sees it as substance. Together, their outlooks merge perfectly. Click to enlarge and see what I mean.

The majority of the book flips back and forth between the past and the present. In the past, Polyp has everything he always wanted; in the present, he doesn’t. If the past is right and the present is wrong, our hero has to find a way to get back there.  He does this by admitting that the important things in life are supported by a trichotomy (quite different than what he usually understands about the world); essentially, he has to get back to being right by admitting he’s wrong.

I’m sure there’s more to it, and I’ll have to read it again, but Mazzucchelli makes me a jealous man. He took two major themes of Jed Jr. – the merging of two totally different points of view, and the idea that base things have two sides while important things have three – and totally succeeded.

Lucky for me those themes have evolved into something a little more original in Tiny Life (and a little harder to figure out).


3 Responses

  1. the art in that looks like crap

  2. he was good

    what happened

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