February 25th, 2009

la Mag noir

new my bloody valentine

my most looked-forward-to book of 2009

If Mazzucchelli were more prolific, he'd be up there w/ Los Bros Hernandez, for me. He used to make his living drawing Batman and Daredevil, but then he blew th roof off of comix in th early 1990s when he made three issues of Rubber Blanket, an existential sci-fi mystery anthology that has never been reprinted. I see that Rubber Blanket #1 is available on Amazon for $65 -- somebody please reprint th motherfucker already! Anyhow he draws in a robust and fleshy style that reminds me of both Xaime and Beto w/o ever really looking like either of them. (It's just that so few cartoonists seem to be interested in bodies th way I want them to be.) Eleanor Davis reminds me of Mazzuchelli; if you like her, I think you'll dig Mazzuchelli. He writes a little like Kevin Huizenga -- serious and given to tangential musings. (In a way, Ganges perfects th loose, desultory tone Rubber Blanket was experimenting w/.) Mazzuchelli's last comix work of which I am aware was an adaptation of Paul Auster's City of Glass, published in 1994 -- a formal masterpiece, although not th emotional wrecking ball some of his Rubber Blanket stories were. Ah dunno, ah gotta reread thet one. Anyhow so it's conceivable he's been working on Asterios Polyp for th last 15 years! Th plot doesn't look terribly thrilling, but I'm sure that won't matter in th end. From Pantheon's web site:

The triumphant return of one of comics' greatest talents, with an engrossing story of one man's search for love, meaning, sanity, and perfect architectural proportions. An epic story long awaited, and well worth the wait.

Meet Asterios Polyp: middle-aged, meagerly successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womanizer, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this "escape" really about?

As the story unfolds, moving between the present and the past, we begin to understand this confounding yet fascinating character, and how he's gotten to where he is. And isn't. And we meet Hana: a sweet, smart, first-generation Japanese American artist with whom he had made a blissful life. But now she's gone. Did Asterios do something to drive her away? What has happened to her? Is she even alive? All the questions will be answered, eventually.

In the meantime, we are enthralled by Mazzucchelli's extraordinarily imagined world of brilliantly conceived eccentrics, sharply observed social mores, and deftly depicted asides on everything from design theory to the nature of human perception.

Asterios Polyp is David Mazzucchelli's masterpiece: a great American graphic novel.

It's due in June, let's get stoked