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Asterio Polyp

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
So, what about that ending?
Yay or nay?
I can't decide yet. Probably because I came to like the characters so much.
post #2 of 18
I'm not there yet...only about 1/3 of the way through. Still, I'm incredibly impressed so far. It's got Craig Thompson-esque levels of attention to detail, and the way that the art styles spring from the characters that they're meant to represent is the kind of nice attention to detail that you rarely see in a graphic novel.

Now I'm out of here...I don't need the spoilers.
post #3 of 18
I just had a friend recommend this one to me... I take it it's worth buying sight unseen?
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
post #5 of 18
...and purchased! Any book that can make me want to give a character a hug in 8 pages simply must be purchased. Thank you for this Bob!
post #6 of 18
Mazzucchelli's my favorite cartoonist of all time, and I've literally been waiting twelve years for Asterios Polyp to come out, so...yeah, I'm a big fan of it.

There's a nice cameo in Polyp by a character from a Mazzucchelli short story in Rubber Blanket #1 ("Near Miss").
post #7 of 18
Funny to be writing about this on the day of the Perseids shower, but I'm just not sure what I think about the ending.

The book is, without question, a real achievement - best and one of the most thought-provoking things I've read in awhile - and then that. What the ending really does is make me want to simply turn around and start reading the book from the beginning again with the knowledge that that's coming. Even though there's a lot of the more obvious foreshadowing, everything else is so expertly done that it feels like it must be punctuating a lot more than what may be absorbable from the first read (at least by a lunkhead like me).
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
I feel pretty much the same way. Like on the surface it's kind of a cheap puncchline, a shock gimmick. But everything else has been so effortlessly engaging and thought provoking, I figure I'm wrong. I must be missing something. Maybe some humorless genius at The Comics Journal will parse it out for me.
post #9 of 18
Has this book been out long enough that we can talk about the ending yet without being spoilerish douchebags?
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
I would like to.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT, SUCKERS!
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
A meteor smashes them both.
post #12 of 18
Do you think this is what actually happens? It seems to be the ending, but I wanted to hope that the images of the shooting star were meant to be some kind of symbol that didn't actually lead to the main character's destruction. Like it's the heavens realizing that Hana isn't second fiddle to her brothers anymore, or something...
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
You mean that it's a symbolic meteor?
Because there's a picture of a giant fucking meteor about to smash the house. I'm not saying you're wrong. That's a valid interpretation. But it sure looks like it was intended to be seen as actually happening.
post #14 of 18
Just read this last week. On first read I kind of hated the ending, but when I thought about it more, I wondered: are we supposed to assume that if Asterios hadn't been a know-it-all douche to the paranoid sky-watcher in the diner, that the latter man would have spotted the meteor?
post #15 of 18
To me the meteor is kind of a Scott Pilgrim moment, where even though it's clearly "real" in the world of the story, you kind of write it off because it seems like we're getting some weird filtered version of reality that's taking place in one of the character's heads. Like you're getting a story inside a story.

Bear in mind, destruction and chaos are repeatedly associated with good things throughout the story--the idea of trashing your old life, which allows you to move on to something better. The fire at the beginning, the bar fight, and then finally the meteor. In an odd way I think it's supposed to be a happy ending--like they're going to heaven together.
post #16 of 18
I'm not a big comic reader, so this statement doesn't necessarily carry much weight, but this GN is easily the most impressive use of the medium I have ever seen. Twelve years in the making, you say? Totally worth it, and yet you'd never know just by looking at it. That's what excellence is, I suppose: Making great feats look completely natural, easy almost (at least to untrained eyes).

The ending was certainly shocking, but I found it to be... well, not uplifting, but really hopeful in a way. It's a fairytale ending, with death by comet replacing the happily ever after. Asterios reaches his destination, spiritually and physically - by killing him and Hana off at that point, the blissful purity of the moment is preserved, without the possibility that the reality of the characters' situation, their baggage as a couple and as individuals drives them apart again.

Of course, that reading feels kind of unfair to Hana as a character, as she only serves to make Asterios whole and is then killed, but then again, the book never tries to disguise the fact that the story really isn't about her.
post #17 of 18
Such a heaven for formalist geeks, this. Every damn last one of my architecture/design/art student friends is getting this for their birthdays.
post #18 of 18
My God. That ending.
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