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Robot reviews: Asterios Polyp

Asterios Polyp

Asterios Polyp

Asterios Polyp
by David Mazzucchelli
Pantheon, 344 pages, $29.95.

Asterios Polyp is the type of graphic novel that causes critics like me to rub our hands together frantically and salivate. It’s full of all the juicy metaphors, re-occuring motifs and classical allusions that academics and reviewers alike go koo-koo for. Best of all, they’re all right up front and not hidden in the text, so you don’t have to do a lot of hunting around.

At its center, however, Polyp is a familiar and heartfelt tale of a man, who, halfway through his life, is faced with the realization that he is far from the wonderful person he thought he was and sets about trying to make things right.

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Everyone’s A Critic: A round-up of comic reviews and thinkpieces

Asterios Polyp

Asterios Polyp

• Man, everyone and their Uncle Bob is reviewing David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp these days aren’t they? This week alone we’ve seen Brian Hibbs, Rob Clough, Douglas Wolk and the LA Times’ David Ulin.

Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I’ll probably have my own review of the book up this Friday.

• The Groovy Age of Horror’s Curt Purcell has been spending a lot of time talking about Blackest Night, and, given that he’s not a regular fan, he has some interesting things to say about the crossover event. Rather than link to all the separate posts, I’ll just say start here and work your way back.

Oh, and while you’re at it, read his new review of Gilbert Hernandez’s Speak of the Devil.

Johnny Bacardi likes Blackest Night quite a bit too.

• Speaking of the Hernandez brothers, are you confused about where to dive into their expansive magnum opus, Love and Rockets? The Onion’s AV Club is here to help. Continue Reading »

What are you reading?

Prince Valiant Vol. 1

Prince Valiant Vol. 1

Welcome to another round of What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is blogger, critic, Comics Comics editor and expectant dad Tim Hodler. To find out what Mr. Hodler and the rest of us are reading this week, click on the link below. And be sure to let us know what you’re currently reading in the comments section.

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Talking Comics with Tim: MoCCA’s Karl Erickson

The 2009 MoCCA Festival poster, illustrated by Molly Crabapple

The 2009 MoCCA Festival poster, illustrated by Molly Crabapple

While I did not attend Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) Art Festival 2009, held back on June 6-7, I was struck at the amount of constructive feedback that came out of people’s reports after the festival. It goes without saying that almost everyone thought the new venue (the 69th Regiment Armory) needed air conditioning and many folks were understandably dismayed with the logistical challenges and delays that occurred at the festival’s start. While reading a great deal of reactions from attendees and exhibitors, I was curious to get a lessons learned perspective from the organizers. Fortunately, Karl Erickson, MoCCA Director, was willing to take my email questions. In his answers, Erickson seemingly made it clear he was open to constructive feedback. While my questions aimed to cover a great deal of various concerns, I welcome folks to chime in with additional thoughts in the comments section. My thanks to Erickson for his time.

Tim O’Shea: The first question has to be–did you explore the possibility of air conditioning this year? Was it deemed just too cost prohibitive? If you’re staying at the Armory, do you intend to have air conditioning in 2010?

Karl Erickson: We did explore air conditioning for the Armory, but, yes, it was just too expensive. As far as staying at the Armory we are looking at dates earlier in the spring to help alleviate the heat.

O’Shea: Can you speak to what happened to cause the hour-long delay on Saturday and logistical challenges (like delayed book deliveries, only one trashcan on the show floor [by some reports], names missing from the guide book)–and are you establishing measures to try to minimize these situations next year?

Erickson: The delay was due to a few different factors, the major being a severe miscommunication with the trucking company that was to deliver not only many of our exhibitor’s books, but all of our supplies for the festival, not least being our cash registers and other check-in essentials. Of the problems that we did have, having one trashcan for the entire show floor was not one of them. We definitely had many trashcans.

We are certainly taking steps to contain and minimize the mistakes of this year, the most important of which is getting a much earlier jump in the planning and execution of the Festival. This includes a lengthy review of the 2009 Festival with practical solutions suggested. These include moving the Festival earlier in the spring (as this is not the first year we have had heat problems, AC or no), starting on every aspect of the Festival earlier, and creating a new MoCCA website that will deliver information much more effectively to exhibitors and attendees.

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What Are You Reading?

Asterios Polyp

Asterios Polyp

Welcome to What Are You Reading, where we don’t let a little thing like national holidays and fireworks prevent us from talking about our current reading exploits. Our guest this week is cartoonist (you can see his work in the new anthology Syncopated) and editor Paul Karasik, whose latest book is the highly accclaimed You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation! the second collection of comics by the late Golden Age artist Fletcher Hanks.

To discover what Paul and the rest of us are reading, simply click on the link below …

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Collect This Now! Rubber Blanket

Rubber Blanket #1

Rubber Blanket #1

One of the most hotly anticipated books of the year, at least among the indie crowd, has got to be David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp. The book has been earning a plentiful number of plaudits, but part of the interest is surely the fact that Mazzucchelli hasn’t published a book in almost 15 years and hasn’t had a strip published since 2001.

With all the fanfare surrounding the book, however, it seems odd that up till now no one has attempted to collect the three oversized issues of Mazzucchelli’s seminal self-published series, Rubber Blanket. While the three issues aren’t necessarily hard to find, securing them can prove to be a bit pricey. More importantly though, Rubber Blanket was a seminal series, both in Mazzucchelli’s development as an artist and in the indie comix scene of the early 90s.

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New details revealed on upcoming Crumb/Mazzucchelli books

Crumb Genesis Sketches

Crumb Genesis Sketches

It looks like I have more of an influence than I thought. Last week I wondered when Bill Kartalopoulos was going to get around to updating his site, and low and behold he has, with some really useful information on two hotly anticipated books.

The first deals with what may well be the most anticipated and possibly even controversial book of the year, Robert Crumb’s adaptation of the Book of Genesis.

Kartalopoulos, points to a few links that suggest the book may be in stores courtesy of WW Norton by the end of the year. He also posts some tantalizing art, links to an interview with Crumb, and reports on how the book’s foreign rights have been snapped up.

The second item concerns David Mazzucchelli’s long-awaited graphic novel Asterios Polyp. The book was originally scheduled to be out in February, but publisher Pantheon has updated that release date to June 2.

The book, a 344-page hardcover, concerns a middle-aged architect and womanizer whose life literally goes up in flames when his apartment burns down and he retreats to a small town.



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