Together with "Daytripper", Asterios Polyp is my all time favorite graphic novel. Let me say upfront, I don't like Japanese manga, and I don't like Marvel comic books. There - this should have stopped 90% of people from reading this review.
The plot revolves around the main character, a middle-aged, philandering architect who loses everything in a fire. It takes all of the author's skills as an artist to express the deep, often unseen differences among individuals, as he takes us through a parade of characters who talk, think and act in very different ways (they are even drawn in different styles, and their speech bubbles look different). This delicate insight into the inner lives of the various characters reminded me of that Chinese saying: "Two thirds of what we see is behind our eyes". A lot of this novel is about that crucial aspect of human existence.
I love stories that are original, powerful, clever, meaningful, warm and visually stunning (Mangas and marvel comics are generally not original, not clever and generally cold). That is what "Asterios Polyp" is: it's extremely creative and exciting. Rich with inventions and emotionally charged.
Even though it is much more than that, I see Asterios Polyp fundamentally as a love story, and a story about the communication challenges that we experience because of our differences. The way humans interact with each other is visualized with such elegance! But what I loved the most is that his novel has a living and breathing soul, a true soul that you can see much better in the second part. I found myself to be really moved towards the end. And also I think I found a certain kind of wisdom, that sees through selfish attitudes and behaviors as something that needs to be overcome and understood, in order to grow up, stop reading YA crap and become real adults.
Asterios and Hana are one of the most unique, fascinating and real couples I've ever encountered in fiction. Bravo, David!! Straordinario!!