Mazzucchelli's graphic novel marks the quintessence of his formal explorations
by David Mazzucchelli
$29.95 List Price
David Mazzucchelli is not a casual cartoonist. There are no accidents in his comics world; he takes every element into account, from ink and color to paper and binding—which makes the apparent spontaneity and easy naturalism of his work both beguiling and convincing. His pictorial world has expanded over the course of two decades and across a variety of publications and genres, from the noir realism of Daredevil (1984–86) and Batman: Year One (1986–87) to the fablelike tales of Rubber Blanket (1991–93) to the epic character study that is his first graphic novel, Asterios Polyp. The key to these projects lies in a set of concerns that include space, line, perception (and misperception), relationships, and everyday morality. These issues are explored by characters—whether the mysterious Big Man or the dreamy Asterios Polyp—who possess a life beneath their cartoonish exteriors that is teased out by Mazzucchelli's gestural drawing style and multilayered narratives.
Mazzucchelli's first paying comics job came in 1982, while he was still an undergraduate at the Rhode Island School of Design. He turned in a barely professional art assignment for Marvel's Master of Kung Fu, following it a year later with some much-improved penciling for the Indiana Jones comic book. By 1984, he'd found his footing with regular work for Daredevil, for which he drew in an illustrative style influenced by Gene Colan, Jack Kirby, and other masters of what Mazzucchelli has described as his primary undergraduate interest: the movement of solid forms in space—a perfect fit for a genre that depends on