For this and other readers of David Mazzucchelli’s at the time almost revelatory work in Rubber Blanket and elsewhere in the rather meagre early- to mid-nineties, the wait for his Next Big Thing had become a thing unto itself, a running joke with undertones of rapt anticipation. It has been so long since we first heard of this project, since his and Paul Karasik’s better-than-the-original adaptation Paul Auster’s City of Glass (1994), that expectations could only have diminished. A few unpersuasive, short anthology pieces along the way did not help spur confidence, and neither did the fact that we saw such a proliferation of great comics by other creators in the interim.
But now that it is here, Asterios Polyp cannot help but revive this sense of promise, especially since it makes no bones about its ambition to be a Great Work. It’s no coincidence that Mazzucchelli patterns his work on the Odyssey, or that he wears his modernist ambitions on his sleeve in a way that cannot but recall that of Joyce when he did the same thing in his medium of choice.
The sun is setting here. Happy New Year from Cambridge!
This is just to note that the Hooded Utilitarians’ enlightening roundtable on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (1989-1996) has now come full circle — hop over there to check the entries by Noah Berlatsky, Ng Suat Tong, Tom Crippen, Vom Marlowe and Kinukitty. There are lots of good thoughts there and the comments are also well worth it if you’re interested in this, one of the quintessential comics series of the 90s. If nothing else, they’ve instilled in me the fear of rereading the series, but also awakened my dormant enthusiasm for same. I hope I get around to sometime before this anniversary year is over, although that might not happen. (In the meantime, there’s my recent, somewhat meagre post on Coraline).
Oh, and just to mark the occasion, check out the above video, shot at the recent Amanda Palmer (ex-Dresden Dolls) gig at the Union Chapel, London, last Saturday. There’s Neil, and he’s actually pretty hysterical (thanks to Richard for the heads up). Enjoy!!
Peter Madsen og — formoder jeg — Henning Kure, der netop har afsluttet deres store Valhalla-projekt, vil i morgen, fredag d. 18 mellem kl. 16.00-18.00, være at finde i Fantask, hvor de vil signere det nye album Vølvens syner og deres andre tegneserier. Hvis du gik glip af seancen i Faraos i sidste uge, er her endnu en chance for at trykke d’herrer i hånden for endt arbejde.
Og så har jeg i øvrigt modtaget denne pressemeddelelse fra Mads Bluhm — formand Komiks.dk, bestyrelsesmedlem Dansk tegneserieråd, Børne- og ungdomsbibliotekar Allerød bilbiotek — om et større Valhalla-arrangement i Allerød d. 24 oktober:
The picks of the week from around the web.
I was excited to learn of, and especially to see, the spectacular results the recent cleaning of a Spanish 17th-century portrait at the Metropolitan Museum have yielded. Hidden under a thick, dull varnish for ages, the picture has long been taken to be by a follower of VelÃ¡zquez, but has now been upgraded to fully autograph status. I’ve only seen the images published with the press release, but it looks entirely kosher to me.