Maisy ❤ October 2013

reading time: ca. 3 min

Art doesn't need to be pretty. It needs to be passionate.

Read: Asterios Polyp (David Mazzucchelli, 2009)

This graphic novel is not your ordinary comic. It tells the story of an older man, Asterios Polyp, an architect who has never built an actual building, an arrogant, prickly, shabby guy (who David Mazzucchelli applaudably manages the reader to warm up to eventually). In its simplest terms, Asterios Polyp is a coming-of-age story - except that it is told from the perspective of a 50-year-old man, or rather from the perspective of his deceased twin brother who died in childbirth. Yeah, like i said, it's not an ordinary story.

After his house burned down he sets out to an unknown destination and, triggered by certain sensations, looks back on his past life, resulting in a journal-esque storytelling. The story comes in short chapters, we experience various time leaps, we jump from one episode to the next, bringing a very fragmentary, spanning feel to the story. The drawing style of the graphic novel changes several times too, depending on the ambience or timeframe in question. I perceived it as a sort of visual diary that contains both abstract, stream-of-consciousness-like and cinematic elements (e.g. cross-fades).
While Mazzucchelli keeps his figures rather caricatural, every character has their own "signature", such as drawing style, colour scheme, and most notably their own character font, which i enjoyed very much. It adds a nice depth to the characters, which are already cartoony enough.
Same goes for the plot: the graphic novel's strong suit is - in my opinion - their way of combining metaphors and poetical thoughts with the mundane, the relatable. Only once or twice i felt like Mazzucchelli wandered off in an overly philosophical direction. Those passages were too epistemic to my taste and briefly threw me off the storyline. Luckily out of the overall 320 pages there were... i want to say around 20 pages that i didn't enjoy all that much. The remaining 300 pages where appealingly drawn and pleasant to read though. The beginning and some passages in-between were rather text-heavy, but most of the time i could read at a normal pace and towards the end it even became quite image-heavy which was nice for a change. Since i'm currently participating in NaNoWriMo, i don't have time to read all that much, so i was very happy to come across this two-and-a-half-hour read. 

i put together a little collage of snippets from Asterios Polyp, so you get an impression of the graphic novel

    If i had to pick my favourite scenes from the graphic novel (warning: skip this paragraph if you don't want to know anything at all about the story before reading it!) it would definitely be the collage of Asterios' memories of living with Hana: all and every single one of the mundane and intimate and unglamorous moments - closely followed by my second favourite scene, where Asterios rests on the porch after having spent a sun soaked afternoon building a tree house for the little boy: the moment where he can finally let go and be at peace with himself for a while.

Watched: Mad Men (2007-2014)
source: imdb
After having a major off-time from Mad Men after the season 5 premiere, which simply didn't feel right for me (especially Betty which, i'm sorry, just wasn't really Betty anymore), i am now back on the Draper track and watched the entire thing up to the season 6 finale in less than two weeks. 
Something has changed, yes. Mad Men is not the same as it was before, due in no small part to the fact that it's not the shifty-glamorous era of the early 60s anymore with petticoated housewives, smoky saloons and pin-up looks, but instead a more colourful world of Hollywood, Hawaiian vibes and the hippie movement. I do miss the nostalgia of the first few seasons, but the continuing high quality helps to get over that.

Speaking of quality, Mad Men is still as historically credible and visually pleasing as ever. Their camera work is artistic and precise, contributing greatly to the show's authenticity. Costumes and the actors' performances are - needless to say - still exciting and spot-on. i love them all: Don Draper, who is quite a dick sometimes but at the same time pitiful, Peggy Olson, who worked her way up from secretary to respected copy chief, Joan Holloway/Harris who displays the perfect mixture of sensitivity and strictness, i like the straight forward unblushing Roger Sterling who doesn't give a f*ck (and also doesn't seem to age, this lucky bastard!) but actually cares a lot - i loved the subtle scene with him and his ex wife Mona - , and i also like Pete Campbell, even though he is a pretentious little smart-ass who reminds me of a yappy terrier. Oh and Bob Benson. i love the way he looks (just such a cute puppy, right?) but i'm very uneasy about his personality. Turns out, he seems to be the opposite of Don, undiplomatic, talkative, always smiling, but at the same time very similar to Don. we'll see...

Jon Hamm is of course the perfect Don Draper, whose sleek manner and flawless façade slowly begin to crumble. In this latest season i was especially pleased with the way they incorporated sequences from Don's past into the fictional present. If you are looking for an elaborate quality series, were each episode unfolds like a small movie, that is both calm and thrilling, classy and witty, check out Mad Men. It's worth its one-hour running time. 

Maisy rates: 8.5/10

- > As to movies, i watched Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity and as homework for one of my seminars wrote a film review on that. If you're interested in reading that, i will translate and upload that later today. (review over here)

Listened To: Youth (Daughter, 2013)
source: wikipedia

Soft indie rock that tells of the wild side of being young and careless while its relaxed rhythm brings a subtle playful melancholy to it. Also, i love the cover of their Wild Youth EP, it looks very authentic, could be my neighbour's kids with those painted faces and grimaces, lol.

//We are the reckless,
We are the wild youth
Chasing visions of our futures//

other stuff i listened to this month:
- Leave The Lights On by Meiko
- Bad Things by Meika
- Daydreamin' by Ariana Grande
- Piano by Ariana Grande
- Impossible by Shontelle
- Dark Horse by Katy Perry ft. Tyler Ward
- The City by The 1975
- Chocolate by The 1975 (yes, a certain Ingrid Nilsen might have put me up to it :P)
- The World at Large by Modest Mouse
- Little Games by The Colourist
- Team by Lorde
- The Love Club by Lorde
- Royals by Lorde (because one can't live in this society and not have listened to this song past month, it's frickin everywhere!)
- Another Love by Tom Odell (Zwette Edit)


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