Jan 24, 2011

Asterios Polyp Annotations, Part 3

This is part 3 of ASTERIOS POLYP annotations. Naturally, spoilers follow. Click here for part 1 and here for part 2. Got your copy of the book handy? Good. Let's go.


Cover: This is the Washington Monument creating a double of itself in the reflecting pool.

Pages 1–2: This is the Vietnam War Memorial. Asterios (and therefore Ignazio) would have been around enlisting age during the war, and it's conceivable that Ignazio would have died in Vietnam had he survived his birth.

Page 6, Panel 4: The first hints that "Ronny Doug" isn't Jackson's nickname.

Page 10, Panel 1:  "A fragrant lie." Stiffly screws up another saying. (And Ursula plays off it beautifully.)


Page 1: I think it's interesting to note how modern science can change the context for the oldest stories.

Page 7: This is exactly what I was talking about regarding Hana's name. As a flower, she needs light to grow, and you can see it in panel 1. Asterios seems to give her that light, and then takes it away almost immediately.

Page 14, Panel 1: Hana moving into Asterios' apartment. As you can see, it's once again from the same angle we always get from Asterios' apartment as an establishing shot.


Page 1, Panel 2: "In a cooperative, everybody has a voice." Asterios has grown up.

Page 3, Panel 5: Asterios has, once again, expressed an interest in something that runs on sunlight (this time literally).

Page 6, Panel 3: So Asterios isn't an all-around genetically gifted genius. He didn't know how to put the clock from chapter 2 back together.

Page 9: And with that, Asterios gives away the second of three things he saved from his apartment. He's given away the thing that reminds him of his father and the thing that reminds him of his childhood. The only thing he has now is the thing that reminds him of Hana.

Page 13: "Even if he did make him up, he must exist somewhere." Ursula would probably agree that Ignazio has a life of his own.

Page 16, Panel 4: This view of sexuality and gender is, interestingly enough, very similar to the old Filipino mentality of having four genders: male, female, bakla (feminine male), and tibo (masculine female). With this mentality, it's not about who you're with; it's very clearly about how you act, and I think it also means that anyone can be with anyone from any other gender. I still know people who believe that when two guys kiss, only one of them is bakla. Over the years, with Western influence, bakla and tibo came to mean gay and lesbian, respectively, in the Western senses of the word. But some (and by that, I mean a lot of) Filipinos still subscribe to that old notion that it's not about who you're with, but about how you act.

Page 17, Panel 1: While the Pima tribe respected the two alternative genders for their wisdom, over here, we look to them for entertainment. In a way, one could say they were born entertainers.

Panel 2: Asterios is correct here - a more rounded view of things instead of a binary view would preclude a lot of misery.

Panel 4:Duh.

Panel 5: Stiffly screws up another saying. But in this case, as Asterios says, he'd probably be right.


Page 1, Panel 1: "Willy" is slang for penis. "Ilium" is the largest bone in the pelvis. In other words, Willy Ilium is a dick.

Page 2, Panel 1: "The humble pine cone" and "a matter of paying attention." Once again, Asterios takes credit for something Hana did.

Page 3: I confess, if anything here means anything important, it's gone well over my head. But a chimera is a Greek mythological figure — once again, something out of The Odyssey — that is part goat, snake, and lion.

Page 4: I'm not going to get into Orpheus here. Here's his Wikipedia page. Quite probably the most famous rendition of Orpheus in comics is from Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN. Bryan Talbot drew his story for the legendary series and can be found in SANDMAN: FABLES AND REFLECTIONS or in one of the ABSOLUTE SANDMAN editions (either book two or book three). Orpheus is also referenced in Craig Thompson's GOOD-BYE CHUNKY RICE.

Page 8, Panel 4: Willy wants to see Hana "naked, exposed." If he has a thing for her, he can sure hide it well behind the pretense of complimenting her work.

Page 9, Panel 1: Once again, we see Asterios' apartment from the same exact angle.

Page 10, Panel 1: Willy with another double entendre. It's subtle, but look at Asterios' eyes widening in this panel from hearing that.

Page 15, Panel 5: Can someone please explain to me what the hell Nietzsche has to do with dancing?


Page 2, Panel 7: There goes that airplane again.

Page 4, Panel 4: Does Asterios believe that the lighter would have gone to Ignazio instead of him?

Page 6, Panel 3: "I was thinkin' about puttin' a couple a' windows in this wall." A callback to Chapter 4, Page 4, Panel 2.


Amber Light said...

I went to Fully Booked, they don't have a copy yet. D;

Hoping there will be one very soon.

Duy said...

Actually, every time I go to Fully Booked, they seem to alternate between having it and not having it. I guess that means they restock all the time and that the book is in relatively high demand. Good luck!

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