This is part 5 of ASTERIOS POLYP annotations. Naturally, spoilers follow. Click here for part 1, here for part 2, here for part 3, and here for part 4. Got your copy of the book handy? Good. Let's go.
Cover: This is the Swiss clock that Asterios took apart as a kid.
Page 1, Panel 1: There is an old adage that "The villain is the hero of his own story." Asterios is, of course, his own worst enemy.
Page 3, Panel 4: Note Asterios' silhouette, and how it resembles his stock pose that we've seen throughout the book.
Panel 6: First of all, does anyone else find the name pf the law firm funny? Next, we see here that Hana and Asterios have been married for seven years before divorcing.
Page 6: Hana talked about this earlier in Chapter 10, where this panel is also the cover for that chapter.
Page 9, Panels 3-6: This makes me wonder if this is something Hana said to Asterios a lot, or if Asterios is remembering one memory in many different ways.
Page 1, Panel 1: There goes that airplane again.
Pages 2-8: Note how Ignazio's bubbles change so that he essentially becomes Asterios. Also, note that Ignazio is nurturing a flower - or a hana - in that car.
Page 9, Panel 7: "Male bondage." Stiffly screws a saying up again.
Page 13, Panel 3: "I broke it." A great double meaning.
Panel 7: "That car wouldn't run on sunlight." Is Asterios working off of his dream?
Page 14-15: I love how the young Asterios wouldn't have bothered to help this cat at all.
Page 31, Panel 7: As Asterios learned from Hana, so did Hana learn from Asterios. If this book were written from Hana's point of view, would she have also been the villain of her own story?
Page 34: Asterios never once let go of that knife.
Page 37: The lettering technique here is incredible.
The Ending: I think this whole ending is open to interpretation. I think it's best when seen symbolically - that there it is, Hana and Asterios are letting go of the past, and here comes a new beginning.
All in all, I still think Asterios Polyp is the best original graphic novel I've read. In that spirit, I'd like to congratulate David Mazzucchelli for winning the grand jury prize at Angouleme.
Seriously, if you haven't read it yet, you really, really ought to.