Watching Asterios

The two major graphic novels that we’ve read this semester are Watchmen and Asterios Polyp (I’m not counting What It Is because we used it more as a tool for fostering creativity than a novel to analyze). While both of these novels are amazing in their own right, only one of them was written as though the author has a grasp on human nature. I am referring to Asterios Polyp. The novels are incredibly different, so comparing the two is mostly like comparing apples and oranges, but there is one aspect that both novels have: relationships between men and women.

Watchmen has very one dimensional male/female relationships. All of these relationships are sexual or romantic in nature, and in these relationship the man is the holder of power, knowledge, and wisdom while the woman is there to give him the boost of inspiration that he needs to save the world.

Asterios Polyp in contrast has an incredible variety of male/female relationships. Two of these relationships is romantic and sexual in nature and many of them are only sexual in nature, but the only sexual relationships take up a grand total of three pages. The Romantic relationships are so incredibly different from one another that they could not be called one dimensional by anyone. You have the relationship between Ursula and Stiff, which is a loving partnership between two very different people. Those two trust and love each other. Then there’s the relationship between Asterios and Hana. They certainly love one another, but Asterios is so self-centered that the already other-people-centered Hana can’t grow and learn how to love herself. These are the romantic relationships, however one of the most observable relationships in this novel is that between Asterios and Ursula. This relationship is entirely platonic, and Ursula is placed more in the wise mentor role. She isn’t just his inspiration to go do great things, she is her own person with her own life who just happens to have the wisdom he needs.

Even the difference in size between the paragraphs shows the difference. I can fill two sentences with the depth of the relationships in Watchmen while the relationships of Asterios Polyp fill 10 sentences (though I could go on). This fact speaks for itself.