Scott McCloud – The Sculptor
60. The Sculptor by Scott McCloud (2015)
Length: 496 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Started/Finished: 18 September 2015
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Recommended by Pop Culture Happy Hour.
If art is your life,
are you willing to die to
create better art?
Summary: David Smith is an artist who can’t seem to get any traction in the art world, so he makes a deal with Death – he can now create amazing sculptures out of any material, simply by using his hands and force of will to shape them, but he only has 200 days to use his power before he dies. And even with this amazing gift, he can’t seem to make himself known… plus, while he may have found the love of his life, Meg, but he can’t tell her about his secret, nor can he bring himself to admit that he’s going to leave her after all, no matter what he promises to the contrary.
Review: A lot of the stuff in the beginning and middle felt a lot like insider baseball – a lot of talk about galleries and art business and the desire to make a name for yourself, etc., so i felt like that kind of kept the reader (assuming the reader is not also an artist) on the outside. But there are a lot of more universal ideas – about love, and life, and death, and about leaving people and being left, and immortality and wanting not to be forgotten and about expressing yourself and leaving something of yourself behind, that get developed over the course of the story, and did speak to me more than the art-specific elements of the story. The artwork was beautiful, particularly when McCloud was using non-traditional angles or panels, and definitely towards the end, as David’s art began to get larger and more elaborate. I also appreciated that the characters felt and looked and talked like real people (when they weren’t being all pretentious about The Nature of Art, perhaps). Very good, and ultimately very moving, read. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: While I’m not quite in the same degree of raptures over this book that I think some people are, I definitely do think that it’s a pretty impressive achievement for a first graphic novel (McCloud’s other comics have all been non-fiction), in terms of the art but also in terms of the depths of story. Recommended for fans of coming of age or autobiographical graphic novels (it’s not an autobiography, clearly, but it has a very similar tone and feeling to a lot of them that I’ve read.)
First Line: Ready?
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