Author: Scott McCloud
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn’t making it any easier!
This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world’s greatest city. It’s about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life…and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work.
Huge thank you to First Second for this ARC!
I admit, I’ve never actually read any of Scott McCloud’s works. It was my husband, however, who encouraged me to make the request and see what the fuss behind his work really is. It was a good kind of fuss, because I adored The Sculptor. Faustian in tone and narrative, The Sculptor is an emotional tale about wanting to be accepted by others, but also accepting yourself.
David is not the most likeable of characters, but honestly, it works in his favour. David has such strong ambitions, but he wants others to see what he feels he has in himself. After constant rejections in the artwork and facing his own identity crisis, he makes a deal with death — to be given the power to sculpt anything, but the cost is his life. David’s struggles and hardships are so beautifully depicted in this story, and his aggression and heartache made me really feel for him. Admittedly he’s a bit full of himself and quite self-absorbed, but he wants people to see his potential, and I think it’s something a lot of people can relate to.
And, then there was Meg. Admittedly, Meg’s aggressive behaviour was a bit of a turn-off at the beginning, and I found myself outright disliking her treatment of others. As the story goes on, however, you get just as into Meg’s head as you do David’s. They have quite a few similarities and yet, they are a wonderful, if slightly destructive couple. Once I understood where Meg was coming from, the connection became so much more apparent and I grew to love her part of the story as much as I did David’s.
The artwork in this graphic novel is stunning by the way. There’s so much detail, and every panel is just intense with emotion, not just from the characters, but even from the way McCloud depicts New York. New York at times feels like its own character, and I liked that aspect a fair bit. Plus the last few pages of the graphic novel? Insanely gorgeous. I don’t want to spoil why this is the case, but when you get to read it for yourself — you’ll understand.
I totally understand why Scott McCloud is a household name in comics. After readingThe Sculptor, I get why he is universally loved and highly acclaimed. Scott McCloud knows how to get into the mind of his characters and tell an enriching tale that makes you care about his characters, regardless of how dislikeable they may start out as. The Sculptor is an easy recommendation for those who love emotionally charged storytelling coupled and adore beautiful artwork to accompany it.