Title: The Sculptor
Author: Scott McCloud
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: First Second
Genre: Comics, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
David Smith is a sculptor, but he hasn’t been able to catch a break and he feels like his chance is slipping away. He makes a deal with Death: He will have the chance to acquire all the fame and fortune he’s ever desired, to be remembered forever, but he only has 200 days to do it. After that, he dies. What David doesn’t realize is that the eternal fame might not be what he truly wants out of life.
The Sculptor is a graphic novel that comics fans have been waiting for for a very long time, and it absolutely lives up to all the hopes, dreams, and expectations everyone had for it. Scott McCloud is a giant of the comics world, and this book is an excellent example of all of his promise.
McCloud manages to capture David in all his misery in The Sculptor, showing the reader just how down on his luck that David is. The reader can understand his depression, though it seems self-indulgent at times. David isn’t the most mature person, as evidenced by the deal he makes with Death. He’s ready and willing to trade his future for the glory of the moment. He can’t imagine doing anything else besides his art; it’s his soul and his reason for being. What David doesn’t expect is, that, in his 200 remaining days, he might find something to live for besides his art. It’s a heartbreaking turn of events that David faces. He forgets that there’s more to life than just fame and fortune. It’s the little moments of joy and happiness that make life worth living.
What’s remarkable about The Sculptor is that this is a story that couldn’t have been told any other way. Through his panels, McCloud really captures David’s anguish, his frustration, his total lack of self-awareness. We see his misery, and his immaturity; we feel his pain. David is a truly flawed character, and McCloud flaunts those on every panel. He doesn’t try to hide them, and they somehow make David more endearing. The reader wants David to find a reason to live other than his art, to make a human connection, but at the same time, is it too late for David? I can’t describe how the art tells the story; its moody colors set the emotional tone and McCloud’s genius is spread across each and every page.
I don’t want to give away too much of The Sculptor‘s story because the joy and gut-wrenching heartbreak of the book lie within its unfolding story. Learning about the journey that David is on and seeing him grow and change are so rewarding, and yet there’s always the fear that it’s already too late for David. This novel is incredibly well done; if you’re someone new to comics and looking to dive in, don’t let the length of this novel stop you. You’ll find yourself so immersed in it that the pages fly by as you are intent on discovering the ending to David’s story.
Other books by Scott McCloud: