Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Release date: February 3, 2015
Published by: First Second
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Author links: scottmccloud.com

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.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading The Sculptor. I wasn't familiar with McCloud's previous work and, at first glance, the artwork wasn't particularly impressive. I had no idea that within these 490 pages was such a gripping, emotional, thought-provoking story.

David Smith is a struggling artist who has fallen on hard times. Desperate to make a name for himself, he strikes a deal with Death. He trades his future for fame, gaining the ability to sculpt any material with his hands in exchange for his life. In 200 days, David has to create a piece that will grab the attention of the art world and gain him the recognition he has always dreamed of. But even with his new abilities, fame doesn't come easy. 

David meets Meg, a carefree, kindhearted girl who takes him in when he's hit rock bottom. As a relationship develops between them, David discovers a darker, more troubled side to the girl he has come to love. In his final days, he must decide between spending his time with Meg or making his last attempts at becoming famous.

McCloud does a fantastic job crafting all of The Sculptor's characters. It was easy to become emotionally invested in the outcome of David and Meg's journey. I even found myself caring about the strained relationship between David and his friend Ollie.

I've been reading graphic novels for many years now and I have never come across anything quite like The Sculptor. It's a brilliant story that is refreshingly original and was difficult to put down. I highly recommend it.


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