The Sculptor - Scott McCloud

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 found this beautifully crafted graphic novel to be just what I'd hope from First Second Books. It's complex, emotionally compelling, and captivating as an overall narrative. Though I imagine this story will be polarizing to some extend due to its use of what might considered a classic manic-pixie-dream-girl trope, I found it to be a very emotionally complicated. True, as one review I read noted, this book doesn't pass the Bechdel test, but does every book need to in order to be good? I know it's a complex question, but I do think that this is still a very strong book, even if it does focus on the art and (brief) life of a male protagonist. There is still a diverse cast of characters overall. 

The activist nature of his works of art remind me of Banksy, but with a bit more texture (sculptures will do that, obviously). I love the images that show movement, as they just exude so much power and energy. I mean, I would expect nothing less from McCloud, considering his history of work within the field of comics and visual imagery and literacy. I read this 500 page graphic novel in one afternoon, and can't get it out of my head now! The final pages are stunning and heartbreaking. I can't recommend this enough to connoisseurs of graphic novels and comics of varying styles. The palate of blues and blacks is muted, but spares little in terms of detail (just check out this skyline!)

Highly Recommended


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