THE SCULPTOR

PrintE-mail Written by Ian White

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: THE SCULPTOR / AUTHOR: SCOTT MCCLOUD / ARTIST: SCOTT MCCLOUD / PUBLISHER: SELFMADEHERO / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 3RD

Life has not dealt tortured sculptor David Smith a fair hand. His family are dead, his hands are incapable of creating the art he wants them to make, and he just lost his job. Today he is in the diner, celebrating his twenty-sixth birthday from the bottom of a lonely beer glass and contemplating the ruin of his world.

Which is when Uncle Harry appears from out of nowhere… Uncle Harry, who David hasn't seen in a very long time (and by the end of their conversation he’ll remember there's a reason for that)… Uncle Harry who tells David “Life doesn’t turn out the way we planned” and then makes him an offer that will change everything, but with one very fatal string attached. And yet it's not until David meets the beautiful, mercurial Meg that those changes really begin to happen, and her love and belief transforms David just as magically as David - with the new powers bestowed on him by Uncle Harry - can transform concrete and metal into art, moulding and shaping it like liquid, creating whole masterpieces with a simple wave of his fingers.

But now that he has everything – the talent and the girl - David doesn’t have time. In 200 days he will die.

It's hard to synopsise Scott McCloud's quite miraculous graphic novel The Sculptor without injecting spoilers. The less you know going into it the better. This book is a diamond-bright treasure-trove of beautiful observations about art and loneliness and a soul-touching examination of the joys and pain of being in love and you really need to discover it for yourself. It is one of the most perfect demonstrations we have ever seen of why comic books and the graphic novel are such a vitally important art form, how a simple conglomeration of text and drawings can both change and reinforce – as well as make better – the readers view of the world. It might sound over-the-top, but The Sculptor has really got inside our heart.

It’s not always an easy read. It’s a grown-up fairytale that doesn't pull punches, a story that unfolds like a movie and demands the reader ‘rewatches’ it as soon as it is over, lingering on the beauty of McCloud's artwork, the faces that seem roughly sketched in but are actually deceptively nuanced and the perfectly-realised architecture of the New York his characters inhabit. We can't remember the last time a graphic novel delivered this impact. The Sculptor is a work of ‘heart’. It reinforces why art, love and imagination are so crucial in our world and why we should appreciate every moment of being alive.

You need to read this.
 

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