Scott McCloud has created a masterpiece. Pure and simple, The Sculptor is a graphic novel you must read. It’s a true work of art that grabs you from its first pages and never lets go. This is a haunting, visionary work by a true master of the medium. If you read one comic this year – just one – make it The Sculptor.
McCloud unveils a Faustian story about a young artist who gives his life for a second chance at a successful art career. It’s about sacrifice, gain, and what it truly means to succeed in life. The answers are never as simple as you think, and McCloud manages to keep you engaged for nearly 500 pages, which is saying something. There’s a real heart here, a genuine sense of loss, pain, and sacrifice. The ending is heartbreaking and beautiful, a stunning look at what could have been and what was meant to be.
The book’s central character, David Smith, is what is so captivating about this story. He’s deeply flawed and relatable, a character you can see yourself in, even when he’s at his worst. He can’t accept the hard truth that, sometimes, having all the talent in the world is not a substitute for paying your dues. Time is not on his side, and even with the ability to create whatever he wants artistically, he can’t seem to find the success he seemed so sure was his for the taking. The success he was willing to bet his life on. It’s a fate that just might be worse than death. That is, until David realizes that some things might be more important than success. Things like love.
Visually, the book is on another level. It’s absolutely gorgeous, moving with an expert pace and attention to detail. McCloud makes great use of inking throughout the story, pulling your attention from place to place through carefully rendered lines. He only inks what he wants you to focus on, what you need to see. It creates a cinematic feel, as if the camera is focusing on a character or moment. Thanks to McCloud’s keen sense of visual storytelling, The Sculptor is easily one of the most beautiful graphic novels to hit shelves in a very long time.
Don’t wait for The Sculptor to hit everyone’s “Best of 2015” lists (because it will, no doubt). Do yourself a favor and pick this one up today. It’s incredible and totally worth your attention. It might depress you a little, but hey, doesn’t all good literature?
Be sure to stay tuned later today for our interview with McCloud.
The Sculptor is available today from First Second Books.