- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: First Second; First Edition, First Printing edition (February 3, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596435739
- ISBN-13: 978-1596435735
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.9 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sculptor Hardcover – February 3, 2015
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“*The fluidity of McCloud's visual narrative carries us along with a sweep impossible to duplicate in prose, and, through it its climax, the story's commitment to its harsh, inevitable, but ultimately sublime outcome qualifies this as a work of stunning, timeless graphic literature.” ―Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
“Scott McCloud's The Sculptor is the best graphic novel I've read in years. It's about art and love and why we keep on trying. It will break your heart.” ―Neil Gaiman
About the Author
Scott McCloud is the award-winning author of Understanding Comics, Making Comics, Zot!, The Sculptor, and many other fiction and non-fiction comics spanning 30 years. An internationally-recognized authority on comics and visual communication, technology, and the power of storytelling, McCloud has lectured at Google, Pixar, Sony, and the Smithsonian Institution.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is drawn in a beautiful evocative duotone with indigo hues that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also the perfect tone to create the mood that this story needs to create a a blues song, which underlines the sadness, desperation, depression and alienation of some of the characters, but also to create a magic ambience for David, this "indigo child", this gifted guy with great talent, enhanced ways of perception and supernatural abilities.
McCloud artwork is totally awesome, regarding use of colour, composition, framing and style.
McCloud depiction of New York urban area is absolutely glorious and masterful. He looks at the city as both as an insider and an outsider, because some of the images are really those that anybody visiting the Big Apple for the first time would take with them, the overwhelming but thrilling presence of concrete, steel and skyscrapers. On the other hand, MCloud knows the city and is also able to depict its more rural or parkland areas with freshness and a great bucolic feeling, which is used as an emotional counterpoint to the urban settings, where most of the story happens. As an insider, McCloud shows the New York of the New Yorkers, the ambience of the city, but also the city of the people. Every secondary or tertiary figure and passer-by character depicted in the streets is fully there, even most of those in the background. Their body language, clothing and attitude tell us a story of who they, we see them as individuals who happen to cross the street and the vignette, not as mere accessories to the main characters or the image. This is one of the reasons I love reading comics on digital format as the zooming allows us to do that easily, and fully be there within the image, and notice the tiniest scratch or detail.
There are a few surreal images depicted in the book, many of them beautifully drawn and impacting. There is a strong presence of oneiric elements as well. I one of my previous reviews, I mentioned the fact that Magic Realism can be easily mixed up with fantasy and surrealism to describe Latin-American novels as deniable part of the genre. Here we have the contrary case, this is, to me, an undeniable Magic Realism work, even if North-American, and not many people are focusing on that. So, which elements are part of the Magic Realism genre in The Sculptor?
> Fantastical elements (levitation, premonitory dreams), TICK
> Real-word setting, TICK
> The story is told as is nothing extraordinary was taking place, magical events are accepted in the same plane as those that aren't, TICK
> Use of multiple planes of reality, in this case the oneiric and the awakened state, TICK
> Metafiction, that is, the narrator intentionally exposes themselves as the author of the story, TICK
> Heightened awareness of mystery, TICK
> Social critique, In this case about the art market. TICK
On the other hand, there are important literary connections the reader will make at the beginning, or at least I did, that of the Faustian-like plot being the most important.
I thought that the narrative and characterisation of The Sculptor did not match the finesse of the artwork. Although I liked the overall plot and ending, some characters are a bit clichéd, like Olly and Finn.The character of Meg seemed a bit non-believable to me, a good-Samaritan Lolita, but it turns out that the character has some surprises and is based on MCloud's wife and on their own love story. Ouch! However David and Harry's characters are roundly profiled and created.
The beginning of the book was exhilarating, witty and interesting, then turned into a boring immature love story to then gain momentum again and end brilliantly. The book mixes dialogues that deal with what Art is and is not, how Art is produced, how Art is sold and marketed and what makes a successful artist. On the other hand we see how life and Art mix in intricate ways, how the artist's life and the artist' art feed each other, and how most talented artists would not make it.
The ending was genuine and the one that I wanted to see. Some rules can't be broken ever, some thing simple are that way, as Death would say. And changing the end to please readers would have been an artistic betrayal to the author's own vision and the inner logic of the story.
Overall, a very enjoyable reading, with some thought-provoking moments, and awesome artwork.
Scott McCloud is best known for his classic Understanding Comics, itself in comic-book form, where he shows and tells us how the comic medium uses words and pictures to tell a story. Those familiar with that book and its sequels will enjoy seeing these techniques put into action. Some of the techniques he employs are from the Japanese manga, but he does so in a way that is unobtrusive and never seems like something from a foreign land.
The tale is realistic except for a single fantastic element. The hero is a sculptor, David Smith (no, not THAT David Smith) who lives and works in New York. The details of the art world seem authentic. McCloud’s earlier career was with superhero comics, and The Sculptor is also about a man with a super power: makes a Faustian bargain with Death to become a “Super Sculptor.” However, he is given only 200 days to live and complete his work.
Things become complicated when he meets Meg and falls in love. Their love relationship shows a psychological complexity and a realism one rarely sees in a comic book. No romcom cliches here, the lovers are flawed and vulnerable. That David’s future is so short make it more poignant.
McCloud’s drawings don’t call attention to themselves but serve the story. In a close-up of the characters’ faces we can read their expressions. A more distant shot lets us see the posturing of the bodies as if on a stage, equally expressive. The book is printed in two colors, black and kind of a blue-gray, which creates a softer, easier-on-the-eyes look than black-and-white but not as distracting as a full-color comic. David’s bizarre sculptures make up the most ostentatious visual element.
Highly recommended to anybody who likes comic books with grown-up themes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully designed. Extra fun. A breathtaking tangent
This is the first graphic novel I've read.Read more
It's not particularly groundbreaking in my opinion but has some of the best usage/storytelling of the graphic novel medium I've seen.Read more