Author: Scott McCloud
Publisher: First Second
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley
Comic book authority Scott McCloud wrote and illustrated the graphic novel The Sculptor, his first work of fiction in over 20 years. The fact that it's already in development for a film should give you a clue that it's a hot property.
David is the titular sculptor, a once-rising artist in the New York art scene. But he's kind of a dick and he alienates his patron and most of his friends. Now he's broke and desperate. So, of course, he makes a deal with a devil.
The Sculptor is an amazing piece of work, a Faustian tale for the 21st century. David is flawed, certainly, but flawed in the way most artistic types are. He cares more about art than people. But then he meets Meg, an aspiring actress, with flaws of her own, and David begins to regret his deal with the devil.
Readers will fly through near-500 pages of the graphic novel as they are pulled into David's story. Scott McCloud's illustrations aren't perfect (one panel of Meg in a coat makes her look like she weighs 200 pounds), but they convey plenty of emotion and action and beauty.
A tip of the hat to McCloud for giving The Sculptor a diverse cast of supporting characters. It is, after all, New York City. Which brings me to my quibble. There is at least one crowd scene that takes place in the streets of New York and all the faces in the crowd are white. All of them. Even the ones in the back that are just circles. After the inclusiveness of the rest of the book, it was jarring to me. (Most people won't even notice this, but that's another blog post.)
But overall, The Sculptor is a stellar graphic novel and should be read by all people who care about what art means and what it takes to create. It's the kind of book you'll think about for days after and will want to share with all your friends so you can talk about it together.
Bonus video: Scott McCloud discusses The Sculptor