The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Perhaps I might highlight überauthor Neil Gaiman’s cover blurb: “The best graphic novel I’ve read in years,” says he. He’s not far off.
I could add that creator Scott McCloud is a three-decade veteran of the comics industry, which means he really knows what he’s doing: he’s apparently “either comics’ leading theorist or a deranged lunatic,” according to his website bio. His work is available in 20 languages so he’s proven he’s got international appeal.
I admit that this is my first McCloud experience. I knew nothing about The Sculptor; I didn’t even read the jacket summary when I opened the book at midnight. No surprise: I stayed awake into the wee hours because I just couldn’t stop.
David Smith, McCloud’s eponymous sculptor, can’t stop either. Drinking solo on his birthday, inconsolable over his stalled art career, David is shocked when his Uncle Harry sits down across from him … and gives him a 200-day gift (curse?) in exchange for his life.
As he staggers out into the city, desperate and depressed, an angel descends from the sky and assures him, “Everything will be all right.” He’s about to lose his apartment, his wallet is virtually empty, but suddenly his hands seem creatively limitless. Between art dealers and stealers, users and losers, lovers and leavers, David can’t quite seem to harness his imagination. What will David do until his time is up? Will he play by the rules? How will he be able to let go?
The pages will practically turn themselves. McCloud’s panels barely stand still, always in motion toward what happens next, and then this, and then that, and then some more. “I gotta show you something,” Uncle Harry promises as the first chapter ends. From there, you’ll just have to keep up: “my life flashed before my eyes” is about to begin …
Readers: Young Adult, Adult