Book Title/Author: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Publisher/Year: February 3rd 2015 by First Second
Genre: Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Adult Fiction, Magical Realism, Romance
“David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn’t making it any easier!” (Inside-Flap Book Synopsis)
If you’ve been following my posts recently, you’ll know that I’ve been into graphic novels and Neil Gaiman; so when I heard the buzz on Goodreads about The Sculptor being the “year’s best graphic novel”, I was intrigued. Then I was in my local bookstore, I came across The Sculptor and saw that it was blurbed by Neil Gaiman:
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.
Well after that I was SOLD! It was mine $40 CAN later — which, I may remind you: the Canadian dollar isn’t fairing too well right now, so $40 for a book is quite an invested.
I really wanted to like this book…but, I did not enjoy this as much as I anticipated. I was bothered by the main characters: David and Meg. I couldn’t relate to them and they were both annoying in their own unique way. Had it not been for the gorgeous artwork I probably would not have continued reading to the end.
The story is about David, a vain, depressed twenty –something-year-old, whose whole family has gradually died — his sister’s death is the one he mourns over the most, for she was very young. He is fixated on being recognized for his art and genius, but his piss-poor ‘all about me’ attitude gets him in trouble and he frustrates/angers those who can help him excel in his career. Death appears, disguised as a familiar friend, and makes a deal with David. David agrees to die for his art. Death grants him 200 days to live to make his artwork, having the power to sculpt anything with his bare hands. Sounds like it would be a grand story, right?
Would have been a great story, had I connected with the characters more. I was annoyed by David because the majority of the book is following him, the whiny, starving artist who is in a funk, and he spends more time complaining about how people don’t appreciate his genius rather than making his art.
Meg is equally annoying. I’m not going to spill spoilers here, but she does something that I think is really malicious and mean in the beginning, involving David. I cannot get past how mean of a ‘joke’ it was and that she was able to justify it as being ok in the first place. I liked Meg’s free-spiritedness, but I did not like how dependent she was on men in her life. I got the impression that she cannot just be happy being single and in her own company.
I liked the idea and concept of The Sculptor and enjoyed the character of Death, but I found the characters annoying and unrelatable.
Now, the artwork—Wow! AMAZING! I couldn’t get enough of it. All the drawings are super detailed and all of it is in shades of deep blue, adding to the dark underlying themes of the book. If it has not been for such great artwork I probably would not have given this book 3 stars.