Thursday, July 02, 2015

Reader's Diary #1172- Scott McCloud: The Sculptor

It was only last year that I read Scott McCloud's masterpiece, Understanding Comics. Written in 1993 it's a must-read for anyone getting serious about comics.

Clearly McCloud knew his stuff. Though I'd already been heavy into comics for a few years by that point he still made be understand and appreciate the complexities and subtleties that go into a comic.

But those were technical points. How, I wondered, would he handle a fictional story, a creation, of his own? I got my answer.

The Sculptor is another masterpiece. I feel like I shouldn't throw that term around so casually, but I would find it harder to deny that that's exactly what this book is.

It's true that McCloud's Understanding Comics cast a shadow over The Sculptor for me initially as I found myself labeling all the techniques I could find or impressing over new ones (he does a neat thing with the gray scale in this book, making a single character or object more intensely darker to capture different moods or importance). But quickly the story, the characters, and the art of it all sucked me in, fully and utterly.

It's about a sculptor with the generic name David Smith who makes a deal with death that for a few short months he would be able to sculpt anything, out of anything, with his bare hands. And then he would die.

Of course that becomes complicated when he falls in love.

But it's not a love story. Or it is. But it's more a treatise about art; the business of art, the legacy of art, the meaning and purpose of art. And it's absolutely gorgeous.

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