The Sculp­tor

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Comics -

Comics guru crafts a master­piece

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

500 pages | Hard­back Writer/ artist: Scott McCloud Pub­lisher: Self Made Hero

Scott

McCloud’s fic­tion out­put has been limited of late. This enor­mous tome is the rea­son why – it took the Un­der­stand­ing Comics au­thor five years to com­plete.

David Smith is a strug­gling sculp­tor. Strik­ing a bar­gain with Death, David gains mas­tery of his art, but at a cost: he will die in 200 days. He’s fine with that, un­til a chance en­counter with a girl changes his life…

As plots go, it’s far from re­mark­able: Faus­tian pacts and the re­demp­tive power of love are both well- worn themes. It doesn’t mat­ter – McCloud is aim­ing for mythic sto­ry­telling here. While the plot is ar­che­typal, both David and his po­ten­tial love, Meg, are fal­li­ble and be­liev­ably hu­man. There’s a ker­nel of truth at the core of th­ese char­ac­ters: in David’s ar­ro­gance and ded­i­ca­tion to a set of ul­ti­mately point­less self- im­posed rules, and in the deep sad­ness that un­der­pins Meg’s wild- eyed en­thu­si­asm for life.

The script is as lively and funny as it is heart- tug­gingly melan­choly. McCloud’s art, mean­while, is evoca­tive and re­strained. De­spite the wild vis­ual pos­si­bil­i­ties of Smith’s power, the most preva­lent im­age is sim­ply him wan­der­ing the streets of New York.

The pay­off is a lit­tle too neatly wrapped up. But the quiet hu­man­ity at the heart of The Sculp­tor makes for a graphic novel that’s gen­tly ro­man­tic, prop­erly hi­lar­i­ous and wince- in­duc­ingly re­lat­able to any­one who’s ever ob­sessed over a project. Will Salmon

Just pray?

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