Finished this book: The Sculptor (by Scott McCloud)

Picture of the cover of The Sculptor by Scott McCloud.

Picture of the cover of The Sculptor by Scott McCloud.

This is one of the very few graphic novels I have ever read. I almost didn’t read it because I thought it was the story of a man who does a deal with the devil to have amazing skills as a sculptor and who then sculpts a “girl” who comes to life and is his “dream girl.” And frankly, very little could be both so boring and so irritating. But I thought I’d give it a chance if only to try to understand the graphic novel genre a bit by expanding my limited repertoire.

There is indeed a (heterosexual) love relationship between actual (white) humans that doesn’t involve a man making a “dream girl” out of stone. The male protagonist does do a deal with the devil to get amazing skills as a sculptor, and there’s some interesting treatment of how amazing skill does not necessarily lead to success, and whether or not success can only be measured commercially. One of the main characters struggles with mental illness, and in general it was a good story well told.

I always feel graphic novels are quite superficial, which is one reason I tend to avoid them. But I think part of the reason I feel that way is I don’t actually have a real appreciation for the, well, graphic part of it. So much of the subtlety of the story is in the images, and I always race past those to get to the next text. This book is close to 500 pages long, and I finished it in an hour and a half. If I had been “reading” the story carefully, paying as much attention to the images as the text, I think it would have taken me very much longer, and that I would have felt the story had more depth.

I liked it, am glad I read it, and would recommend it if someone wanted to read a graphic novel.

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

ISBN 9781596435735, hardcover, First Second.

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