Sunday, April 17, 2016

Book Review: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

This graphic novel would make a great opera. The characters include The Lost Artist Boy, The Carefree but Struggling Girl, and, of course, Death Himself. The plot involves a deal the Boy makes with Death so that he gets the power to reshape matter with his bare hands, in exchange for knowing he will die in exactly 200 days. Even that great power isn't enough to result in good art, not without further struggle, and then there's the issue of falling in love with someone when you know you're going to die before the year does. McCloud's characters are excellent and multifaceted. Even Death has his internal motivations. My only quibble is with the setting, or more precisely, the author's exploration of the setting. In other stories like this, NYC becomes a character in itself, but I felt all along like it was just background. (Possibly the author spent less time in NYC than Helprin or Gilliam?) This isn't really about the setting, but it's about the triad of main characters and the power of art and death. In those areas it makes for a unique, affecting story, perfectly paced in the graphic medium.

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