An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

The Sculptor

The Sculptor - Scott McCloud

I read this for one of my summer classes. We had to read and annotate 10 comics/graphic novels. Here's the annotation I wrote for that class:


David Smith gives his life for his art. Literally. In exchange for the ability to sculpt anything with his hands, he is given only 200 days to live.


The artwork in The Sculptor is very cinematic. The most interesting portions are montages with different timelines woven together juxtaposing scenes from David’s present with his past. There are also some interesting uses of speech bubbles. A faded speech bubble represents words barely heard. Speech bubbles are cut off by panel edges to show half heard conversations. A scene is overrun with speech bubbles, simulating the noise of a crowd of people carrying on multiple conversations at once.


While the book looks impressive, the story is not. The characters other than David fall flat. Meg perfectly embodies the trope of a manic pixie dream girl. Other characters are given one or two defining characteristics (rich wannabe artist, underappreciated worker bee, ex-boyfriend with a murdered family), but they are never examined more closely than that. David himself is the most compelling character, but his story about a man searching for purpose and recognition in his art is one that has been told before. Rather than making the idea feel fresh and new, the story simply feels like a retread of old material. 


Certain aspects of the artwork are interesting but the story is not strong enough to deserve an automatic spot in the canon.