The Sculptor

The SculptorSummary: David Smith is giving his life for his art―literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn’t making it any easier!

This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world’s greatest city. It’s about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life…and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work.


The Sculptor, by Scott McLoud 7.5

David is a talented sculptor whose rising star plummeted rapidly two years ago, after ruffling the feathers of some important figures on the art scene. Now unable to sell his creations, he is two weeks away from finding himself on the streets.

He’s desperate.

However, he promised himself that he wouldn’t take any form of charity; he intends on making it on his own. And once he makes a promise, he never sways no matter what. He’s an intense character, no doubt because his family life has been decimated by death.

By chance, he bumps into his great uncle Harry – not knowing that it’s actually Death in disguise. Death gives David the power to sculpt any matter with his bare hands – but he will only have 200 days to use this gift, in exchange for his life.

And he can’t tell anyone.

Or else.

And so he begins work on a new series of sculptures in his apartment, stealing stone and concrete from construction sites and moulding them with his bare hands. Unfortunately, the viewing doesn’t go at all well – the critics and buyers left unimpressed.

One day, he becomes the subject of a live theatre troupe, who perform a piece in which an angel comes down from the sky and tells him everything will be alright. Confused, he believes this apparition to be real and he can’t let go of that moment.

Unfortunately, he eventually winds up on the street, losing his grasp on reality. He is found ranting to himself by Meg, the actress who played the angel. After he blacks out, she takes him back to her place – despite the protests of her roommate.

They become friends, but he immediately latches on to her emotionally. He discovers that Meg struggles with bouts of extremely deep depression and refuses to take meds for it – in spite of her friend Sam’s concerns. She prefers to hang on and push through.

A relationship develops and blossoms between them. Meanwhile, David struggles with his desire to leave a mark and the negative reception he’s getting from critics for his street art. But he decides to continue, counting down the days until his last.

‘Sculptor’ is a story about perseverance, self-actualization, love, priorities and making the most of one’s time here – both from David’s perspective, but also from Meg’s, who has an incredible zest for life every day that she’s not fighting depression.

Frankly, I had a difficult time getting into it initially. I wasn’t riveted, but I was curious to see what would come next. I did like the characters, though, imperfect though they may be: their motivations and behaviours felt real, very human.

The art is pretty good, however; McLoud certainly has a great eye for detail and proportions and I like the way he presented the work. He definitely has a flair for visual storytelling. To think that he produced all of this massive work by himself.

Because, fittingly, ‘Sculptor’ is a massive brick, clocking just short of 500 pages. Those who enjoy it will have a lot to savour in this romantic fantasy. Others, however, may find it a bit daunting. Personally, I’m glad that I pushed through.

It was well worth it.

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