Review: The Sculptor

The Sculptor, Scott McCloud


Published February 3rd 2015 by First Second

Hardcover, 496 pages

Source: ARC from Publisher



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.

I have to say to start this was my very first graphic novel.  I admit, I judged what the plot would be based on the cover and I was very wrong – and I am so glad about that. Wow!  Scott McCloud conveys every possible emotion in this book and even more amazing to me it’s all drawn in black and white.  Despair, passion, hope, love- it’s all there!   I cannot draw beyond a stick person so I’m in awe of the story McCloud was able to tell here.  The size seemed intimidating but I flew through the Sculptor in about 3 sittings because I could not wait to see what happened when David’s 200 days were over.

When we meet David he is not a happy person.  He is impulsive and has a history of making poor choices – as evidenced by the deal he makes with Death.  He gets 200 days of life during which he can create anything he wants, but that’s it.  The ways David choses to spend that time are both funny and still sad and I loved watching all of it play out across his face.  I didn’t quite like David in the beginning.  He’s feeling really sorry for himself and he had a few too many rules for his life-but I loved the growth that happened in these pages and my heart hurt a bit to finish this book.

Maybe the dialogue was a bit melodramatic at times, but in the context of the story and David’s time running out I can totally forgive that.   I expected to be entertained by The Sculptor, I did not expect to be moved in the end.  I found the ending so beautiful and hopeful despite my sadness that it was over.

If you want to know more Holly tells me that Scott McCloud was just on the Nerdette podcast so check that out if you’re a podcast person! (I’m still on episode 2 of Serial which will take me 18 months to finish personally)

Thank you First Second for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion!

If this sends me down the graphic novel rabbit hole any recommendations of what to try next?


  1. I’m glad to hear that people liked this, it’s been on my tbr list for a while now. Rec. wise, Glitter Kiss is great, and if you’re into superheroes, Who is AC? is good(it’s not all capes and heroics, like a DC or Marvel comic). Nimona is freaking amazing, it comes out in graphic novel form in May I believe, but in the meantime it’s all online. Hope this helps!

  2. Definitely not middle school! And good question- the cover images I use from goodreads or straight from the publisher’s own catalog, so I assume yes? Probably not a good answer, likely something I should put thought into!

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