The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Scott McCloud has been mentioned a few times on this blog and I'm a fan of his scholarly discussion of comics and visual communication techniques.

The Sculptor is a graphic novel by McCloud that was published last year but it's taken me a while to get to it. It's a great story and I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just mention a couple of impressions.

It's beaut to read a story by McCloud after reading his non-fiction graphic novels and seeing how he utilises many of the ideas discussed in them.

As the narrative comes to a head (sorry but I couldn't resist the pun), there's this image of a man falling. It immediately brought to mind the falling man photo from 11 September 2001 by Richard Drew.

This powerful image appeared on the front pages of newspapers the following day and was controversial for being impactful. I've seen artworks that reference it, including Untitled #8, 2004 by Josh Azzarella -- which was the subject of a Disquiet Junto activity where I created the soundtrack in the video below.

I would be surprised if McCloud weren't referencing it in The Sculptor but, who knows, maybe it was a subconscious decision. The result is powerful though, as I found myself crying though the story of the graphic novel makes no reference to the watershed attack on the Twin Towers in New York.

Another possible reference is the similarity between the character of Uncle Henry and comic book writer Stan Lee. Again, maybe it's a subconscious choice by McCloud or just fanciful on my part.

In the text at the end of the graphic novel, McCloud draws comparisons between himself and the hero of the story, David. He details the significance of the name of the love interest, Meg, but I like to think that McCloud chose a notable figure like Stan Lee to be a mentor-like figure for David as a reference to the influence that Lee has had on comics or possibly McCloud himself.

And, while writing this, I've just googled to see if this was mentioned elsewhere and found I'm not the only one to see Lee:
It’s no coincidence that Great Uncle Harry bears a striking resemblance to former Marvel Comics impresario Stan Lee. Or that Death-as-Harry(-as-Stan-Lee) shows up to seal the deal with the young artist just after he plunges his hands into a block of granite, realizing for the first time his scope and potential.

P.S. Asked Scott on Twitter and he didn't think the 'falling man' reference was intentional.