Making Passion, Making Life – A Review of Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor

Scott McCloud's The Sculptor

Simply incredible.

Whenever a book moves me so thoroughly that it becomes an instant favourite the moment I close the back cover, I am compelled to sit down and write a review to sing its praises. With the Sculptor, I’d initially just sat here speechless, absorbing how remarkable of a read-in-a-single-sitting book it is. But now I know how to explain how positively it affected me.

Ruminate

Ruminate

I was fortunate enough to see Scott McCloud give a keynote address at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in 2015. I don’t attend much public speaking (I should change that) but I can fervently say Scott is one of, if not, the best I’ve ever seen. I can still recall many of the intricacies of his 40-some-odd minutes–how he championed the medium of comics, how it’s changed modern media and how it isn’t just about men in tights–but mostly I want to say I remember walking away that day feeling like I met a man who truly understood passion. Not only that, but a man who helped me understand my own passion better, as well.

Scott talked about the craft, but mostly he talked about what the craft meant: what it could do, how it could do it and where it could take you. There are things in life that are worth devoting yourself to whether or not they get you any farther along in the end, because without them you might not feel the need to make it to the end anyway. The Sculptor is a book that conveys that sentiment, in all the touching, serious, sad, tragic and real ways imaginable.

Life flashing before your eyes.

Life flashing before your eyes.

That is to say, in the only ways that are worth living for.

-B.W. Gladney

Professional

This is a very short story I wrote years and years ago for an assignment in University. I think it was supposed to be a study on crafting a story through dialogue.  It’s nothing special and relatively cliché, but I enjoyed toying with the crime/quasi-hardboiled genre.

Smoke encircled his head like a drunken thought balloon from a comic book as he dabbed away the last surviving ash of his cigarette.  Reemus wasn’t used to it at all, these recent nights.  They left him worn out and lethargic, but obviously that didn’t account for his superiors.  Sitting in the precinct office, it had just skimmed past nine o’clock in the evening and the Detective was staring at the phone.  He was hoping for a ring to interrupt his Lieutenant, who stood over his desk, howling in raspy anger.

“Now hear this Detective: you’d better get your act together quick.  Any more of this shit and it’ll make the papers.  Headlines make me look bad and when I look bad, the city does too.  And when that happens, I’ll be out of a job…then who knows what the Commissioner will do to your sorry ass!”

Reemus smirked sharply.  “Uh huh,” he acknowledged.  He leaned back in his chair and took one long drag from a newly lit cigarette.

Uh huh is right.  Now get down to the West end, there’s another mess to check out.”  The Lieutenant walked away in a flurry. Continue reading

Reflections on Escape, Hiding and Emergence : A Review of The Amazing Aventures of Kavalier & Clay


I’m always reluctant to say things like the following because in a matter of time it is entirely possible that my views will change as I continue to read more and more throughout my life, cherishing any number of novels I come across, but, for the time being: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is tied with Les Misérables as the greatest novel I have ever read.

Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize Winning novel is, since no other word is as wonderfully fitting, a masterpiece.  When I first heard of this book a couple years ago, it was after Continue reading

The Assassination of Jesse James & Other Westerns Without Bullets

I’m a great lover of the western genre and have been ever since I was a young boy.  There’s just something nostalgic yet eternally heartrending about vast open plains or riding off into the sunset.  I think for me it signifies a longing for something that can never be, but you still devote yourself to attaining it.  Last evening I watched The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which has become what I will not hesitate to claim Continue reading