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

Rebuilding Future Rubble: A Review of DMZ

dmzbanner

I first started reading DMZ almost seven years ago, early into my second year of university. I had, at the time, just recently started reading comics after nearly a decade-long hiatus and I found myself, an English & Creative Writing major, trying to get my hands on anything and everything I could absorb and dissect.  The Iraq War was still relatively fresh, Barack Obama had yet to make Presidential history, we were post 9/11 but pre financial crisis and here was DMZ – a fresh series that came along with a tragic and terrible vision of a future not so different than the present we were living. And that was frightening: Continue reading

Always Keep Your Dizzy Eyes Forward: A Review of Let the Great World Spin

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It is an odd, sheltered and commonly nascent thought when considering how many people we are tangentially connected to throughout every waking day that we will never discover, meet or know.  But they’re far closer to us than we imagine. That’s what Let the Great World Spin is all about, in my eyes: the people we affect or those who affect us without either ever knowing full-well what is occurring.

McCann’s National Book Award-winning novel is set up by the real life August 7, 1974 “artistic crime of the century”, when Philippe Petit walked a high-wire between the World Trade Center Twin towers. This is the main backdrop in front of which stands the rest of the events in the story, featuring a dozen or so characters and how their lives are interwoven, spliced, juxtaposed and paralleled in and around the great city of New York. But it’s really only a novel insofar as a dozen random people in an elevator are a novel. 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

‘Derek’ Series One Ends Poignantly, with Laughs & Tears

Image from telegraph.co.uk

Image from telegraph.co.uk

It’s no surprise to those who know me that I frequently incorporate movie and television quotes into my everyday speaking vernacular. Stuff from the Simpsons and Seinfeld is generally always well received, but sometimes it can backfire. Admittedly, this can be annoying when you get me and my friends Devin and Greg together because we just go off on large tangents, acting out partial or full scenes from shows. Generally, 95% of the time, these shows are the Office and Extras. Ricky Gervais is a favourite of ours and his works have some of the funniest, most-awkward and downright best quotable scenes in modern comedy. His new show, Derek, is joining the huddle.

While not as cringe-worthy as Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s the Office, or as outlandish as their Extras, Derek is as heart-wrenching as the two combined. That is to say, the Office and Extras both have very grounding and poignant moments in their series’, but Derek reaches a whole new level for Gervais.

I don’t really enjoy the process of reviews that divulge into long-winded diatribes or gushing praise, so for the sake of keeping this short I’ll just sum it up in one sentence: Derek is a typical Gervais-style comedy about life. It’s funny, quotable, passionate, has loveable and detestable characters, but more than all it is a show that makes you think about what’s important to you. Series one just finished yesterday (March 6, 2013) with a very tear-inducing finale, but has already been renewed for a second series.