Why the hell do I adore Scott Pilgrim, anyway? (Part 1)
I ask because Tim O’Neill emphatically doesn’t, and when the guy I consider the smartest blogger I bother to read* dislikes something I love that much, it makes me rethink my position a little.Not that I expect Tim and I have to have the same tastes, or agree on anything at all. He drops Keirkegard references in his posts, I drop WWE references in mine. I think we probably come at everything from a different perspective. Like our views on video games as a legitimate medium, which is apparently part of why he disdains SP to begin with,Â for instance.
But still, it’s hard to write off even his allusions to the shitkicking he gave Brian Lee O’Malley’s mega popular series of graphic novels in the Comics Journal (or, as Paul O’Brien calls it, BasoonÂ Improvisations Monthly). I won’t get in to that sturm und drang, because, well, I liked it better when it was called Fanboy Rampage, and Dick Hyacinth covers it better here anyway, because it went pretty far afield from Tim’s much alluded to review that I was theoretically reacting to. Really, I just wanted to write the words Basoon Improvisations Monthly.
Anyway, Tim doesn’t like SP because he doesn’t view the premise of a comic sturctured like a video game to be a valid concept, and that’s where he and Christopher (or, as I like to think of him, not-ADD from the old Comic Book Galaxy)Â Allen got in to a pissing match. That’s fair enough, I guess, at least from the perspective of “this is why I don’t like this”. Which seems more likeÂ something you’d do in aÂ review than as a piece of serious criticism, but I don’t want to impugn a review I haven’t read, and besides, if I knew my ass from a hole in the ground when it came to serious criticism, I might actually be an honest to goodness published writer now instead of a really lazy blogger Cronin tolerates.
I think the fixation on the video game aspect of the book is a little short sighted, though. The quest structure, as someone in the comments section pointed out, isn’t mutually exclusive to video games. There are a lot of references to games in there (from Scott calling Wallace to ask what the code to Sonic the Hedehog 3 was to him gaining items and experience points after beating one of Ramona’s Evil Ex-Boyfriends), but if the book’s appeal were just in the video game stuff, it would be extremely superficial. That stuff’s just frosting for people like me and the rest of the Nintendo Generation which have embraced this book and, I hate to tell video game hating old people like Tim and Burgas, will soon replace you. I would take my shoe off, hit the table with it, and yell “We will bury you”, but somehow, that seems like a bad omen. What I’m trying to say is, yes, this does appeal (I won’t neccessarily say pander) to the video game fanatics in the audience, but I don’t think the video game connection is the only appeal of the book. I do fervently wish that the book was sold in video game stores, but that’s true of Bendis’s Halo comic, too.
That leaves me wondering what the appeal of the book is, though? Why does it resonate with me so much? Why is it the only comic without men in tights punching each other that I genuinely get excited about upon its release? I’ll have to get back to you on that one, because I have to go look for a job now. And probably play some video games.
*Jog might deserve this title more**, butÂ I consider him merely the wordiest; he may be a genius or not, but there such a volume of verbiage in his longer reviews that I sort of drift in and out after awhile, and he may very well just be speaking gibberish. If he was doing that, I might like him more.
**Jeff Lester may deserve the title, too, I just kind of forgot about him and don’t feel like amending my post.***
***I say smartest blogger I bother to read because I only read about five comics blogs regularly, and so thereÂ are probably smarter comics bloggers out there, like a Gary Groth, or a Heidi Macdonald, orÂ a Stephen Hawking, or maybe Scipo; I just don’t care.****
****Also, I disqualify Paul O’Brien because, as much as I like his work, he did buy every issue of Mutant X and Chuck Austen’s X-Men. While I consider that more a sacrifice for the greater good, so that lapsed X-Men fans like I can keep from even thinking of buying that shit, than a sign of stupidity, it still is a pretty heavy strike against him.