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Greg finally gets around to reading Scott Pilgrim

Yes, I did.  I have heard so many good things about Bryan Lee O’Malley’s magnum opus that I figured I should read the confounded thing.  I never contributed to the discussions about it, pro or con, because I hadn’t read it (remember when people reserved judgment until they read or saw the thing in question?).  My only thought about it was that it didn’t sound like something I would be interested in, but I didn’t want to opine more than that.  So it was with some trepidation that I approached it, because I wanted to make sure I didn’t allow my pre-conceptions color my reading.  But can we ever do that?

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Well, with regard to Scott Pilgrim, I’d like to tell you a story.  In 1989, I saw Lethal Weapon 2 with a friend of mine.  We were 18 and fairly typical American boys.  The theater, not surprisingly, was packed, mostly with other young men who wanted to see Mel Gibson kick some ass.  And boy howdy, we were not disappointed.  I was totally swept away by the action, and when Mel dropped that cargo carrier on the dude who killed his wife and poor Patsy Kensit (and after she showed us her breasts and all, too!), my friend and I actually stood up and cheered.  It was that kind of kick-ass awesome movie.  You just had to cheer Mel’s totally awesome way of killing the bad guy, even though he, you know, couldn’t hear you.

Well, these days, I still enjoy watching Lethal Weapon 2 (it was on cable a few days ago, and I did watch it), but it doesn’t have the same effect on me.  The Three Stooges thing that Mel, Glover, and Joe Pesci have going on is funny, and the bad guys are nice and evil, but it’s kind of a ridiculous movie, when it comes right down to it.  These days, I think Lethal Weapon 2 is much more suited for my 18-year-old self than my 36-year-old self (damn, I’m going to be 37 in a few months – I feel old).  And I feel the same way about Scott Pilgrim.

Now, keep in mind that I’ve only read volume 1, “Precious Little Life.”  That’s probably important.  Anyway, it’s not that Scott Pilgrim is bad.  It’s mildly entertaining, and O’Malley’s rather kinetic art makes it zip smoothly along.  But.  I can’t imagine anyone over the age of about 23 (which is how old Scott is) liking this any more than as a somewhat pleasant way to spend an hour or so (depending on your reading speed).  I certainly don’t understand the constant stream of praise the series gets.  Maybe the later volumes become much, MUCH better.  This first volume, however, is kind of like Lethal Weapon 2: it’s the kind of thing I probably would have liked 20 years ago but now look back on it and see far too many flaws to really think it’s all that good.

First of all, I should point out that there are a lot of funny lines in this volume.  O’Malley has very nice timing with regard to his layouts and how he sets up jokes.  There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, and the band that precedes Scott’s on stage (Crash and the Boys, with their 8-year-old girl drummer) is awesome.  The humor is somewhat juvenile, but it’s not crude (an important distinction), and it keeps the book afloat when the not-as-good parts threaten to drag it down.  Similarly, Ramona is a fine character, and, as one person halfway through the book puts it, “way too good” for Scott.  Her story about her relationship with Matthew Patel is cleverly done, too, as the art becomes much more sketchy and childlike to reflect the fact that it happened when Ramona was in seventh grade.  It’s just another way that O’Malley shows that he knows how to put together a good-looking comic.

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There’s a lot that’s wrong with the comic, though, and most of it, I imagine, stems from my own personal prejudices (which, of course, are always present in a review, no matter how lofty someone claims they’re being).  The very idea of Scott dating a high-schooler is creepy.  Scott may be presented as unlikeable in this volume so that in later volumes we can witness his personal growth (as I’ve heard happens), but even if he’s just walking around with Knives Chali and occasionally kissing her and nothing further, this plot point is creepy and hard to figure out.  In this volume at least, there’s no reason for Knives to be in high school beyond the fact that it shows how shallow Scott is.  But if he were that shallow, he’d be, if you’ll pardon my language, fucking her.  His relationship with Knives is almost like something from another century, where Scott is courting her while her entire family comes along on dates with them (see: Good Morning Vietnam).  So he’s not being shallow when it comes to Knives, because he’s very respectful of her.  I’m not sure what purpose her high school status serves.  Obviously, O’Malley isn’t going to have Scott nail her, because not only would that be creepy, it would probably be illegal (based on laws here in the glorious United States – those sybaritic Canadians might have a younger age of consent).  So he has to have Scott treat Knives well, which undercuts the idea of Scott being shallow and dating a high-schooler just for the cachet.  Their relationship is so G-rated that it almost doesn’t register, until Scott falls for Ramona and he starts stringing Knives along.  Maybe in future volumes the importance of Knives’ age will become more of a factor, but I didn’t read those, did I?

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Then Ramona shows up, and Scott falls hard for her.  This is when he starts treating Knives kind of dickishly, because she, after seeing his band, gets more into him just as he’s getting into Ramona.  This leads to the band’s gig, where the two girls (hilariously!) show up, and for a few pages, it becomes an episode of Three’s Company.  I’m certainly not faulting O’Malley for writing Scott that way, because he’s an immature jerk, but it’s still a juvenile stunt, and worse, it’s unoriginal.  It’s boring to read about Scott’s troubles with two girls at the same place at the same time, because we’ve seen it before, and it was dumb the first time.  But that’s a minor point.

Where the book really falls apart for me is when Matthew Patel shows up.  This sets up the remaining volumes, presumably, as Ramona tells Scott that he needs to fight her seven evil ex-boyfriends if he wants to date her.  This is why I didn’t think I’d like the book, and I’m kind of disappointed that I wasn’t proven wrong.  The fight between Scott and Matthew Patel is fine, I guess, but let’s look at it logically, if we can: Matthew gives Scott two warnings that they will fight, warnings that Scott ignores.  Then Matthew attacks, and the book turns into a video game.  Well, okay, not literally, but Scott and Matthew fight as if they’re in a video game, and then everyone else joins in, and absolutely no one thinks this is strange.  They take it all in stride.  Plus, Matthew has “mystical powers” and a posse of demon girls.  When Scott defeats him, he turns into coins.  Then, when Ramona tells Scott he has to fight all these evil ex-boyfriends in order to date her, Scott doesn’t ask her “Why?” which is the first question any sane person would ask.  Scott’s 23; he’s not a moron.  But he’s so smitten he doesn’t care.

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People will tell me I’m being too square to appreciate the glory that is Scott Pilgrim.  Maybe I am.  I can suspend disbelief for plenty of things, however, but this pushes it beyond my limits.  First of all, there’s absolutely no indication that Scott and his pals are anything else than normal until Matthew Patel shows up.  Suddenly, they’re all super-fighters with cool moves who can deflect laser blasts with their bare hands.  It’s completely out of the blue, and simply makes no sense whatsoever.  If we’re going to accept that Scott has to fight evil ex-boyfriends (and why does he want to date a girl who only seems to hook up with evil boys?), we have to accept that the characters recognize the oddness of the situation and comment on it.  The bizarre shift to video-game mode is too jarring for me and takes me right out of the story, and I can’t get back into it.  I guess that’s my problem.

I have often said I don’t like video games.  I have never liked video games, partly because of the inanity of doing something for hours and accomplishing nothing tangible.  Yes, you’re involved with the game, which is more than you can say for watching television, but I have never played a game where I felt like I actually did something or learned something or was even entertained, which is where television is better than video games.  Now, of course, I’m just an old fart, so I doubt if I’ll ever get into video games.  But Scott Pilgrim shows another problem with video games – the randomness of it all.  Things just happen for no good reason whatsoever, and we’re supposed to accept it.  Maybe that’s fine in video games, but in relatively inconsequential comic books about a shallow kid who wants to date the interesting newcomer, it’s annoying.  (And yes, I’m completely aware of how much I’m making sweeping generalizations about video games, especially recent ones.  But that’s how I feel about them, whether I’m wrong or not.  If there was a video game called “Writer” and at the end, you had a complete novel about star-crossed lovers set against the turmoil of pre-Revolutionary Cuba, then maybe I’d change my stance.  Anyone recall a game like that?)

I’m conflicted about this comic, because I don’t hate it.  It’s fluff, though, and the love it inspires is baffling.  I can imagine people reading it and saying, “Well, that was pleasant,” but I can’t imagine anyone thinking it’s one of the best comics of the year.  To be fair, the fourth volume, which is the one people are praising, apparently shows Scott “getting it together” a bit more, so perhaps it’s not as minor as this is.  But people praise the whole series, and I just don’t get it.  I have no desire to read further, even if they do get better.

I’m not going to say I’m too old for this, because older people than I love this series.  So, please, explain to me why this is such a great comic book.  I’m not being snotty, I’m actually very puzzled.  It’s fine for what it is, but nothing special.  What am I missing?

(By the way, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life is by Bryan Lee O’Malley, is published by Oni Press, and costs $11.95.  If you’re interested.) 

48 Comments

You pointed out yourself what you were missing so I don’t think anybody can tell you something to make the book anymore enjoyable to you. You don’t appreciate the areas that seem “random” whereas to me it’s part of the charm of the book. I was able to suspend that disbelief (to the point where your review is the first time I ever though about it) you can’t do. No harm, no foul. I’d say read the rest of the series because, like you said, at least its enjoyable. Plus I think O’Malley actually gets BETTER at constructing a comic book (something you already said you felt he was good at) as well as the further growth of Scott as a character.

A couple points:

Scott’s relationship with Knives is extremely shallow, but not for the usual reasons. She is utterly non-threatening, and poses absolutely no emotional risk for Scott. You kind of hit the nail on the head when you say “Their relationship is so G-rated that it almost doesn’t register, until Scott falls for Ramona.”

Things just happen for no good reason whatsoever, and we’re supposed to accept it.

Not too get too philosophical about it, but life is a lot like that.

Really, though, the videogame elements parallel the real-life ones. It’s about a guy who meats a girl, and he has to face the demons in her past. Only it’s literal.

Yeah, I think that’s what I expected when you wrote about not thinking you’d like them way back when. We all have these “receptors” that predispose us to liking or disliking something; or finding something funny or not funny; and in your case they don’t tie into Scott Pilgrim beyond a few jokes.

For me I barely had to suspend disbelief at all for the ending sequence, and when it happened it elevated the book to a new level of fun for me. The logic you’re trying to wring the story through at that point isn’t necessary. They don’t react, because this is part of the world that they live in. Scott doesn’t react to Ramona because he’s a bit of an idiot (and your point about Knives is… a little strange). I don’t like video games either, but I do like stories in which positive, but flawed, characters try to do the best the can in strange situations.

I don’t want to convince you to like the book, and I wouldn’t recommend you continue reading it. I don’t think you’re too square, but everyone I know who’s read it (non-comic readers, non-video games fans) loves it. For me Scott Pilgrim taps into a joy for life (no matter how futile) that relatively few comics, books, movies or TV shows actually reach.

First of all, there’s absolutely no indication that Scott and his pals are anything else than normal until Matthew Patel shows up. Suddenly, they’re all super-fighters with cool moves who can deflect laser blasts with their bare hands. It’s completely out of the blue, and simply makes no sense whatsoever.

That’s exactly what made it so awesome, the fact that it was so absurd and random. That’s exactly what squarely put me in the camp of loving the book.

It sounds to me like the problem you have is a taste one here. It’s a mix of genres that don’t fit together, and should probably never go together, but they do, and it’s funny. You don’t like the mix and find it unrealistic, but of course that is entirely the point. It’s not realistic. It’s strange and absurd, and it’s done for laughs and for fun. Trying to read realism into a book that is patently unrealistic is kind of unfair and doesn’t properly criticize it. To some degree, it’s like the characters live in a video game, and so they accept that sometimes they have to fight people who turn into change. Of course that’s absurd, which is why it makes me laugh. Saying you don’t like Scott Pilgrim because characters fight crazy magical battles would be like saying you don’t like a superhero book because everyone wears spandex instead of regular clothes. It’s taste, and that doesn’t address whether the book does what it does well or not. If you simply didn’t enjoy it, you are well within your rights, but judge it on its own merits rather than your preconceptions.

It sounds like you’ve already listed the reasons you don’t get it.

It’s kind of like an “in” joke where you don’t know the references, so it won’t be funny. You just don’t have the experiences or references to get it.

People (like me) see the charactures and know people just like them, and that’s amusing, and an “in” to the joke.

You can buy into a world with flying alien/humans dressed in spandex, but you don’t get a world where a dude has to fight 7 evil exes that turn into pocket change when defeated?

Wow, the plot summary of the first volume has pretty much convinced me not to read this book.

Next couple of volumed do get better in a craft sense. But you pretty much know exactly what you’re gonna get… If you’ve read the first one nothing in the next three will surprise you.

I didn’t dig it so much either, (although I’d probably “recommended” it, rather than not”)O) and I think maybe it’s a “cute” thing.

The whole book is just so. Goddamn. Precious. And I can read Owly or Yotsuba all day long and be happy as a pig ‘n poop. So if you exceed MY tolerance for cutesy, I think there’s a problem.

And then there’s the whole “Naming your book after a Smashing Pumpkins” album thing…..

But mostly I think O’ Malley’s a fine cartoonist who I’d think has the capacity to do more than seven volumes of entertaining fluff.

I was just having this discussion with some people who had the same issues (one of whom was well-under 25, if that’ll help the feelings of old-farted-ness. I say this as someone bumping their head against thirty soon.), so let me see if I can offer something useful.

The relationship with Knives seems important because Scott wants something simple, g-rated, non-threatening because he’s been recovering from a bad relationship (which is, indeed, something we learn all about in vol. 3). Her age is key because she’s lived a rather culturally sheltered life so far and is still a “kid”. Scott’s desire to have Knives as she is, talking about yearbook and holding hands, is the ironic catalyst for her first tentative steps into a bigger world.

I think Knives evolution as a person is one of the big draws of later volumes.

The video game thing: this is tough because this is the first volume, later it becomes way more pronounced, but as an insecure, mallable reader, the way the supporting character just accept the fight scene as it happens influenced my reaction to it. They’re all aware of it, it isn’t their fault I as the reader am not. Also, as I’ve pointed out to others, this is a plot predicated on a delivery girl roller blading, in Canada, through the hyperspace highway that goes through Scott’s head. Crash & the Boys’ performance also would seem to be playing with the reality level just before Patel’s entrance.

I think what this books gets so much praise for is that it, like the Flight anthologies, has really incorporated manga influences and digested them and gone forward from there. It’s like punk and post-punk.

Plus, it’s FUN. The epic elevation of a small plot? Absolutely. It’s Pop, yes, but well-done pop, in my opinion, with a fun and energy that well-done indie comics often lack. (I respect Chris Ware, but does the quest for comics respectibility mean draining all easy joy in the medium?)

That said, the Patel fight is a something you either like or don’t. I find that the book also works if you’re a video game fan and have that nostalgia to work from, as well.

Finally, you might just peek through vol. 4 some time to see how far O’Malley’s evolution as an artist has come. The advancement in inking is amazing.

Well, that’s my two cents. Thanks for the time.

People will tell me I’m being too square to appreciate the glory that is Scott Pilgrim. Maybe I am.

Yeah, pretty much.

Maybe I’ve got lower expectations than you, but a few laugh out loud moments and being generally entertaining is about the best I expect from any medium. Combining that with good characters and wackiness puts it over the top for me. It’s not going to win the Nobel Prize, it’s just good comics.

We don’t question the logic of a musical when the characters break out in song and dance, so why should we question the logic of a comic where the indie kids in Canada shift into video game mode? It’s the world of this series. It’s the given. And it’s pretty damn cute and awesome at the same time. It’s supposed to be fun and funny, not logical (and we did get hints that this was some kind of magical world earlier in the story when we learn that Ramona can Rollerblade between dreams or dimensions or whatever).

I really love the Bollywood ending of that first volume, and everyone in the room joining the dancing and fighting makes perfect sense in a Bollywood parody.

Just read it myself and mostly agree with you, Greg. Once the random, superpower fight scene happened at the end, I knew exactly why other people liked it and simultaneously found out it probably wasn’t for me. And I usually enjoy random, cutesy, silly stuff.

It could be a generational thing. I’m just a few years younger than Greg and all the collegey, relationshipy stuff just feels too juvenile for me. I am getting one more volume out of the library to see it strikes me any differently though.

Yeah. i don’t like video games, am… cripes, nearly 37, and LOOOVE Scott Pilgrim. So does the even-more-square and video game hating wife.

LOOOOOOVE. TRUE love.

No offense, but I felt like this review was too defensive. It spent too much time trying to fend off arguements others would make upon reading it, reiterating that you ahdn’t read the later volumes, quoting what fans have told you, explaining away why you didn’t like it. You don’t need to defend not liking something. Some people like a thing, some don’t. That simple.

That being said, it does make me wonder what the point of writing it was. It’s not a new book, and as you know, it’s all ready very popular. Most people who are interested in reading comic reviews have already heard about it. You know you’re not going to change the mind of anyone who does like it. The ending indicates that you wrote to see if people could explain why they liked it so much, but you’d just spent the entire article explaining why you DIDN’T like it, so… it all seems clear. It is what it is, and some people really dig it, while you do not.

I guess, though, that the same could be said about the blog entry, so… I guess no point in me complaining. ^_^

You know this was my initial reaction to Scott Pilgrim but I ended up getting hooked by the time Volume 2 came out. I mean Greg makes valid points the fight scene comes out of nowhere (which some people appreciate) and Scott is a very shallow protagnist (but he does grow on you) but after reading volume 2 I really got into the characters, humor and energy of the books.

It is fluff though. I mean it’s basically a twenty something Archie with kung fu but that can still be pretty entertaining.

I haven’t read it, but was intrigued by the overwhelming praise the title has long received.

Thanks for being a dissenting voice.

1. Scott never kisses Knives, she kisses him and it freaks him out. This is important. Scott is “dating” a high school girl simply because he is obsessed with the idea of high school as a safe, sheltered past. He is reliving what he thinks are the safe days of adolescence through Knives and as soon as it turns into a real relationship he panics and tries to escape. He is not “nailing” Knives because he’s really not interested in her. He’s using her for what she represents. That’s what REALLY makes him shallow. Ramona represents Scott being able to move beyond his recent problems (which come to light in volumes 2 and 3) and this idealization of adolescence and become an adult.

2. There’s no nice way to say it. You really are a square. You’re going to just have to accept that your opinion on video games is fundamentally flawed. Its not like you have to like or play them or anything. Just that its outmoded and based on false pretenses. You’ve never gotten anything out of playing a video game =/= no one can ever get anything out of playing a video game. And they’re only “random” if you’re not aware of the archetypes and icons at play. Super hero comics appear random if you’re not already versed in terragin mists, Galactus and cosmic cubes. Heck, any genre or subject is going to appear random and alien to an outsider.

Ask yourself this. Would you be bothered by the crazy music battle and magical quest for Ramona if you didn’t know it was related to video games? Does the presence of any magical realism that the characters accept as normal bother you, or are you simply galled at the idea that a writer would use those damn television games that you don’t like and don’t understand as a form of symbolism?

Am I surprised that a 30-something year old wasn’t blown away with Scott Pilgrim? No, not really. Its not written for you. Its for a different generation facing different problems. The older people who “get” it are probably simply able to move past (or identify) the video game archetypes and identify with the idea of a young man unable to make that difficult post-college step into adulthood.

Thanks for chiming in, everyone, even the people who didn’t like the post. For the record, I have always thought musicals were a bit ridiculous, for the same reason I didn’t like the fight. And superhero comics are similar, but I would argue that at least in superhero comics, the characters are aware of the goofiness of the genre, and when something strange happens in a superhero drama (like the hero discovers he has powers for the first time), he comments on how bizarre it is. That didn’t happen here.

A few people have made some interesting arguments about why this is deeper than a cute comic, and I appreciate that. Again, I have absolutely no problem with anyone liking this, because it’s charming. But I couldn’t understand why it was getting so much praise. Some of the comments were helpful in that regard. So, thanks.

I apologize for being such a square. :)

Greg, you review reminds me of a discussion I’ve had a million times.
I dislike Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Everyone around me loves it. People tell me I SHOULD love it; the humour is aimed directly at peopel like me. But I hate it. Not only do I hate it, I hate it specifically BECAUSE the humour is aimed at me. It’s too cutesie; it tries too hard; etc… Most importantly, I find it annoying.
So, should I discuss how flawed I feel the series is? Well, no. For starters, I’ve never seen more than a dozen episodes. More importantly… what would it prove? I acknowledge I dislike the show. The majority disagrees with me. The only thing a long analysis explainnig the flaws of the show would do is a) demonstrate I don’t “get” it, and b) validate the small number of people who agree with me.
But really, who cares? Let the Buffy fans enjoy it, and I’ll be satisfied with the knowledge that it’s not for me, and shrug off other’s bafflement.
(That being said, this isn’t an attack: you review comics, and this is a comic for you to review. I think you may have been better off with a simple “not for me”, though.)

Scott Pilgrim is the comic book equivalent of the movie Juno: it’s so totally in love with itself and its depiction of a bunch of self-satisfied hipsters whose dialogue is nothing but clever quips about how awesome they are. I wouldn’t want to spend a minute in the presence of the cast of either work, so I can’t believe I actually spent 30 minutes reading the first volume of SP and sat through the entire movie of Juno.

And for the record, I’m 24, have been playing videogames for 2 decades, and I still hated the videogame references. I have no nostalgia for the 8-bit era of gaming, mostly because those games were almost universally terrible.

“Thanks for chiming in, everyone, even the people who didn’t like the post. For the record, I have always thought musicals were a bit ridiculous, for the same reason I didn’t like the fight. And superhero comics are similar, but I would argue that at least in superhero comics, the characters are aware of the goofiness of the genre, and when something strange happens in a superhero drama (like the hero discovers he has powers for the first time), he comments on how bizarre it is. That didn’t happen here.”

A few people have made some interesting arguments about why this is deeper than a cute comic, and I appreciate that. Again, I have absolutely no problem with anyone liking this, because it’s charming. But I couldn’t understand why it was getting so much praise. Some of the comments were helpful in that regard. So, thanks.”

Well one thing musicals and superhero fiction in general setup the ground rules early on. There really isn’t much that setups the insanity that happens at the end of Scott Pilgrim #1. Which was a major turn off for me when I first read it. Sometimes this sort of thing works but it felt very off putting at the time. But then again it sets up the insanity that occurs through out the series of books. He gets the balance right in Volume 2 and the series has been enjoyable ever since. I always suggest reading the first two books together. 1 sets up the characters and the universe. 2 gets the tone right. I mean ideally volume 1 would have done this but I’d say the series gets better as it progresses and the characters have grown in interesting ways (especially Scott). And Volume 4 was the strongest book yet.

That said it ISN’T a comic for everyone. The pacing, characters and story have their own little idiosyncrasies that are going turn people off as it turns people on. it breaks a lot of storytelling rules (or the creator is still trying to learn them) but gets by on a lot of charm, which is a very rare thing in comics. It’s never going to be deep as Daniel Clowes or Adrian Tomine. But I do think it’s a nice alternative from standard superhero, horror or action adventure books we see. I always thought Scott Pilgrim was the perfect gateway comic for the person who isn’t quite ready to make that leap from Manga and superheros to Optic Nerve.

And I agree with Mark Andrew in that I want to see what O’Malley does post Scott Pilgrim. I feel like this is just practice for something bigger. Maybe not Blankets or Jim Corrigan good but I think the guy has potential for something interesting.

Your reaction was similar to mine- I thought it was cute & funny, but nothing in the book made me want to rush out and read part 2.

I heard about it, and at first, I was like, “It’s about a guy who wants to date this girl, but first he has to fight her seven ex-boyfriends, and they all have super-powers? That sounds kind of funny.”

Then I heard about it in a bit more detail, and I was like, “It’s about a guy who’s already dating someone, and he strings her along while trying to get with another girl, but first he has to fight her seven ex-boyfriends? That sounds like everyone in the comic is an unsympathetic prick, and if it’s being presented as a wacky comedy, then I must be fundamentally out of tune with the writer’s logic, because I would want to see Scott Pilgrim lose, lose badly, wind up in the hospital, and die.”

The story of Why I Have Never Read Scott Pilgrim, in two paragraphs. :)

I’m with you, Greg. Twenty years ago I would have reacted to the awkward pacing of Scott Pilgrim with “Ha ha ha, that’s so crazy!” Now I see it and say, “That was jarring and annoying.” I’ve decided over the years that being random is different from being funny.

But my biggest problem with Scott Pilgrim is that I find the characters to be completely unpleasant. They lack even interesting personalities to make me interested in how they are unpleasant. Perhaps if I haven’t seen hundreds of people before this book try to pass off being a complete loser as “being cool” I might have been taken in by their dead end lives.

I really don’t get why so many people want to take the premise of what is clearly a comedy so seriously, then condemn the comedic characters for not behaving in normal ways. Seems like the same kind of person who would dislike Seinfeld because the characters are shallow and bad at relationships.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 10, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Then Matthew attacks, and the book turns into a video game.

Actually, it turns into a Bollywood musical.

And then there’s the whole “Naming your book after a Smashing Pumpkins” album thing…..

I think that was a comment on the fact it was Scott dealing with misery from his past.
(O’Malley has made fun of people in interviews for still saying that the Smashing Pumpkins are their favourite band ever, as he thinks they are a band you grow out of. So either that’s why he named the volume about dealing with an ex that, or he’s a hypocrite I guess).

It’s never going to be deep as Daniel Clowes or Adrian Tomine.

Thank christ for that!

Then I heard about it in a bit more detail, and I was like, “It’s about a guy who’s already dating someone, and he strings her along while trying to get with another girl, but first he has to fight her seven ex-boyfriends? That sounds like everyone in the comic is an unsympathetic prick, and if it’s being presented as a wacky comedy, then I must be fundamentally out of tune with the writer’s logic, because I would want to see Scott Pilgrim lose, lose badly, wind up in the hospital, and die.”

That’s not really what it’s about at all John, and in fact, that plots dropped early into the second volume.
(Of course, the jilted girlfriend goes for revenge and comedy ensures… either way, it’s nothing at all like you describe it).

(O’Malley has made fun of people in interviews for still saying that the Smashing Pumpkins are their favourite band ever, as he thinks they are a band you grow out of. So either that’s why he named the volume about dealing with an ex that, or he’s a hypocrite I guess).

Ok. That might absolve him some.

At least enough that the Neko Case reference makes up for it.

It’s “Knives Chau,” BTW, not “Chali.” (The “flick” problem strikes again, this time in reverse…”)

Seavey-

I would want to see Scott Pilgrim lose, lose badly, wind up in the hospital, and die

Sounds like you got some issues to work out, there, John. You shouldn’t take a fictional character’s behavior so personally.

Burgas-

remember when people reserved judgment until they read or saw the thing in question?

Nope. That’s never been the case. It’s just that the internet made it easier for people to voice ignorant opinions where everybody could hear them.

You know what’s weird? I loathe Buffy for the reasons Stephane mentions, and the few clips of Juno I’ve seen have kept me away from the movie for the exact same reason Dave mentions, yet I never made the connection that Scott Pilgrim may fall into that same annoying genre of self-satisfied geeky cutesy talk/humor. Somehow that connection escaped me the first time around. I’m going to reread it with that in mind sometime and see if my favorable opinion lessens at all. Overall I don’t think it will. I think O’Malley is actually mocking how in love with themselves and cutesy every one is. Could be wrong though.

Dave’s assesment of Juno is fundamentally flawed for one major reason. There is no “bunch of hipsters” in the movie. Juno herself is a bit of a hipster-type, but that’s the extent of it. The other characters in the movie are middle-class suburban white mainstreamers, including Juno’s best friend.

I didn’t like the movie, either, but there are many other, more valid reasons to fault it.

Doug: Shoot, you’re right. I think the only time he mentions her last name is on the third page, when he’s telling his friends about her. It’s obviously a “u” when I look at it now, but it could also be an “li.” “Chau” makes more sense, of course.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 10, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Doug: Shoot, you’re right. I think the only time he mentions her last name is on the third page, when he’s telling his friends about her. It’s obviously a “u” when I look at it now, but it could also be an “li.” “Chau” makes more sense, of course.

Nah, her full name gets mentioned all the time (as well as her age).
It’s just your old man-ness showing through again.
Give it a re-read with a warm blanket around your legs, and a water bottle at your feet and you’ll probably find it a lot more enjoyable.

Scott Pilgrim is like a welcome break for everybody who reads Adrian Tomine and Jeffrey Brown (who are excellent, but everything bad always happens and everybody is a jerk).

I read an interview somewhere with O’Malley that the idea was just, his and his friends lives, but elevated to an entertaining ridiculous level instead of a boring mundane existence.

Which about sums it up for me.

Legal age of consent in Canada is 14

@Joffe:

Am I surprised that a 30-something year old wasn’t blown away with Scott Pilgrim? No, not really. Its not written for you. Its for a different generation facing different problems.

I don’t know how true this is. I’m smack-dab in the middle of being 34 and the River City Ransom allusion he makes in the flashback opener for Vol. 2 recalls a game that came out my freshman year of highschool. Actually, pretty much everything in the books made sense to me and even recalled my own sense of the zeitgeist of the mid-’90s when I was Scott’s age.

I’m late to this discussion, but I fall into the “Greg is too old” camp. ;-) Actually, I could argue various character points and whatnot, but others have done so already, so I’ll just say that I really like the series, and I was about 24 when the first volume came out, so I’m right in the target age group. I find the book hilarious, and I love the bizarre world; maybe it came as a shock to Greg, but it seemed like there were weird video game elements to the series before that musical/video game ending to the first volume. The references get even heavier later on, and I think a good part of the humor comes from the juxtaposition of that sort of unreality with the mundanity of the cast’s lives.

So, I dunno, maybe it’s just a matter of taste, and a bit of a generational thing. My wife, who isn’t really a comics fan but occasionally reads stuff that I foist upon her, also loves the series, so take that as you will. Also, I know Greg’s exaggerating a bit, but I would disagree with his putdown of video games. I think they’re just as valid a storytelling medium as anything else, and they have the ability to add an interesting level of interaction to the proceedings. Sure, not every game tries to do so (sports games, for instance), but the ones I like can make for a fascinating experience. Plus, they’re fun.

I’d rather chew broken glass than read Scott Pilgrim again.

Agree 100% with you, Greg. Nothing in the Scott Pilgrim books is above “eh, s’ok” level. Mildly entertaining at points, eminently forgettable.

Owly would so kick Scott Pilgrim’s arse, btw.

Scott would so date the crap out of Owly if Owly were young enough. So there.

Scott’s 23; he’s not a moron.

One does not imply the other. As someone who’s nearly 23, I can tell you that most of my peers are definitely morons.

Thats true dane, but keep in mind that Scott wasn’t your age when those games came out. Scott is constantly playing games that came out when he was in elementary school. This adds to the “trapped in the idealized and safe past” motif the book has going.

Although I should say that you’re right that I gauged the age thing too low. I should have said “am I surprised a nearly 40-year old wasn’t blown away by Scott Pilgrim”. I’m just a young scamp who has no respect for his elders.

Apodaca said:

“Sounds like you got some issues to work out, there, John. You shouldn’t take a fictional character’s behavior so personally.”

You’re right. I see now that advocating fictional violence against a fictional character is deeply, truly wrong. I feel every bit as bad as I did when the vet couldn’t save my virtual pet.

Wow. Lots of anger here. Is this really something that can get people so worked up? I loved it, but I don’t feel like getting all, ‘up-in-arms’ against the people that don’t.

It sounds like you’re too old for this movie. No long arguments here as they are not needed. :|

“I can suspend disbelief for plenty of things, however, but this pushes it beyond my limits. First of all, there’s absolutely no indication that Scott and his pals are anything else than normal until Matthew Patel shows up. Suddenly, they’re all super-fighters with cool moves who can deflect laser blasts with their bare hands. It’s completely out of the blue, and simply makes no sense whatsoever.”

THANK you!

Really, the first one was the most unexciting one of all of them!
You should read all of them. The last three are particularly epic and I’m not ashamed to say that I was secretly happy about the ending!

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