A Year of Cool Comics – Day 83
Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we take a look at the first volume of the Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.
This should be fun – trying to get across the coolness of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s first volume of his Scott Pilgrim series (and, in a way, the coolness of the entire Scott Pilgrim concept) in just a few pages.
First off, the series opens with an introduction to Scott, a 23-year-old slacker and his friends/bandmates, who are teasing him over the fact that he’s dating a high school student…
I think just in these above five pages you get a lot – you see the relationship between Scott and his friends, you meet his amusing roommate, Wallace, you see O’Malley’s clever usage of captioning to further character development and you get to see Scott as he really is – a perhaps naive guy, but also, when it comes down to brass tacks, a good guy.
After awhile, though, Scott begins dreaming of a mystery woman, and one day, he meets her!
Her name is Ramona Flowers.
He begins dating her, even though he’s already dating the aforementioned high school student.
He doesn’t know, however, that he is now going to have to fight all of Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends…
And that’s the basic set-up of Scott Pilgrim.
If you think what you’ve just seen is awesome, then perfect, you can stop reading now.
If, however, you think that the book looks a bit too much like style over substance, then keep reading – you see, I think Scott Pilgrim often suffers from the fact that the book is SO stylized that it might distract some people from the great character work that O’Malley does on the book. Do note that the VAST majority of Scott Pilgrim is just people talking to each other.
The relationship between Scott and Ramona (she is an Amazon.ca delivery girl, Scott orders from Amazon just so that she has to come by his apartment) is rich, and believable. O’Malley has an ear for realistic dialogue, and the interactions between Scott and Knives (the high school girl) and Scott and Ramona are distinct entities, but both of them portray how Scott can be seen as appealing to both ladies, as he is definitely seen differently by each one of them. Likewise, we can understand what Scott sees in each of the girls (Knives represents a safe, almost platonic relationship while Ramona is a real relationship, but a decidedly UNsafe one – in most relationships, you’re dealing with the dangers of your partner’s past – here, Scott is LITERALLY facing the dangers of his partner’s past).
Really, even the over-the-top action sequences often display a goodly amount of characterization, as we learn about Ramona’s first evil ex-boyfriend. It is silly little fight, but there is real depth behind the silliness. Heck, you could really argue that the silliness is there as the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine of the life metaphors go down.
Don’t get me wrong, though, if the Scott Pilgrim series stayed like this throughout the series, it would have gotten stale. Luckily, O’Malley avoids this (particularly with the last two volumes). I’ll likely feature at LEAST Volumes 4 and 5 on the list, maybe 2 and 3, as well.