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CSBG Archive

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.
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Enjoy!

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.

25 Comments

I just like seeing all the places in Toronto. Yeah, I’m a homer like that.

I discovered O’Malley’s fantastic series just recently, when it was discussed all over those ‘Best Of Last Decade’-Featurettes, and I so learned to love it. His dialogue is pure esprit, and after getting accustomed to his line his drawings are always spot-on. Great storyteller he is. And still so young, so young…

An excellent read. One of the comic series I pass around to friends the most. I was very pleased to here that the final book would be released before the film.

Wallace Wells is hilarious!

An excellent series. Seeing the growth of O’Malley’s art and storytelling is just as satisfying as the story itself. Highly recommended read.

The awesomeness of this series makes the movie miscasting with one-note, zero-range boring Michael Cera that much worse. I wish the creators went with the most suitable actor rather than the biggest current name with “geek cred.” I’m going to have to torrent the movie as a result.

@T. That’s a pretty quick snap judgement considering we’ve not seen so much as a trailer from the movie yet. I have a lot of faith in Edgar Wright to do well with that material.

And FWIW, I think Volume 1 is the worst of the series…it’s good, but the series REALLY improves with each volume. 3&4 are particularly guffaw-worthy.

I FINALLY started reading these just last year and fell in love and devoured them so quickly. Personally, I’m in it for the characterizations and ‘slice of life’ aspect, I could care less about the ‘fighting the evil ex-boyfriends’ stuff. But it’s a great fun series. I’m hesitant about the movie…as I am with everything I love in its original form.

Great pick Brian.

@T. That’s a pretty quick snap judgement considering we’ve not seen so much as a trailer from the movie yet. I have a lot of faith in Edgar Wright to do well with that material.

Given that I’ve had years of looking at Michael Cera’s face and physique in TV and acting roles and years of seeing him express a grand total of 1.5 facial expressions, 1 emotion and 0 voice fluctuations in his acting career, I wouldn’t call it a snap judgment. I’ve had quite a while to form my opinion of Michael Cera. He doesn’t look right for the role, and his deadpan awkward nerd act, the only personality he can pull off, is wrong for Scott Pilgrim too.

Trailer’s out.

I just watched the trailer and that guy (he’s the guy from Juno right?) doesn’t look or sound anything like 23 (which probably means he is I know)

@DanCJ He’s close–at least according to IMDB, he’s like 21 years 10 months. Close enough, certainly.

@T So if you really don’t think the movie is going to be good, why steal the movie? Why not just not see it? “The food at Red Lobster is terrible, so after I eat there I run out on the check.”

I think the movie may be good outside of Michael Cera, plus I really, really love the book. Although I know there’s no chance of Cera pleasantly surprising me, if the rest of the movie makes up for Michael Cera after I torrent it then I’ll pay money to see it in the theater.

Jumping on the bandwagon, having just watched the trailer.

Ironically the element I am the least enamored of in the books (the actual fighting) looks to be the thing that will make the movie very watchable. The action in that trailer looks like a really great adaptation of the “feel” of the fighting in the book.

I agree that Cera is not a perfect cast, but I can’t think of anyone that could really do Scott Pilgrim justice on film…and since I like Cera and find him generally hilarious I can’t fault the directors/producers/etc. for going with a name that already has a following.

That trailer was stunningly terrible.

so. great. the only thing I hate worse than waiting for a new installment is finishing reading it. just so much to like abt SP – dialogue, drawing, depth, uniqueness… and it just gets better and better, almost by the page (tho my fave is still the one with envy adams). plus, toronto ftw.

There’s gonna be a movie? hm. why again?

How trippy is it that I did this bit RIGHT BEFORE the trailer came out (and I didn’t know it was coming out today)?

Just saw the trailer. Wow. Cera REALLY needs some acting lessons. Just like I feared, he plays the role just like he plays EVERYTHING. He makes Keanu Reeves look like he has the range of Paul Newman.

The movie looks true to the comics, mostly. I hope the talky parts work.

After being underwhelmed by vol. 1, but reading here and lsewhere that the series got better, I broke down and bought vols. 2-5. It definitely improves as Scott grows. I’m now eagerly anticipating the next installment.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 25, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Given that I’ve had years of looking at Michael Cera’s face and physique in TV and acting roles and years of seeing him express a grand total of 1.5 facial expressions, 1 emotion and 0 voice fluctuations in his acting career, I wouldn’t call it a snap judgment.

You should probably check out Arrested Development.

That’s where he made his name, and from that description of his acting, you’ve obviously never seen it.

I can’t wait to see the scene where they make the vegan shepard’s pie ON THE BIG SCREEN! W00T!

Good lord. *shepherd’s*

See, I really wanted to not like this comic. I really didn’t. The concept sounds pretty weak, but then, you put it on here, Brian, and now I’m convinced: this is AWESOME!!!

Love this book to death, can’t wait for volume six. And the trailer was awesome.

Considering that Michael Cera has, without fail, been playing every single role he is given in the past 7 years the exact same way he played George Michael Bluth, I’d argue T.’s description of his “acting” skills is completely accurate.

You should probably check out Arrested Development.

That’s where he made his name, and from that description of his acting, you’ve obviously never seen it.

It was my first exposure to him. Fits the bill of all the rest of his acting, sorry. In fact, it’s the textbook example.

I’m guessing we’ll have to just agree to disagree on this like on the whole “Colbert is nothing but glorified sarcasm” thing.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm

It was my first exposure to him. Fits the bill of all the rest of his acting, sorry. In fact, it’s the textbook example.

I’m guessing we’ll have to just agree to disagree on this like on the whole “Colbert is nothing but glorified sarcasm” thing.

In the spirit of putting it behind us and moving on, I’m willing to agree that I’m right, and you’re wrong!

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