A Slice of Fried Gold

Precious Little Life

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A little over two weeks after Christmas, I believe I've come up with what is my favorite present. One of the things I asked for after getting recommendations from people I talked to about comics and from a lecturer I saw a while back (See my post Understanding Comics) was the series of comics called Scott Pilgrim, created by Bryan Lee O'Malley. They are much more akin to Manga than they are to traditional comic books, but at the same time not similar to them at all. They are digest sized books that follow around the 23 year old Scott Pilgrim in his bizarre journey to date the delightful Ramona Flowers.

How's this for a plot? He meets this girl, but to capture her love he has to defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. Along the way, he's trying to survive his ex-girlfriend (deranged high schooler Knives Chau), melt faces with his band (named Sex Bob-Omb), brave ex-girlfriend related panic attacks (caused by ex-love-of-his-life and honest to god rock star Envy Adams), and continue to live in his one room apartment that he shares with his gay roommate Wallace, with no money or any real prospects. Besides the fact he's pretty much the best fighter in Canada, as he proves in battles against the League of Ramona's Evil Ex-Boyfriends.

The influences of this book range everywhere from Manga, traditional comics (Scott wears a jacket that has a patch he got from Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters), Indie Rock, musical elitists, sitcoms, video games, everything. It can be incredibly touching, real, hilarious, badass, and altogether awesome at any different moment. Scott himself is a strangely likeable guy for someone who is so stuck on himself, and the rest of the supporting cast is absolutely fantastic (especially Sex Bob-Omb drummer and other Scott ex Kimberly Pine). O'Malley's heavily manga influenced art is alternately crisp in a comic strip type of way, while showing the kinetic energy of his aforementioned influences.

I'd recommend this to anyone, besides the fact I know that there is still a lot of skepticism about the comic book medium. Can it really be good, or is the perception of it (kiddy and ridiculous) true? Quick answer, yes and it isn't, respectively. Generally, the comic book medium has gained a lot of respectability (check out Jeff Jensen's article in Entertainment Weekly this week as a bit of mainstream proof) recently, and its because of titles like Scott Pilgrim that it has done this. Have guts? Want to try something new? Pick up Scott Pilgrim. Maybe you'll like it, and if you do, you'll probably love it.


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