Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life volume 1


By Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)
ISBN: 1-9326-6408-4

Ha! I Told You So Dept: a shameless cashing–in reprint moment…

Is it just me, or is all the really cool, really fun and really fresh comic stuff coming out of the alternative/Small Press/creator owned/self-published sector of the comic industry? Like so many others my age I grew up in a time with very few strip publishers, and though I love ‘em dearly still, I’m acutely aware of just how limited a range those mainstream creators were allowed to work within.

I’m simply appalled that in an era of specialist retailers, comic conventions and all the computer age paraphernalia that should keep editors and publishers totally clued in to the appetites of their customer base, the same old stuff is perpetually retooled and recycled whilst everybody and his aunt bemoans the unstoppable decline in comics sales and the inevitable death of the medium.

I have some maxims that might help solve this conundrum. Produce work for your audience, not yourselves. Variety is the spice of life. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Think about the work first, and the Subsidiary Merchandising Rights last. This is an entertainment medium: Your goal should be to make entertainment.

Having got that off my capacious chest, I can whole-heartedly recommend the work of Bryan Lee O’Malley. His Manga-tinted tales of an adorable boy-idol idle slacker, shambling his way through contemporary, if somewhat surreal, life is a gentle stroll through a world that manages to feel warmly nostalgic no matter what age you are or where you grew up. Scott Pilgrim is young, lazy and gorgeous, shares a flat with his cool, gay best mate, plays in a band and has girlfriend hassles. He lives his life from moment to moment and manages to keep a firm grip on both angst and hormones.

Although ostensibly targeting the modern counter-culture of the troubled teen, skate-boarding, new punk generation, there is a wonderfully accessible universality to his problematic existence and his perpetually stop-gap solutions. In terms of content alone this should be considered a mass-market item. And should enough people see this work to make Scott Pilgrim a “bankable” commodity pray that the author keeps some form of creative control, because this is that rarest of comic books. The stories and characters are unbelievably good but the sometimes crude and often over-exuberant drawing is absolutely perfect for this material. Nothing and nobody else could possibly do it justice – and that includes any dream cast any Hollywood producer could possibly drool over.

This is a great comic book. Go buy it now.

I wrote the above in 2006 and now I’m cashing in on the movie. See the film, be amused and amazed but for the Love of Grunge get this book and its five sequels!

™ & © 2004 Bryan Lee O’Malley. All Rights Reserved.

Scott Pilgrim, Vol 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together

Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together

By Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)
ISBN: 978-1-93266-449-2

The always entertaining Bryan Lee O’Malley returns to thrill, chill and astound with the next instalment in his pictorial saga of Scott Pilgrim, the World’s most wonderful waste of space, time and infinite dimensions.

Scott’s a young post-Generation X-er, who’s more or less content to drift through life, but even he has problems he can’t escape, ignore, avoid or sleep through. When he finds himself jobless, homeless, aimless and arguing with the other members of his band that’s one thing, but when he realises that he’s increasingly emotionally dependent on his mysterious girlfriend Ramona Flowers… Something has to change.

It’s not being only halfway through death-duelling with her seven evil ex-boyfriends, or the fact that the girl-he-almost-had is back in town and mixing him up that’s causing the grief. It’s the suspicion that he and Ramona might actually have something real growing which forces the most drastic action yet – getting a job!

This volume includes a full colour 8-page vignette to supplement the incisive black and white cartooning. Surreal, mock-heroic, powerfully addictive graphic narrative informed by video games, anime and manga, this is a warm, funny and superbly well-crafted series that does more to break English-language comics out of its self-built ghetto than any superhero title ever possibly could. If you want a quality read, and would like to see the future of our medium, this should be on your shelf or shopping list.

™ & © 2007 Bryan Lee O’Malley. All Rights Reserved.

Scott Pilgrim Vol 2: vs the World

Scott Pilgrim Vol 2: vs the World 

By Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)
ISBN: 1-9326-6412-2

A second volume of Scott Pilgrim so soon? Ultra-cool. For those of you not in the know, Scott is just this guy who is eking out a generally stress-free existence in modern Toronto, not working, hanging out, sleeping late, and dating two girls. He’s in a band, but they pretty much suck.

Did I say stress-free? Not so much this time as his gay room-mate orders him to sort himself out and dump the under-age girlfriend, Asian-American teen-ninja, Knives Chau, and concentrate on just Ramona Flowers. This latter chick Scott truly loves, and anyway, he’s already sworn to fight all her evil ex-boyfriends, the aptly titled “League of Ramona’s Evil Ex-Boyfriends”.

Of course, love and two-timing is never simple, as Knives decides that she’s not quite ready to be dumped, so she gets a new look and decides to use her ninja powers to battle Ramona. We’re treated to a more vulnerable Scott Pilgrim here as he writes Ramona a thrash love song, is nearly defeated by her second E.E-B. – skate-boarding movie star Lucas Lee – has to cook a meal and even make some decisions!

Tip in a brief look at his awesome origin, and you have a wonderful slice of sheer captivating entertainment, that is by turn, warm, funny, surreal and un-putdownable.

There are an abundance of teen oriented comic books on the stands at the moment, but this is the only one that has managed to co-opt the pulp science-fiction aspiration of instilling a Sense of Wonder into every moment, and this whimsical approach is the perfect antidote to all that angst, testosterone and fashionista marketing.

You really should treat yourself to one of the first classics comic books of the 21st century. Go buy it now.

™ & © 2005 Bryan Lee O’Malley. All Rights Reserved.

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life 

By Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)
ISBN: 1-9326-6408-4

Is it just me, or is all the really cool, really fun and really fresh comic stuff coming out of the alternative/Small Press/creator owned/ self-published sector of the comic industry? Like so many others my age I grew up in a time with very few strip publishers, and though I love ‘em dearly still, I’m acutely aware of just how limited a range those mainstream creators were allowed to work within.

I’m simply appalled that in an era of specialist retailers, comic conventions and all the computer age paraphernalia that should keep editors and publishers totally clued in to the appetites of their customer base, the same old stuff is perpetually retooled and recycled whilst everybody and his aunt bemoans the unstoppable decline in comics sales and the inevitable death of the medium.

I have some maxims that might solve this conundrum. Produce work for your audience, not yourselves. Variety is the spice of life. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Think about the work first, and the Subsidiary Merchandising Rights last. This is an entertainment medium: Your goal should be to make entertainment.

Having got that off my voluminous chest, I can whole-heartedly recommend the work of Bryan Lee O’Malley. His Manga-esque tales of an adorable boy-idol slacker, shambling his way through a contemporary, if somewhat surreal, life is a gentle stroll through a world that manages to feel warmly nostalgic no matter what age you are or where you grew up. Scott Pilgrim is young, lazy and gorgeous, shares a flat with his cool, gay best mate, plays in a band and has girlfriend hassles. He lives his life from moment to moment and manages to keep a firm grip on both angst and hormones.

Although ostensibly targeting the modern counter-culture of the troubled teen, skate-boarding, new punk generation, there is a wonderfully accessible universality to his problematic existence and his perpetually stop-gap solutions. In terms of content alone this should be considered a mass-market item. And should enough people see this work to make Scott Pilgrim a “bankable” commodity pray that the author keeps some form of creative control, because this is that rarest of comic books. The stories and characters are unbelievably good but the sometimes crude and often over-exuberant drawing is absolutely perfect for this material. Nothing and nobody else could possibly do it justice – and that includes any dream cast any Hollywood producer could possibly drool over.

This is a great comic book. Go buy it now.

™ & © 2004 Bryan Lee O’Malley. All Rights Reserved.

Scott Pilgrim Vol 3: Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness

Scott Pilgrim Vol 3 

By Bryan Lee O’Malley

Oni Press

O’Malley’s Manga-styled tales of an adorable boy-idol slacker, shambling his way through a contemporary, if somewhat skewed, life is a gentle stroll through a world that manages to feel warmly nostalgic no matter what age you are or where you grew up. Scott Pilgrim is young, lazy and gorgeous, shares a flat with his cool, gay best mate, plays in a band and has girlfriend hassles. He lives his life from moment to moment and manages to keep a moist grip on both angst and hormones.

The third outing for the world’s most precious slacker sees his life-challenges spiral to unbelievable heights and depths. Ramona, his new girlfriend, has revealed that before they can find eternal happiness – or at least date – Scott must defeat her seven previous boyfriends – who are all Evil and Mighty! The complications keep on abounding as Evil Boyfriend #3 is Todd, who is currently seeing Scott’s ex! To make things worse, she’s in a more famous band than Scott and is determined to make him suffer.

This extraordinary blend of pop and sub-culture, replete with ninjas, bionic chicks, teen rebellion and sheer surreal cartoonery is absolutely irresistible reading for anyone who’s got a brain and a secret desire to try being young just one more time. Funny, compelling and probably addictive, and so entertaining you could probably dance to it. This is another great comic book. Go buy it now, and don’t miss the first two either.

™ & © 2006 Bryan Lee O’Malley. All Rights Reserved.