Scott Pilgrim is a slacker, plays bass guitar badly and wears his charm on his sleeve.
Mand it has gone from little-known independent comic, to winning an Eisner Award for Best Humour Publication earlier this year.
After a mere two volumes, the comic also captured the eye of British director Edgar Wright ( Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz); who turned it into a entertaining geek culture masterpiece starring Michael Cera, which bowled over fans when it premiered at the recent San Diego Comic Con. EET Scott Pilgrim. He’s 23, and lives in Toronto, Canada. He plays bass (terribly) in a band called Sex BobOmb (they’re terrible); lives with a gay friend (they sleep in the same bed); and dates a high-school girl named Knives. Oh, and he’s also the best fighter in the province, with a personal best air-juggle of 64 hits.
Then, he meets this other girl, Ramona Flowers, who has multicoloured hair and skates through the subspace highway of Scott’s brain when he is dreaming. They kiss, fall in love, and then he has to defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes before he can officially date her.
With me so far? Well, that’s not all. There are also flaming swords, vegan psychics, skateboarding actors, ninja babes, pirates with mystical powers, crappy indie rock bands and a whole lot of other brilliantly nonsensical ... you know, stuff.
Yup, that’s pretty much the gist of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim books. But wait, there’s more to this Canadian independent comic. Spanning six volumes (namely Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Scott Pilgrim And The Infinite Sadness, Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour),
Unfortunately, opening on the same weekend as The Expendables proved to be an “ex” too far, and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was battered to a pulp as a result (the bad takings in America probably caused its release in Malaysia to be canned as well. As Scott Pilgrim himself would say, “That sucks!”)
Precious little life
It’s a shame that American movie-goers preferred a bunch of ageing, wrinkly action stars over Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, as it was one of the most entertaining and geeky movies of the year, and is surely destined for cult movie status.
Like its movie, the comic book may not have the mainstream appeal of comics from DC or Marvel, but it is one of the best-loved independent comics in recent years, thanks to its manga-styled artwork, smart and witty dialogue and, of course, the mad, chaotic action.
The idea for the comic came from several sources, according to O’Malley during an interview in Los Angeles recently.
Firstly, it is a love letter to his birth city of Toronto. “I left Toronto in 2005, so for the most part I’ve been looking back at Toronto in a very nostalgic way while writing the books,” said O’Malley, who is currently living in Los Angeles.
Secondly, the name “Scott Pilgrim” was actually the title of a song by now defunct Canadian indie band Plumtree. “I loved the band back in my early 20s, and I just wanted to do something that would reflect my love for them.
“Now, 10 years later we have them on a movie soundtrack that is going around the world – so I feel like I’ve paid back my debt to them!” said O’Malley.
“I was also partly inspired by my girlfriend (now wife, fellow comic artist Hope Larson), who told me that she had dated three men named Matt. I thought that was just hilarious! I just thought, maybe that should be a story, especially if they were evil!”
Although he admitted that Scott Pilgrim was a “conscious effort” to make it look like a manga comic, he stops short of actually calling it a “manga”.
“I grew up with American comics, but also discovered Japanese comics in school and have loved them ever since,” he said, citing Ranma 1½ as a big influence. “I’ve seen some people making their own manga comic sets in Japan ... this was my conscious effort to make it look like a manga comic book, but one that reflects my own life and cultural experience more.”
Scott Pilgrim is definitely a huge departure from his previous work, Lost At Sea, Some of the scenes in the movie were lifted directly from the original graphic novel by Brian Lee O’Malley; including the first meeting between Scott Pilgrim and Ramona’s first evil ex, Matthew Patel.