on 5 November 2011
I really like this series of books, its charming, I guess, is the best way of putting it. Every teenager should be issued a copy or something in preparation of how to deal with being twenty something. I think the over all story arc falls a bit flat in the sixth book, but the ride there is more than compensation for a weak ending. A triumph of modern art, even if a few bits of it seem nicked from 'get the freebies' by the bloke that did the gorillas and tank girl.
It's hard to think of a slacker more endearing than Scott Pilgrim -- he's funny, cool, unpretentious, and awkwardly romantic.
And you get to see all of that in "Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life," which adds a rock'n'roll sci-fi twist to the usual boy-meets-girl story. Most of it ambles across the daily adventures of Scott's life as he falls in love, but blossoms at the end into a brilliant Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
23-year-old Scott Pilgrim has everything: a cool rock band, a forgiving gay roommate, and a high school girlfriend (they just talk! Don't worry!). But lately his dreams have been full of a strange young woman on rollerblades, who usually announces that he IS dreaming -- and one day at the library, he actually sees her in the flesh.
Her name is Ramona Flowers, and while Scott's first attempts to talk to her bomb horribly, an order from amazon.ca brings her right to her door (and a date). But as Scott's odd personality charms Ramona, he starts getting messages from a guy who wants to schedule a fight with him. Can the forces of love, friendship and rock'n'roll thwart Matthew Patel and his demon hipster chicks?
When you boil it down, the Scott Pilgrim series is really just a boy-meets-girl story. But "Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life" establishes pretty quickly that Bryan Lee O'Malley has a rare talent for spicing up an ordinary story into a precious little one. Subspace highways, snowstorms, love triangles and rock concerts all come into play.
And O'Malley fills the story with mildly funny dialogue ("You're all over the place." "But I'm so sincere!") and plenty of quirky characters (I wish I had a roommate like Wallace). He has an art style that makes me think of more rounded TV cartoon characters -- everybody looks rather childlike, with large dark eyes, round faces and cute hipster clothes. And everything is rendered in stark black-and-white.
As for Scott... what can you say about him? He's an even mix of of sweet, awkward boy and budding rock god, and he even can do things like date a seventeen-year-old (chastely) without seeming weird. Ramona herself takes a little warming up to, since at first she seems kind of abrasive and dismissive of Scott. But as they get to know each other, she becomes much sweeter to him.
"Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life" is a delightful start to this oddball 21st-century love story, filled with memorable art and quirky characters.
on 29 July 2011
I'm not usually a fan of comic books or graphic novels, not out of prejudice but after having read so many different works and been disappointed by them. I have generally found them to be immature - perhaps because they tend to be aimed at teenage boys - slightly sexist, and usually also over-the-top with grimness.
If you want to read an entirely different graphic novel that shows what the genre can really be, then I recommend the Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O'Malley.
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life is the first graphic novel in a series of six. The main character is, of course, Scott Pilgrim, and the plot centres around his supposed dead-end life, and his willingness to overcome his weaknesses for the love of his life, Ramona Flowers. When we meet him, he is dating a 17 year old girl called Knives Chau, who is slightly obsessed with him ('My name is Knives Chau, and I'm a SCOTTAHOLIC!!') and also his band's biggest groupie. Her character had me in stitches of laughter throughout the book.
I especially like Scott's deadbeat character, as I have met a few 20 year olds a bit like him - thinking that they are old and that there is nothing more to life, in a not-too-serious way, at such a young age - and generally lazy bums ('I wish I could turn into a morphing ball and roll to the bathroom from here, instead of having to get up'). The book really is all about Scott's 'precious' little life.
Scott falls for Ramona at first sight, and they start 'hanging out'. She tells him that she has seven evil exes, who have to be overcome if they are to have a relationship. Each book tackles Scott's battles with these exes, and each ex is a strong stereotype in his own right. I found Scott's battles with them to be hilarious: there is no limit to the sudden action and drama of their encounters as they battle physically, and also immensely entertaining verbal banter ('You headbutted my boyfriend so hard he burst!') There is also occasional commentary about the events and characters from the 'narrator', and there are a lot of quirky occurrences like this throughout the book.
Ramona is an uber cool character (Scott: 'When I'm around you, I kind of feel like I'm on drugs. Not that I do drugs. Unless you do drugs, in which case I do them all the time'), with funky coloured hair, a job delivering post on rollerblades, and a magic handbag which transports us into a non-world representative of her consciousness.. Or something like that! There are a few very endearing geeky things like this in the book, which also pushes it gently into the fantasy genre. The film deserves a separate review, but I will mention here that I thought it captured perfectly the 'video game' nature of the book, where characters score points, collect coins when they triumph, amongst other old-school game references.
Although Scott and Ramona are the main characters, the other people in the book are just as individual and 'real'. We meet Scott's gay roommate Wallace, who is a good friend to him, though their friendship is based on the fact that Wallace is cool, popular, independent, and seems to own everything in the flat, while Scott seems more like his leaching bum of a friend (Wallace: 'If this girl is really the one from your dreams, you have to fight for her, it's your destiny. Plus, I need you to move out'). We also meet Scott's fellow band members, Stephen Stills and Kim Pine. Stephen Stills is another cool character - 'the talent' - who is always referred to by his full name (Knives: 'Do you always refer to him by his full name?' Scott: 'Who, Stephen Stills? Yes'). Kim Pine is Scott's ex girlfriend who is negative and bitter about everything (Kim: 'Scott, if your life had a face, I would punch it. I would punch your life in the face'), but apparently a very good drummer.
One of the biggest letdowns of other graphic novels, in my experience, has been the dialogue. There are some amazing comic book artists out there, but few seem to possess the same skill in the literary field. O'Malley, in my opinion, definitely has both: the speech in Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life is witty, funny, and reads very naturally. I think the way the story is told is very Canadian- although I haven't actually been to Canada!- it gives a very strong sense of this little corner of it.. What I mean is that this book is very clearly not British or American: it has a very specific sense of humour, uses the word 'guy' a lot (instead of, say, 'dude'), and has a very relaxed feel to it- an ease, if you like, which reflects the nature of the 'chilled out' characters.
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life is in black and white print, I think the drawings are excellent. The text VERY easy to read- I whizzed through the first book in less than an hour, and then I HAD to buy the next one- and the one after that! The books are slightly addictive, but they're worth buying as you'll end up reading them again and again, and/or lending them to other people. There is nothing quite like them in the graphic novel scene.
My sixteen year old daughter loves these books, and my eight year old son wanted to read them, because they're 'comics'. Graphic novels however, do not always have content suitable for primary aged kids, so I read the first volume myself to check it out. He's going to have to wait to read it until he's a little older. There is a fair amount of mentioning of sex and the first volume sees Scott attempting to bed Ramona Flowers, the heroine of the piece. It's not graphic by any means, but I'm happy to wait for him to read it in a few years. Personally I thought it was quite a charming book with a lot of sly humour and despite the fact I'm generally not keen on the graphic novel genre, I liked it.
on 2 August 2010
I wasn't all that sure what to expect from this comic, but I am glad to say that it is awesome! Great story, but one that doesn't take itself too seriously and yet manages to convey strong emotion, great humor, surprisingly good art, it is pretty much perfect... A little on the short side mind. It packs a lot in to a 2 hour-ish read. I'd suggest getting all the books in one go and reading a new one each day. Looking forward to the movie and game, but I'm not sure how they're gonna fit all 6 books into 1 movie... Anyway, just buy these books now. :)
P.S. As for the character of Scott himself, Ramona says it best in Volume 2: He's lame, but I like him.
I hate hipsters. Standing around being quirky for the sake of being quirky, behaving in an overly twee manner and trading on empty conversation, superficial gestures, and generally believing being their affected version of cool makes them better than society? Oh... but I will contain my rage for Scott Pilgrim.
You see Scott Pilgrim is the hipster's comic book. Scott is a hipster, all his friends are hipsters, the girl he's started seeing is a hipster. They buy their clothes at Good Will, they're all in bands, they dye their hair, they have names like "Knives Chau" and "Ramona Flowers". And if this were all the book were about, I would vehemently loathe it but it's not. It's a disarmingly funny and original book.
Bryan Lee O'Malley (the name itself feels hipster-ish) weaves computer games, comics, anime and manga, as well as classic humour and clever dialogue into this tale of a boy falling love with a girl. Rather than have Scott meet Ramona's ex-boyfriends, he imagines them "battling" as if they were in Final Fantasy or Street Fighter. The music their rival band plays literally knocks people out for 20 minutes.
The characters speak in the kind of laconic, post-sarcastic style many people employ these days in (what I imagine) would be near-monotone quips. Couple that with Scott's ingénue character and the world-weary friends who are stand-ins for the audience, quickly putting him down, with lots of fantasy sequences thrown in and you've got some excellent comedy in the style of "Spaced" or "30 Rock".
I thought I would hate the book because it was about hipsters but ended up loving it. Scott Pilgrim's originality, freshness, wit, and energy is undeniable and disarmingly charming. I'm now officially a Scott Pilgrim groupie and will read the remaining 5 books forthwith. Damn you O'Malley, you genius!!!
on 15 October 2013
When I first bought this graphic novel I had mixed feelings about it. I've enjoyed comics my whole life but I had never progressed to graphic novels and I had been informed that it was a great place to start. I can't believe it took until I was twenty to find this! Scott Pilgrim is charming and funny and perfect for young adults who are transitioning from teenage years into their twenties. The series follows Scott, who is twenty-three, as he fights his way through Romana Flowers' evil exes whilst living in a one bedroom apartment with his gay roommate, Wallace, and playing bass in an amateur band called Sex Bob Omb. He's where many of us fear to be as we grow up - between jobs with no money - but he's so chill and so sure that he's going to be fine in life that it unconsciously gives you a little boost and a little hope about your own future. As well as that the graphic novel itself is utterly charming and so hilarious in places that I've had to put it down to laugh for a while. I would highly recommend this to anyone and if you're on the edge about buying this, like I was, don't even hesitate. It's such a good price for something so awesome. The quality and humour carry on throughout the series and I've enjoyed every second of reading these and I'll definitely be reading them again.
on 6 November 2010
I must say I thought it was epic. The humour is brilliant, and the whole pace of the book was amazing. Its weird how much of yourself you actually see in Scott, as everyone has friends like his. The epicness of the book is undescribable. All the little game references make it whole, and the evil ex's battle is like a boss battle in every video game.
A great read, my only complaint is that its relatively short. Already ordered volumes 2 and 3.
on 8 March 2011
After seeing the movie last year, I knew I needed to check out these comics... so when I got the chance, I was lucky enough to grab the whole set here on Amazon.uk. To say the least, it was AWESOME.
Being Volume One, it of course focuses mostly on introducing us to the characters and setting up for story to come, and I was glad to find that my irks about the movie were not an issue here.... Namely, the character of Ramona is a lot more likable here, lacking in much of the way of personality in the movie. I know it's strange to continue to compare this to the movie, since the comics came first, so I'll stop now.
The art plays a major part in the series' charm... it's unique in that it's not very professional at all... and I say that in a good way. It's charming, and never feels artificial, like many comics do these days.
So basically, it's a highly original comic, with fantastic characters, charming art and hilarious dialogue. Essentially, it's a winner!
on 2 October 2010
I have to admit (unfortunately) I only got this book due to enjoying the film so much. I've got all of the SP graphic novels, and for me, 1 is by far the best. I picked it up, didn't put it down for two hours, in which time I completed it. This was a very funny, intellegent book, my only wish would be that they should've made the battles against the ex'a longer and more in-depth.
The story sets around a 23 year old slob who lives with a gay friend, and is involved in a band, who gets a 17 year old girlfriend, much to the dismay of his friends, he then starts seeing this girl around, called Ramona Flowers (Great name), and he falls for her. He dosen't know that he'll have to fight her seven evil ex boyfriends, until he gets quite a shock in the first book.
I recommend to all.