Scott Pilgrim – Brian Lee O’Malley

Second on my batch of ‘first’ graphic novels is the Scott Pilgrim series. For the sake of this post, I have lumped all six books in together; partly because they are all actually one story and partly because – as referenced in my previous post – they took me about thirty seconds each to read.

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#fastreaderproblems

So I haven’t seen the movie, which means I got to read this series with absolutely no preconceptions whatsoever – I love when that happens! The basic premise is that the eponymous main character meets a girl, and in order to date her, he must fight her seven evil exes. There’s one ex per book (with one exception), and there you have it – a neat structure! Here are my impressions:

  1. I love the video game elements

There are a couple of features of the SP universe which are straight out of video games. I don’t want to spoil the surprises for anyone like me who is completely new to the story, but I really loved how the author didn’t stop to explain. The story and the action just kind of carry on, assuming that you’ll get used to the new idea that has just been introduced. I really enjoy authors who treat their readers as intelligent human beings.

2. The further into the series you go, the more reality intrudes

Again, this is about the subtle intelligence of the writing. The closer to the finale you get, the more the seeming superficiality of the story and the characters reveals layers of complexity; this is actually a really cool piece of writing about identity, relationships, self-esteem, obsession, and growing up.

3. The girls are bad-ass

I mean, a lot of the boys are bad-ass, too, but yeah, the girls are really well drawn and written. There’s a range of complex female characters – some of them are a little trope-y, but generally they’re, y’know, actual characters instead of Jessica Rabbit drawings with two-dimensional personalities, stuffed in fridges.

I think I’ll watch the film – it won’t be as good as the books (the book is always better) but I really enjoyed this series, and it was great for a beginner like me. Plus I’d be really keen to see how they translate some of these concepts onto live-action big screen!

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