A longtime showbiz journalist and fan's thoughts on comic books, movies and other cool stuff.

Off the Shelf: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe, Vol. 5

I overall really like the Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, who gets points from me for being a fellow expat Canadian. I am, however, a little puzzled by the extent of the fervor that surrounds the release of each new volume in this series — something I think I have to put down to a slight generational gap. If I was 17, or maybe even 24, I’m sure I would think this is much more clever, funny and, like, so true than I do at age 39.

But it is a fun book. This volume, to my surprise, comes with some kind of flashy foil cardstock cover of the like I haven’s seen since Valiant last went under. To be honest, I would rather have had some color interior pages, as was done in at least one of the previous volumes. What I like about it is it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Scott Pilgrim remains a pretty clueless slacker, but he’s a funny clueless slacker and the story — much like the real world — doesn’t really punish guys like that for their rather minor flaws. But despite not being heavy or preachy, there’s enough recognizable real life and real emotion in this book to make it charming.

I also like O’Malley’s artwork, which is in many way is a perfect match for the material, evoking equal parts manga and Life in Hell. It’s also low-fi enough to retain the feeling of reading some sort of underground, zine-like comic that only the other cool kids know about — which also fits in perfectly. I imagine some day, there will be some kind of absolute edition featuring a large page size and color, though I can’t imagine either would improve things that much.

Again, even though I really like this series, it’s not for me the second coming of Stan Lee the way it seems to be for some fans. And in some ways, I’m a bit jealous of that because it’s been quite a while since I’ve found a comic that really evokes that sense of discovery in me — again, part and parcel, I think of me no longer being 24 years old.


Comic du jour: The Bionic Woman #1 (Oct. 1977)


Off the shelf: Alien: The Illustrated Story (1979)

1 Comment

  1. Four posts in five days?! You spoil us, McLean.

    I think there is a bit of generational divide with this book, mostly dealing with the stuff referenced. The dialogue, the fight scenes, the band names– they’re all (mostly video game) “in” jokes. The new issue was the best so far, and I think the book’s great if not a little overrated. But all the best stuff is I suppose.

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