Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley is a graphic novel series about a Canadian slacker in his early twenties. Ordinarily a character I’d avoid if at all possible. Somehow, he kept popping up on my radar so I picked up a couple of volumes at my local library. I’m glad I did.
Scott lives with his gay roommate, hangs out with a small group of similar friends, and does battle with his new girl friend’s seven evil ex’s. When I say he does battle, he really does battle. Ramona, his new girlfriend, is a sort of super-hero who can shift between dimensions. (I’m not really sure how this works since I started the story with volume three.) Her ex’s, who also have super powers, have a disturbing tendency to come after Scott with samurai swords capable of cutting through transit buses. Neither Scott nor Ramona has said the “L” word yet, so he’s not even sure if she’s the one he should be fighting killer ninjas for but fight them he does. Scott must also face the usual trials of early twenties: getting around to getting a job, finding a new place to live, finding a way to become an adult and still live with himself.
The two Scott Pilgrim books I read have a very cool sensibility and a wicked sense of humor. Each time Scott does something that moves him along on the road to adulthood he gains levels of experience like a character in a video game. Sometimes these things are defeating one of Ramona’s evil ex’s in battle, other times it’s becoming more mature like when he finally gets a job and chooses not to brag about it to Ramona and the rest of his friends. (It’s not that great a job. He’s still at a fairly low level in the game.) It’s like Scott is a character in a video game and, at the same time, a character with a regular life that is also a video game. Graphic Novels, like children’s and young adult literature, are a place where interesting experiments in narrative abound.
I hope the library gets the rest of the books in the series soon.
While I remember really enjoying the two Scott Pilgrim books I read for this review back when I first posted it on my old blog, Ready When You Are, C.B., I have not read any other Scott Pilgrim books, nor do I think I will. They were fun, but they did not take over my reading.