Scott Pilgrim is a series of graphic novels by Canadian author and artist Bryan Lee O'Malley. The series is about Scott Pilgrim, a slacker and part-time musician who lives in Toronto, Ontario, and plays bass guitar in a band. He falls in love with American delivery girl Ramona Flowers, but must defeat her seven evil exes in order to date her.
Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1 cover by Bryan Lee O'Malley.
|Publisher||Oni Press (American version)|
|Format||Digest limited series|
|Publication date||August 18, 2004 – July 20, 2010|
|Main character(s)||(List of characters)|
|Written by||Bryan Lee O'Malley|
|Artist(s)||Bryan Lee O'Malley|
|Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life||ISBN 1-932664-08-4|
|Scott Pilgrim vs. The World||ISBN 1-932664-12-2|
|Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness||ISBN 1-932664-22-X|
|Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together||ISBN 1-932664-49-1|
|Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe||ISBN 1-934964-10-7|
|Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour||ISBN 1-934964-38-7|
The series consists of six digest size black-and-white volumes, released between August 2004 and July 2010, by Portland-based independent comic book publisher Oni Press. It was later republished by Fourth Estate, an imprint of HarperCollins. Full-colour hardback volumes, coloured by Nathan Fairbairn, were released from August 2012 to April 2014.
A film adaptation of the series titled Scott Pilgrim vs. the World starring actor Michael Cera in the title role was released in August 2010. A video game adaptation developed by Ubisoft for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade was released the same month.
Creator Bryan Lee O'Malley was inspired to create the series and eponymous character of Scott Pilgrim after listening to Canadian band Plumtree's 1998 single "Scott Pilgrim", a song then-Plumtree singer Carla Gillis describes as "positive, but...also bitter sweet." In particular, O'Malley was inspired by the lyric, "I’ve liked you for a thousand years."
O'Malley wanted to write a shōnen-style comic book series, although he had only read one such series at the time, Ranma 1/2; in the early 2000s, Japanese manga had not yet achieved significant popularity in North America. O'Malley gained inspiration from the book Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga by Koji Aihara and Kentaro Takekuma. In 2002, O'Malley's roommate, who worked in a comic book store, brought the book to him while O'Malley was working on Lost at Sea and was planning Scott Pilgrim. Upon reading the book O'Malley realized that, despite the satirical tone, it could be an effective guide to how the Japanese comic book industry worked. O'Malley said that Ranma 1/2 was the strongest influence and Atsuko Nakajima, the character designer of the Ranma 1/2 anime and other anime, was an influence to a lesser extent. He added that the "exploded page layouts" of Koudelka, a work by Yuji Iwahara, directly influenced the "full-bleed layouts" of Scott Pilgrim. O'Malley said that Osamu Tezuka began influencing his work as he created Volumes 3 and 4. He said, "You can see his influence start to creep in here and there but he’s a larger inspirational figure to me than just his drawing style." In regards to the FLCL anime, O'Malley said that while it was an influence, it was "not as much of a direct influence on Scott Pilgrim as people seem to think."
O'Malley used black and white because it was less expensive than creating the series in color, and so O'Malley said that he "embraced the B&W manga aesthetic". When writing the series, O'Malley's first step was developing the direction of the story by creating notes in notebooks, sketchbooks, and computer text files. His second step was to create an outline. His third step was to write a script. His fourth step was to develop thumbnails. His final step was to develop the finished comic book page. To ink, O'Malley usually used brushes, including No. 2 and No. 3 brushes. He mostly used computers to build the screentone; he stated that he encountered difficulty finding screentone in North America. O'Malley himself created most of the Scott Pilgrim material. When production on Volume 6 had begun, O'Malley had hired two assistants. The backgrounds in Volume 6 are more detailed than backgrounds in the previous volumes. O'Malley said that "[m]ost fans don't seem to notice the change".
O'Malley stated that he wanted to create a "hybrid" work that received inspiration from American and Japanese comics, and that he "wanted to reach towards the japanese [sic] comics from my own starting point." When asked if he considers Scott Pilgrim to be a manga, O'Malley responded by saying "Um… No, I think I was just thinking about that today. I guess I was just thinking about the whole OEL thing. I think it’s influenced… I like the term 'manga-influenced comics,' but I only like it because no one else likes it."
O'Malley said that he expected Scott Pilgrim to sell around 1,000 copies. He did not expect the series to sell millions of copies and to produce a film adaptation. O'Malley cited the United States comics industry and how it differs from the Japanese comics industry; the United States comic book companies specialize in superhero comics and many newer concepts originate from underground comics. The United States also lacks weekly and monthly comic book magazines and American comic companies generally do not have the system of story editors and assistants that Japanese comic companies have.
O'Malley said that the most difficult portion of Scott Pilgrim to write was the ending. O'Malley deliberately did not consider constructing the ending until he began writing Volume 5. He intended for Volumes 5 and 6 to reflect one single story, with 5 being the "darkest hour" and 6 being "the redemption arc." O'Malley said "there was a lot of stuff to juggle, a lot of plot lines to tie up, and I just had to try and focus on the stuff that mattered most in the time I had." In addition, he wanted to create an ending that would "compete[...] a little" with the ending of the film version; he was aware of "how BIG the finale was". About the ending, O'Malley said, "I think the stuff with the girls and the relationships works pretty well and the stuff with Gideon and the glow is weaker. But hey, some people love it warts and all, and it’s not like I’m gonna go back and change it."
To illustrate his reasoning for eventually ending the Scott Pilgrim series, O'Malley used a quote from famed Belgian comics writer and artist Hergé, creator, writer, and illustrator of the well-regarded The Adventures of Tintin comic book series, from 1929 until his death in 1983. Hergé told his wife, "And right now, my work makes me sick. Tintin is no longer me. And I must make a terrible effort to invent (him)… If Tintin continues to live, it is through a sort of artificial respiration that I must constantly keep up and which is exhausting me." O'Malley said, "If I was still doing Scott Pilgrim in ten years, I would be dead inside." O'Malley said that he did conceive of a continuation centering on Scott and Ramona and involving the other major characters, except for Gideon and the other evil exes of Ramona. He said, "maybe in a few years I’d think about playing with Scott Pilgrim some more" and although "there doesn't need to be more Scott Pilgrim", he agreed that "more would be fun".
O'Malley used the font Swiss 721 Bold Condensed, which was also used in the film. In later books, the regular weight and italic versions of this font were also used. M04 FATAL FURY is the pixel font used in Book 4 and beyond.
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Volume 1)Edit
Scott Pilgrim, a 23-year-old slacker, lives in Toronto with his roommate Wallace Wells. He is the bass player for Sex Bob-omb, an unsuccessful band consisting of himself, guitarist Stephen Stills, and drummer Kim Pine. To the discomfort of Scott's friends, he has recently begun dating Knives Chau, a 17-year-old high school student. After having a dream about a woman on rollerblades, Scott encounters her in real life and discovers that she is Ramona Flowers, who can travel through subspace and who has recently moved to Toronto after breaking up with a man named Gideon Graves. After Scott attempts to meet Ramona again, he receives an ominous email from someone named Matthew Patel. As Sex Bob-omb prepares for a concert, Matthew appears and reveals himself as the first of Ramona's "evil exes." He and Scott fight a video game-style battle from which Scott emerges victorious. Ramona informs Scott that if they are to date, he must first defeat her six other evil exes.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Volume 2)Edit
In a flashback seven years prior, a high school-aged Scott forms a band with Kim and his friend Lisa Miller, and later rescues Kim when she is kidnapped by students from a rival school. In the present, Scott confronts Ramona's second evil ex Lucas Lee, an actor and professional skateboarder shooting a movie in Toronto, who informs Scott about the "League of Evil Exes". Scott is able to defeat Lucas by goading him into skateboarding and subsequently crashing down the Baldwin Steps. Scott breaks up with Knives after Wallace threatens to tell Ramona about her, though Knives later learns about Ramona and attacks her. Later, Scott receives a call from his ex-girlfriend Envy Adams, who asks him to open for her band The Clash at Demonhead. At the band's concert, Ramona identifies Clash at Demonhead's bassist as her ex-boyfriend Todd Ingram.
Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness (Volume 3)Edit
Scott attempts to fight Todd, but is powerless against his psychic vegan powers. Through a flashback, Envy's background as a quiet and mousey girl who developed a callous and aggressive personality as her music career ascended is revealed. Envy attempts to organize a competition between Scott and Todd at Honest Ed's, but Todd's psychic powers destroy the store. When Envy discovers that Todd has been cheating on her with the band's drummer, he attacks her. Scott and Todd battle again, which is won by Scott after the Vegan Police arrive and strip Todd of his psychic powers for having violated his vegan diet (by eating gelato and chicken parmesan). Scott earns an extra life and Envy leaves Toronto to pursue a solo career.
Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (Volume 4)Edit
Stephen begins to record an album for Sex Bob-omb with Kim's roommate Joseph. Scott is attacked by a samurai and a ninja; the latter is revealed to be Roxie Richter, Ramona's fourth evil ex. Scott is kicked out of the apartment by Wallace, and gets into a fight with Ramona after she suspects that Scott is attracted to Lisa. He stays at Lisa's apartment, where Roxie infiltrates his dreams and attacks him. Scott awakens without memories of the previous night, though Lisa informs him that he confessed that he loved Ramona. The samurai is revealed to be Knives's father Mr. Chau, who disliked that his daughter was dating a white person. When he attacks Scott again, Scott escapes via a subspace portal and ends up in Ramona's mind, where he sees her as a slave to a shadowy figure. Upon exiting, Scott encounters his dark self – "NegaScott" – and rejects it. He returns to find Ramona being attacked by Mr. Chau. Realizing his cowardice, Scott confesses that he loves Ramona and earns The Power of Love, a sword he uses to defeat Roxie. Mr. Chau leaves, having earned respect for Scott, and Scott moves in with Ramona.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe (Volume 5)Edit
Scott and Ramona's relationship has begun to deteriorate, as Scott begins to believe that she may still be interested in Gideon. While Scott fights a robot created by Ramona's twin exes Kyle and Ken Katayanagi, Knives tells Ramona that Scott dated them both at the same time. Ramona confronts Scott over his infidelity, and tells him he is another evil ex waiting to happen. The twins kidnap Kim; Scott is about to lose the fight, but emerges victorious when Kim lies and says that Ramona texted her. Scott returns to Ramona, who tearfully bids Scott goodbye and fades away. A short time later, Scott receives a phone call from Gideon, who asks him if he has "time to die."
Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour (Volume 6)Edit
Four months have passed since Ramona's disappearance. In order to reinvigorate Scott, Wallace sends him on a "wilderness sabbatical" to Kim's home in Northern Ontario. The trip prompts Scott to remember that he never actually saved Kim from being kidnapped; the revelation prompts NegaScott to again emerge. Though he initially wishes to defeat NegaScott in order to forget his relationship with Ramona, he instead merges with NegaScott, thus remembering and accepting responsibility for his poor actions in his previous relationships. Scott returns to Toronto to fight Gideon at his newly-opened club, where Envy is making her solo debut. Gideon invites Scott to join League Of Evil Exes; when Scott refuses, Gideon kills him with the Power of Love sword.
Scott awakens in a desert, where he encounters Ramona. They reconcile and Scott uses his extra life to return to the club, where he confronts Gideon inside Ramona's subspace and encourages Ramona to overcome Gideon's influence. When Scott witnesses Gideon berate Envy, he realizes he has been no better than Gideon in his past relationships, causing him to gain the Power of Understanding. Scott and Ramona unite, defeat Gideon together, and decide to give their relationship another chance. In an epilogue, Scott works as a co-chef with Stephen, who reveals he is gay and dating Joseph. Scott and Kim start a new band, and Knives leaves to attend university. Scott and Ramona affirm their desire to face the challenges of a relationship together, and walk hand-in-hand into a subspace door.
The main graphic novel series is:
|1||Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life||ISBN 978-1-932664-08-9
ISBN 978-1-62010-000-4 (Color Hardcover)
|August 18, 2004
August 8, 2012 (Color Hardcover)
|2||Scott Pilgrim vs. The World||ISBN 978-1-932664-12-6
ISBN 978-1-62010-001-1 (Color Hardcover)
|June 15, 2005
November 7, 2012 (Color Hardcover)
|3||Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness||ISBN 978-1-932664-22-5
ISBN 978-1-62010-002-8 (Color Hardcover)
|May 24, 2006
May 22, 2013 (Color Hardcover)
|4||Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together||ISBN 978-1-932664-49-2
ISBN 978-1-620100-03-5 (Color Hardcover)
|November 14, 2007
November 13, 2013 (Color Hardcover)
|The format of the series' spine art is changed (original Oni Press print).|
|5||Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe||ISBN 978-1-934964-10-1
ISBN 978-1-620100-04-2 (Color Hardcover)
|February 4, 2009
August 13, 2014 (Color Hardcover)
|The first printing of Volume 5 features a shiny cover.|
|6||Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour||ISBN 978-1-934964-38-5
ISBN 978-1-620100-05-9 (Color Hardcover)
|July 20, 2010
May 5, 2015 (Color Hardcover)
- Comics Festival (40-page anthology including a one-page Scott Pilgrim comic; released on Free Comic Book Day 2005)
- PENG (72-page one-shot comic book by Corey Lewis where Scott Pilgrim appears in one panel; released in 2005)
- Free Scott Pilgrim No. 1 FCBD 2006 Edition (32-page comic book featuring a 17-page original Scott Pilgrim story; released on Free Comic Book Day 2006) This story is available for free online at the Scott Pilgrim Website
- Comics Festival 2007! (40-page anthology including a half-page Scott Pilgrim comic and a 4-page Wonderful World of Kim Pine comic; released on Free Comic Book Day 2007)
- Scott Pilgrim: Full Colour Odds & Ends 2008 (collects Free Scott Pilgrim #1 – newly coloured by Dean Trippe, Wonderful World of Kim Pine four-page story, Now Magazine Best of Toronto two-page strip in black-and-white, the Comics Fest 07 sushi strip, and various watercolours, pin-ups, and advertisements)
All of these ancillary stories are available to read on the Scott Pilgrim Website. A collector's box containing all six volumes and a fold-in poster was released in North America on November 3, 2010.
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life was re-released in color in August 2012, with the others being released on an irregular schedule, the last in May 2015. The hardcover color editions contain bonus content such as original sketches and creator notes.
Critical reception Edit
In 2007, O'Malley was interviewed by The A.V. Club for the fourth volume. Written by Jason Heller, the article states that Gets It Together is "his best to date." The article goes on to praise O'Malley's consistent bold stylistic choices, saying that he "has raised the bar, art-wise: His deceptively basic style is suddenly deeper, richer, and more mature, while his eye for dynamics and graphic economy has gotten even keener." In 2011 Scott Pilgrim was ranked 69th in IGN's list of the top 100 comic book heroes.
Japanese comics author Kentaro Takekuma said in an interview that the structure and style of Scott Pilgrim initially did not match the structure and style of Japanese comics, but when he read the battle scenes "it feels very much like a Japanese manga, especially in how you structured the panels. It develops into a very strange, neither American nor Japanese atmosphere." Comics author Koji Aihara added that "I did feel the inspiration from Japanese manga, but it did not strike me as a ripoff of manga style, but a very unique way of expression, I found it a very interesting work. I appreciated you using your own style of expression. Also, I thought your use of solid blacks was very skilled and attractive."
In 2005, O'Malley won the Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent for the first volume of Scott Pilgrim and was nominated for three Harvey Awards (Best New Talent, Best Cartoonist and Best Graphic Album of Original Work).
O'Malley was nominated for a 2006 Eisner Award in the category Best Writer/Artist—Humor, for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, but lost to Kyle Baker. O'Malley and Scott Pilgrim were also nominated for two 2006 Eagle Awards, and nominated for a second Wright Award (for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World).
In other mediaEdit
The film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was released on August 13, 2010. It is based on all six volumes of the graphic novel series, despite the different ending due to the sixth volume having been released after the film finished shooting. The film is directed by Edgar Wright and stars Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Scott and Ramona, respectively.
The film was a critical success, but did not fare well commercially in theaters. However, its commercial fortunes improved after being released on Blu-ray and DVD. The DVD includes extras including bloopers, outtakes, deleted scenes, storyboards (which include the ending provided by the comics), and trailers. The 2-disc edition includes soundtracks, animation (when Scott dates Kim), and a making-of.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The AnimationEdit
At the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con, Alison Pill (who plays Kim Pine in the movie), revealed that her character's past relationship with Scott will be explored in other media. "There will be a little something-something that will air on Adult Swim," she said. Creator Bryan Lee O'Malley elaborated by stating "It's gonna be like a series of short animations (to promote the movie). One of them will be the Volume 2 high school stuff with Kim and Lisa Miller. I don't know how long it will be but the rough they showed me was like 5 minutes. The stars of the movie will do the voices for the cartoons." Michael Cera and Alison Pill reprise their roles of Scott Pilgrim and Kim Pine from the movie, whilst Mae Whitman and Jason Schwartzman, who play Roxanne Richter and Gideon Graves in the movie, provide voices for Lisa Miller and Simon Lee respectively. The animated short, entitled Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation, was produced by Titmouse Inc. and aired on Adult Swim on August 12, 2010, later being released on their website. The short is based on the flashback from the second graphic novel, elaborating on Scott's adventures in high school. The animation features the songs "Post Acid" and "Beach Demon" by Wavves, though it is replaced with the film's soundtrack in the version included on the DVD/Blu-ray release of the film.
A video game based on the series, also titled Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, was announced during San Diego Comic-Con 2009 and was developed by Ubisoft Montreal, released alongside the film. The game is a four-player side-scroller influenced by 8-bit and 16-bit video games, with players able to play as Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Kim Pine and Stephen Stills (Knives Chau and Wallace Wells were added later as downloadable characters; in the base game, they are respectively an assist character and a shopkeeper). After the player completes the game with Scott, Ramona, Stephen Stills, and Kim, they unlock NegaScott. Mr. Chau (Knives Chau's father), is also an unlockable assist character. The game features music by chiptune punk band Anamanaguchi and art direction by Paul Robertson.
On December 30, 2014, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game was delisted from the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. This follows the earlier delistings of the video games Uno and Marvel vs. Capcom Origins. The game was delisted due to the licenses running out. On September 10, 2020, Ubisoft announced that the game will finally re-release in honor of its 10th anniversary titled Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game - Complete Edition, it scheduled to be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Stadia, Holiday 2020.
A mobile adaptation of the comic book was produced by HarperCollins and Robot Comics. The app uses movement, sound and vibration to create an original reading experience and includes extra material hidden in the scenes of the comic. It is available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android.
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