When Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World came out, I had never heard of the comics. I watched the film, being a huge fan of Shaun of the Dead, and I loved it. I took the next logical step and decided to read the comics, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
This might sound strange coming from a writer, but I usually don’t have a problem with film adaptations of other media. Often I like them as much as or more than the source material. For the first volume or two of Scott Pilgrim, I didn’t think I’d like the comics as much as I liked the movie. Around Volume 3 I was proven wrong, and once I got to Volume 4 I couldn’t stop reading.
I still love the movie, but I love the comics in a different way. They’re a lot deeper and a lot more personal, and in retrospect I think the film would have been even better as a trilogy. But I tend to see film adaptations and their source material as separate entities, and I’m comfortable being in love with both.
There were moments in the graphic novels that made me laugh out loud, which doesn’t happen often when I’m reading. I appreciated the style and humor of the comics, the frantic and exciting imagery, and especially how straightforward it was. The biggest problem I have when reading comics is that I sometimes have to stare at a panel for a long time to figure out what’s going on. I was rarely confused this way when reading Scott Pilgrim, but I found myself staring at the panels anyway, taking in the minute details and pop culture references Bryan Lee O’Malley hid throughout. In some ways Scott Pilgrim does right what I thought the FLCL graphic novels did wrong: there is a distinct method to the madness that demands the reader visit the story again and again to pick up on the things they missed the first time through. Scott Pilgrim has the added bonus of lovable scenarios and characters worth revisiting.
The final panels of the final volume were breathtaking in their beauty and simplicity. I wasn’t sure how the comic was going to end, but I wasn’t disappointed.
Final rating: 5 out 5 stars.
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