• James Hewlett

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little ReRead


I can’t remember if I mentioned it recently or not but a couple of weeks ago I started reading through Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series again from the start.

It’s been years since I read through the series start to finish and even longer since I went back to the original black and white format books.

I never had a problem disassociating Edgar Wright’s very good movie adaptation from the source material as I was such a huge fan of the books before the movie was even announced, but giving it distance from both the movie and the nice coloured hard cover editions that came out a few years ago has been good.

Scott Pilgrim was such an important and influential part of my early twenties and is still one of my favourite comic books of all time. When I first read the books I was just a little bit younger than the main characters when I started and by the time the sixth and final volume was published I was a couple of years older, but still right around there. Despite all of the over the top elements and craziness of the books it was always the more grounded, realistic character moments that spoke to me the most and I felt I could relate to so much of what the characters were going though.

Going back to it now as a guy in my early thirties, with everything that comes along with that and all my experiences both high and low of the past ten plus years, puts the books in a new perspective.

I’m reading through them now as if they’re memories as opposed to life.

Sure, I never raced through Honest Ed’s Emporium against a telekinetic vegan rockstar, but I did wander around a rainy Paris in the middle of the night because I was too poor to do anything else. I didn’t break up with Knives Chau (17 Years Old) because I’d already started dating a manic pixie dream girl who just skated into town five minutes earlier through a subspace portal but I did break up with someone I’d been with for a couple of years and very shortly afterward start going out with my now ex-wife.

I look at the problems the characters in Scott Pilgrim are going through and relate them to my real life counterparts and think to myself in regards to both, “Wow, that looks nice. If only they knew how good they’ve got it.”

Everyone thinks like that as they get older and reflect on the past but doing it through revisiting a silly comic book is kind of fun.

I don’t know if I picked the best or worst time possible to go back to this series and when I mentioned that to my friend Ed the other day he responded perfectly; “A story of a guy who struggles with his identity and his relationships with those he cares for as he fumbles around trying to date as an adult? Why would that be relevant?”

He fucking nailed it in one message. I’m not in my early twenties anymore but while so much has changed, so much has stayed the same or at least come back around.

I’m thankful to have been able to meet and chat to Mal a few times and thank him for his work but I’d love to talk to him about them now and see how he relates back to it as well.

The movie is really good, any version of the book is fantastic but if its up to me the Oni Press black and white original format graphic novels are the way to read this series. You can devour them in one sitting easily, but don’t. Take a little time, digest them. Even if you’ve read them many times over, you never know what you might get out of it by going back. The same goes for a lot of your favourite works.

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©2017 by James Hewlett.