Wed
Feb 4 2009 2:34pm

It’s Scott Pilgrim Day!

Today is Scott Pilgrim Day, the celebration of the (roughly) yearly release of a new volume of Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s video game-inspired action-comedy-romance, and your intrepid Tor.com reporter was on scene at Jim Hanley’s Universe in New York City for the midnight release party to bring you the story (and to get his book signed).

Bryan Lee O’Malley (pictured above being totally awesome), started signing at 12:01am, the first moment anyone could legally buy the books, and was still signing till well past 1:30am. And up to the end he was delightfully chipper, signing playing cards and drawing smiley faces while a camera crew from Universal Pictures looked on (Universal is producing the Scott Pilgrim movie, directed by Edgar Wright and starring Michael Cera). And everyone who attended got the special foil cover (IT’S SHINY!) with obi wrap (pictured below)! 

For those who don’t know, Scott Pilgrim is the story of a 23-year-old slacker whose life changes when he meets Ramona Flowers, literally the girl of his dreams. But before they can live happily ever after, Scott must defeat her Seven Evil Ex-Boyfriends in Street Fighter-esque combat. By the beginning of the latest volume, Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe, Scott has already defeated four of the seven exes, gotten a real job and moved in with Ramona. Now he has to face his biggest challenge yet, a real relationship.

None of which really tells you what drags over a hundred comics fans out of their basements on a Tuesday night to get an early copy, or what’s going to make Scott Pilgrim THE book for the upcoming New York Comic Con. Some of it is that the books are blisteringly funny; it is riddled with references to comic book and video game culture (the name of Scott’s band is “Sex Bob-Omb”); O’Malley employs an art style that blends American action comics, indie autobiographical style, and manga conventions; and that it has a huge cast of great characters, like Knives Chau, lovestruck high school girl/ninja, or Todd Ingram, who has Vegan super powers.

But mostly, Scott Pilgrim captures the spirit of being young and in love. How getting through a date feels like an achievement. How the past can overcome people not yet twenty-five. How the future can be terrifying (even if it includes jet packs). And how much easier life would be if you could punch it in the face.

I would so punch life in the face.

2 comments
Paolo Chikiamco
1. Pipe
I can't wait to get my hands on this book... unfortunately I have no idea when Book 5 will reach us here in the Philippines *sobs*. Oh well, time to stalk the manga shelves again...
Joshua Starr
2. JStarr
I discovered this series two weeks ago, devoured the first four books in two days, then counted down the hours until Comiccon, where I bought and read the fifth volume. This is just filled with things I like: believable character interactions, cute romance and romantic angst, music, video game references, offbeat art, silly jokes... and it tends to lack the things that can annoy me about other slice of life strips, like boring parts or too-conventional relationships.

I'm also impressed by the fact that Scott Pilgrim as a main character is actually kind of dim, but still completely likable and talented in other ways. I don't tend to see less-intelligent main characters in fiction much, particularly ones who are actually acknowledged to be so.

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