Saturday, June 25, 2011
Scott Pilgrim: The Graphic Novel
Let me get a couple things out of the way: 1) This was the first graphic novel I have ever read in my entire life. Yeah, I know. I'm still a newbie as far as comics go and 2) I saw the movie before I read the graphic novel, which will definitely influence how I feel about things. With that business aside, let's talk Scott Pilgrim.
I had a little spare time on my hands today because our little girl was sick and spent most of her time sleeping or wishing she was sleeping. I've read a whole bunch of X-Men comics (109 of them to be exact) but I feel like my comic reading experience is lacking a little depth. So I decided to pick up a series I could knock out in a few hours, and that's Scott Pilgrim.
Interestingly enough, vol. 1 of Scott Pilgrim is a whole lot like the beginning of the movie. It's like they storyboarded it using the graphic novel or something (I'm sure they did. That sort of stuff is important to the people who hold the graphic novel near and dear). I was a little worried that I was jumping into something that would be exactly like the movie that was based on it, and having seen the movie already the graphic novel might seem redundant. As I progressed on in the series, my fears were put to rest.
Possible Spoiler Alerts. I don't know because I haven't written the following content yet.
First of all, Scott doesn't face all of the league of Evil Ex's the same way that he did in the movie. Many of the fights are vastly different (especially the twins. I prefer the graphic novel version), which makes reading the graphic novel as important as seeing the movie (assuming you want to do either of those things, of course). The battles are pretty much the most important/entertaining parts of the novel, and they're all very well done. This is not to say that they aren't well done in the movie...just different.
Also, you get a lot more face time with Ramona in the graphic novel. Her character is much more intriguing when you know a little more about her. Even knowing that she really likes Kim and wants to get to know her better makes you like Ramona better as a character. It's those little things that, even though I understand they couldn't fit in the movie, make the difference in the graphic novel. Oh, and I loved the fact that Ramona found out early that Scott cheated on Knives with her and couldn't deal with it (despite the fact that Ramona herself had reportedly cheated on twins).
Oh, and Envy is also a much more compelling character in the graphic novel. She's not just this evil cardboard cutout like in the movie. You get to delve a little deeper into her past and the events that lead to her becoming the sort of entitled self-absorbed person she is. Also, you learn that Scott isn't as innocent in the Envy breakup as he would lead you to believe. This leads us to our next point...
The theme of Scott's bad side is explored much more deeply in the graphic novel. He just doesn't show up as his nega self and quickly make peace with himself like he does in the movie. Scott has to learn to accept that despite his "wo-is-me" outlook, he's probably hurt more people than people have hurt him. He has to come to grips with the fact that he is not a completely good person. He has cheated, lied, and treated others poorly, all while maintaining a self image that is not congruent with his actions. This is a major theme in Scott Pilgrim and one that I really appreciate because in some ways I'm Scott Pilgrim. We're all probably Scott Pilgrim to some degree or another. We have to come to grips with our nega selves in order to be whole.
Anyway, I could go on and on about differences between the book and the movie, but I won't. The graphic novel is excellent and I refer it to anyone who enjoys indie music and is able to laugh at themselves a bit. If you're wondering whether you should read the graphic novel or see the movie first, read the graphic novel first. If you see the movie first, it'll be hard to read the book without hearing Michael Cera's voice in your mind. You'll basically be robbing yourself (as I did) of the opportunity to get to know Scott Pilgrim with your own imagination. As for rating the graphic novel, it's the first and best I've ever read. I heart this story. I heart it so much I'm giving it...