My Scott PILGRIMAGE
For the last week I have been on a SCOTT PILGRIMAGE. Which means that I have read one of the Scott Pilgrim volumes a day and then on the seventh day I watched the film. I've enjoyed these all before but it has been a while so it was an overdue revisit. I also didn't plan on reading one a day but the books are so good that I couldn't help but finish them quickly.
I am very proud of the pun and I even googled the word pilgrimage to make sure it works... It does: "a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion"
Now that I too am in my 20s, I found the series to be more relatable than I would have liked... Specifically the relationship stuff and the being a broke, under-achieving slacker. Unfortunately, I'm not as good a fighter as Scott is... But I too enjoy comics and nerdy pop culture!
So, it's mostly the negative stuff that was relatable but it is to the credit of the series that it doesn't dampen my feelings for it. In fact, in my life I'm still waiting for some of the big revelations and break-throughs that Scott has made... These books kind of helped. It's cool to know that I'm not the only person who deals with some of these things. (Yeah, Scott Pilgrim is fictional but it has a large fan base who clearly relate to some of the characters in some way, so yeah.)
Maybe I learnt a little something about myself along the way but mostly I grew to appreciate the material even more. You see, it lures you in with the premise of Scott fighting Ramona's seven evil exes but when you get stuck into it, you begin to see that there is a whole lot more going on...
Bryan Lee O Malley has created a world that takes all of the fun aspects of pop culture that a generation grew up loving and mixes it with reality. Which is why there are ninjas, robots, magic and boss fights. It's an incredible world that tragically, is very much fictional. Scott Pilgrim lives in this world. His life is ruled by videogame mechanics. He levels up, gets extra lives and gets coins every time he defeats someone. It's the dream!
The series also has the perfect portrayal of a friend group. The supporting cast for this book can be just as entertaining as Scott himself (Wallace, Scott's gay room mate, is one of my favourites), also just as important! Everyone has their own things going and if anything, that's one of the key things that the movie loses. Scott is the focus but I became very invested in everyone else's arcs too.
Bryan Lee O Malley also portrayed some very familiar scenarios when it comes to relationships. Like I mentioned, I found a lot of this stuff to be pretty relatable. Break-ups can feel like the end of the world and Scott is no exception to this. When the world is as heightened as this, the stakes are much more intense and for Scott it REALLY feels like everything is ruined. Knives also deals with a break up, but she deals very differently to Scott. While I've never became an obsessed ninja, I have understood the heartbreak and betrayal that she experiences. However, as this story shows, a break up ISN'T the end of the world. Scott makes a lot of mistakes, he is pretty far from a perfect character- but that just means he has room to grow. Through all six books we see a transformation in him. He matures and makes himself a better person. Scott realizes that he is not the hero that he would like to see himself as. It isn't easy but the journey makes for an incredible read!
On the surface it seems to be as basic as women (Ramona) are complicated and men (Scott) are simple. But over the course of the six books we see numerous relationships- not all of which are Scott's. Every relationship is unique. They either work or they don't but it's rarely the same story. Some people are compatible and some people are not (like Stephen and Julie). Some people need time to work things out with each other and overcome certain obstacles (Scott and Ramona), some people are in one-sided relationships where someone is much more appreciated than the other (Scott and Knives) and some people are better off taking time to be alone and work on themselves (Knives).
The series has a lot to say about healthy relationships and it portrays that message marvellously and with great subtlety (as I said, it distracts you with epic fights but there is a lot more going on). It also has a lot to say about break-ups, especially with Knives' character. In the end, things usually work out for the best, even if everything seems awful at the time. People aren't perfect and so, there is no such thing as a perfect relationship but if you can help each other and make each other happy, and accept each other's flaws, then that's good enough. If that isn't the case, then perhaps you're in the wrong relationship.
If you've only seen the movie then I highly suggest checking out the series. The movie is an incredible adaption, which has captured the style and humour perfectly, however, it IS an adaption and so a lot of material has been cut out. So if you want MORE of that world, read the BOOKS! I understand why certain things were cut but I also think that it is a shame. I would love to see an animated series which perfectly adapts each book, because altogether they make a more complete story. Theres only so much that you can do with the time constraints of a film. After reading the books, the movie just felt so much more rushed, which I did not feel the first time I saw the movie. The books are some of the best graphic novels I've ever read (and I've read quite a lot) so if you're a fan of the film, I cannot recommend them enough. Also there are enough differences to keep you on your toes, so don't think you know the full story!