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Scott Pilgrim's Perfect Little Life is the first in a series of graphics novels which focus on Scott's life and his battle against Ramona's evil exes. The graphic novels have recently been turned into a film, which has sparked interest, and for good reason as the novels are well written by author Bryan Lee O'Malley. Currently they can be bought for around £6 on Amazon and I have seen them for this price at stores like Waterstones to.
The story itself focuses around Scott Pilgrim, a normal guy whose life is going relatively good and well, normal. He plays in a band with friends Sex Bob Bomb, while going out with his girlfriend, Knives Chau who is really in love with him. However, all this normal life turns upside down when he meets Ramona Flowers and starts to crush on her. She seems like an ordinary girl at first, but then the massive secret is revealed, if you want to become her boyfriend, you must defeat her 7 deadly exes. Will Scott manage to defeat them? How truly evil are these evil exes? Can a normal guy like himself actually beat these super evil guys?
The characters are well developed within this novel, and described enough for you to get attached to them as characters however leaving enough scope for you to want to learn more about them. There is a wide range of personalities in the novel so all the characters are different making it never boring to read as one of them is always saying or doing something funny.
I'd say that the pace is pretty fast throughout the graphic novels, as I never really put it down when I started reading as action or drama seemed to happen on every page. While it is quite short, they managed to put a lot of effort into making a lot of things happen, and I think that it is a really good book for giving a backstory to Scott and setting the scene for the rest of the series.
The writing is very well done in the novel itself, as not only is it sweet at times but for the most part it is pretty hilarious. Some of the things that the characters say are really funny and believable, as if you could imagine your own friends saying something like that. In fact, I'm pretty sure that some of my friends who own the novels have been quoting them recently.
The art definitely is well done within these novels, as it is drawn like a thick marker pen in black and white. Personally, I find that this style of drawing is much more effective than colour (e.g Walking Dead!) and makes the look of it much more slick. Throughout, the drawings have a good match of being super detailed and then simply just block coloured, which made it look much more nicer than other graphic novels I've read which just put way too much detail in. The cartoony look of the characters really fitted in well with the comic, and made a nice change from some of the graphic novels I've read previously that try really hard to look realistic.
Overall, for the price that this book is offered at, I would definitely recommend it as it is the perfect combination of romance, action and drama. All the characters mesh well to make for a funny storyline that will keep you interested and have you buying the next in the series. A truly well written graphic novel that is pretty unique compared to others around right now.
I'm not usually a fan of comic books or graphic novels, not out of prejudice but after having read so many different works and been disappointed by them. I have generally found them to be immature - perhaps because they tend to be aimed at teenage boys - slightly sexist, and usually also over-the-top with grimness.
If you want to read an entirely different graphic novel that shows what the genre can really be, then I recommend the Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O'Malley.
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life is the first graphic novel in a series of six. The main character is, of course, Scott Pilgrim, and the plot centres around his supposed dead-end life, and his willingness to overcome his weaknesses for the love of his life, Ramona Flowers. When we meet him, he is dating a 17 year old girl called Knives Chau, who is slightly obsessed with him ('My name is Knives Chau, and I'm a SCOTTAHOLIC!!') and also his band's biggest groupie. Her character had me in stitches of laughter throughout the book.
I especially like Scott's deadbeat character, as I have met a few 20 year olds a bit like him - thinking that they are old and that there is nothing more to life, in a not-too-serious way, at such a young age - and generally lazy bums ('I wish I could turn into a morphing ball and roll to the bathroom from here, instead of having to get up'). The book really is all about Scott's 'precious' little life.
Scott falls for Ramona at first sight, and they start 'hanging out'. She tells him that she has seven evil exes, who have to be overcome if they are to have a relationship. Each book tackles Scott's battles with these exes, and each ex is a strong stereotype in his own right. I found Scott's battles with them to be hilarious: there is no limit to the sudden action and drama of their encounters as they battle physically, and also immensely entertaining verbal banter ('You headbutted my boyfriend so hard he burst!') There is also occasional commentary about the events and characters from the 'narrator', and there are a lot of quirky occurrences like this throughout the book.
Ramona is an uber cool character (Scott: 'When I'm around you, I kind of feel like I'm on drugs. Not that I do drugs. Unless you do drugs, in which case I do them all the time'), with funky coloured hair, a job delivering post on rollerblades, and a magic handbag which transports us into a non-world representative of her consciousness.. Or something like that! There are a few very endearing geeky things like this in the book, which also pushes it gently into the fantasy genre. The film deserves a separate review, but I will mention here that I thought it captured perfectly the 'video game' nature of the book, where characters score points, collect coins when they triumph, amongst other old-school game references.
Although Scott and Ramona are the main characters, the other people in the book are just as individual and 'real'. We meet Scott's gay roommate Wallace, who is a good friend to him, though their friendship is based on the fact that Wallace is cool, popular, independent, and seems to own everything in the flat, while Scott seems more like his leaching bum of a friend (Wallace: 'If this girl is really the one from your dreams, you have to fight for her, it's your destiny. Plus, I need you to move out'). We also meet Scott's fellow band members, Stephen Stills and Kim Pine. Stephen Stills is another cool character - 'the talent' - who is always referred to by his full name (Knives: 'Do you always refer to him by his full name?' Scott: 'Who, Stephen Stills? Yes'). Kim Pine is Scott's ex girlfriend who is negative and bitter about everything (Kim: 'Scott, if your life had a face, I would punch it. I would punch your life in the face'), but apparently a very good drummer.
One of the biggest letdowns of other graphic novels, in my experience, has been the dialogue. There are some amazing comic book artists out there, but few seem to possess the same skill in the literary field. O'Malley, in my opinion, definitely has both: the speech in Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life is witty, funny, and reads very naturally. I think the way the story is told is very Canadian- although I haven't actually been to Canada!- it gives a very strong sense of this little corner of it.. What I mean is that this book is very clearly not British or American: it has a very specific sense of humour, uses the word 'guy' a lot (instead of, say, 'dude'), and has a very relaxed feel to it- an ease, if you like, which reflects the nature of the 'chilled out' characters.
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life is in black and white print, I think the drawings are excellent. The text VERY easy to read- I whizzed through the first book in less than an hour, and then I HAD to buy the next one- and the one after that! The books are slightly addictive, but they're worth buying as you'll end up reading them again and again, and/or lending them to other people. There is nothing quite like them in the graphic novel scene.
Scott Pilgrim's precious little life is the first issue in a set of 6 books which tell the story of Scott's adventure to defeat the seven evil exes of love interest Ramona Flowers in order to date her.
Published by Oni press, this comes as their biggest success with it now having been made into a film and game. Written and illustrated by Bryan Lee o'Mally the book has personal feel and that is something which you only get from smaller publishers like Oni.
Scott Pilgrim begins with the introduction of the 23 year old, rock band member who is currently "between jobs", as well as dating a high school girl called Knives Chau.
Living with Scott is gay roomate Wallace who both owns and does everything in the flat, Scott's life is going pretty well until he starts having dreams about a girl on roller-skates called Ramona Flowers. After learning she works for Amazon and gets her to deliver a package to him they begin to hit it off, but one thing stands in their way, well actually seven, Ramona's exes.
The storyline is slow to start with and the comic comes across as a slice of life piece. We see Scott going through his day, meeting Knives and playing in his band, Sex bob-omb. This pace is kept for about 3/4 of the story and then the final section sees the story turned on it's head and a lot of action starts up, showing whats to come in the next issues as well as starting Scott up on his task.
The characters have a good personality and all feel quite individual. Whilst Scott is a bit of a layabout, he means well and cares about his freinds, we don't see to much growth in his character during the book but we do see a very different side to him near the end which shows maybe he isn't the failure we thought he was.
Walace is incredibly sarcastic but he is the character who says what the reader is often thinking about Scott, this is refreshing to see as it causes a connection which helps settle you into the story if your not usually a fan of comics.
Knives Chau comes across as the real love-sick teenager, she adores Scott's band and really likes Scott. Now although she is 17 there is nothing wrong happening. Scott hasn't even kissed Knives and their relationship is based around the fact that Scott just hasn't grown up.
Ramona Flowersis the roller-skating chick that takes Scott by storm, he doesn't know wether she is real or wether he is going insane. But when Scott sees her at a party he doesn't let the chance slip and the two have a great time together. She want's to be with Scott but unfortunatley she knows he must defeat the exes in order to win her heart.
The art of the book is really origional in its design and is one of the attractions of it. The book is drawn with a thick marker pen look which takes some getting used to but means some cool effects can be created, especially during moments where perception is needed or action is the focus point. The pages are filled with different panel designs and varying image sizes meaning it doesn't get boring to look at as it is always slightly different.
The book also has some other interesting features, for example when Sex bob-omb are playing one of their songs, the chords are shown so that the reader would be able to play along if they could play guitar which is a nice idea to break up the story.
Their is also a lot of game references nearer the end of the book and the battle with the first ex, for example their is a street-fighter feel to it and a lot of focus on the amount of hits and the general over the top feel of the fight. These references aren't used too much that if you don't play games you wont be able to enjoy the story, but the use of the inside jokes means certain areas of the audience will be very interested to carry on the series.
At £4.49 it is slightly above what I would think as a good price, the average manga is £4 but has twice the amount of pages of this comic and so can feel a little pricey, although buying used is a lot more reasonable.
The book is 168 pages long and will easily be good for a night's reading and entertainment.
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life is the first book of six graphic novels in the Scott Pilgrim series written by Bryan Lee O'Malley.
These books are drawn in a highly stylised manner and bound in digest sized volumes reminiscent of Japanese Manga books. This book (except its cover) is in black and white print only, something which put me off at first as I find coloured graphic novels easier to look at and distinguish between different characters.
When we first meet Scott Pilgrim, through witty dialog we quickly learn that he is 23 and that he is dating a high school girl. Being the first book we're introduced to the main characters and the relationships they have with Scott and each other, Scott's gay room-mate Wallace, Scott's high schooler girlfriend Knives Chau, Scott's band mates Stephen Stills and Kim Pine to name a few.
Soon Scott meets (Through mysterious means) Ramona Flowers and instantly falls in love with her, this is the main plot point for the first book (Spoiler free), Scott tries to do everything he can to win the girl quickly discovering that he must fight and defeat her seven evil ex's to truly win her heart.
I only recently found out about these books from Edgar Wright's upcoming summer blockbuster (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - actually the title of the second book) I saw the first trailer for the film and instantly NEEDED to acquire the source material. I have since read all of the currently available books (five - the sixth is due to be released soon - before the film) several times over.
For me, these are the perfect graphic novels as they seamlessly merge the teen-rom-com style (Scott and Ramona's relationship) with gamer geekness. There are so many in-jokes for gamers to be found here, from the name of Scott's band (Sex-Bob-Omb - Bob-Ombs are the little wind-up bombs with eyes that attack you in Super Mario Bros. 3) to evil ex's dropping coins when they've been defeated (Almost every game ever). Most of the references are obvious enough for even the casual gamer, however there are some special references that only the hardcore gamer will probably understand.
On top of the in-joke geekiness add a fantastic layer of humor from the slightly dim unsuspecting Scott, or the great one liners from Wallace the gay room-mate, or always referring to Stephen Stills by saying his full name every time. There are jokes here that everyone will find funny. I even got my fiance to read this first book and I was relieved to find that she found it as funny as I still do every time I read the books.
Being a graphic novel format, I find that I can easily read a volume in about an hour and I'm not a fast reader at all. So they won't take up a great deal of your time, but if you give it the opportunity, it will stay with you for ages.
Needless to say. I love these books. I highly recommend you read them all.