Thank goodness for the panelists at Book Expo who insisted I read him, and the Bakersfield bookstore that had a copy of Volume 1. I am now totally in love with Scott Pilgrim (as is every girl in Toronto, inexplicably). Bryan Lee O'Malley has metabolized manga, video games, and kung fu movies and created a completely unique comic series about the eponymous hapless, happy-go-lucky Canadian hero, who plays in a band, hangs out with his friends, and falls for the mysterious delivery girl Ramona Flowers -- but to date her he'll have to battle her seven evil ex-boyfriends. What ensues includes (but is not limited to) sword fights, navigating love and friendships, travels through subspace, vegan recipes, getting over your romantic past (and your sweetie's romantic past), possibly evil ninjas, and especially growing up, through slackerdom and into a kind of selfhood.
But the series is most lovable because it's full of the kind of twenty-something inside jokes and randomness that you love your own friends for, and the sweetness and surreality seem perfectly complementary. It's the kind of thing that those who have read it quote to each other endlessly -- it had been a long time since I came across that kind of obsessively great pop creation. I read Volumes 1 through 4 TWICE all the way through (the ALP started reading them months after I did so I had to go back and remember all the good parts). I'm giving them for Christmas to my favorite quirky lovable people. I don't know how I'm going to wait for Volume 5 in February...
* see, this is why the numbers didn't come out to 24 on my complete list: I'm counting this series as one. It's like Proust... kinda.
I am the co-proprietor of Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I live in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood with the ALP (Adorably Literate Partner), who reads everything that I don't. Here, I'd like to write some strictly personal thoughts about books I've read.