Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Portland, Oregon: Oni Press, 2004. ISBN-10: 1932664084. ISBN-13: 978-1932664089. 168 p.

Plot Summary
The first of six volumes, Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life introduces Scott Pilgrim, a 23-year-old slacker living in Toronto, Canada. He plays bass in a band called Sex Bob-Omb and is in love with Ramona Flowers. But before she will be his girlfriend, he must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. He is challenged by the first boyfriend while playing a gig with his band, and must fight a video game-style duel to defeat him.

Critical Evaluation
I lack the skills to critically evaluate comic books and graphic novels, because I haven't read many of them, but I can say that really liked this one. Bryan Lee O'Malley excels at conveying his characters' complex emotions through fairly unsophisticated line drawings influenced by the Japanese manga movement. Influenced by indie rock, classic video games, and Toronto culture--all things I enjoy--I found nothing to complain about and everything to love in this slim volume.

Reader’s Annotation
Scott Pilgrim has a crush on Ramona Flowers, but before she will date him, he must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends.

Author Information
Bryan Lee O'Malley is a Canadian cartoonist best known for his Scott Pilgrim series. He is an occasional songwriter and musician, under the alias Kupek. He lives with his wife, cartoonist Hope Larson. His website is, and he blogs at

O'Malley says Scott Pilgrim's setting was definitely influenced by his time living in Toronto. 'Yeah, it’s based on the first two or three years that I lived here, consolidated into the Scott Pilgrim storyline. I had a gay roommate, I was dating an American girl, and I was in a band. I wasn’t in the band until a year later but I just compressed it. His love of music also permeates the first volume, as well as the other four that have been published to date: "I feel like a lot of kids who maybe get the Nintendo references don't necessarily get all the music stuff. I guess I just wanted to put the rounded sides of my interest in there. When I was starting the book, I was listening to a lot of '70s music and country-rock, that Neil Young and Gram Parsons school of music. Now that influence is on the pace of the book, the laid-back feeling of it. Canadian indie-rock was behind the whole thing; the name comes from a Canadian indie-rock song from the '90s. But a lot of that stuff was influenced by '70s rock. I'd been listening to all that, tracing it back. It all goes into Scott Pilgrim. It's kind of my whole synthesis of everything I care about."

Graphic novel/Comic Book

Curriculum Ties

Booktalking Ideas
Watch this trailer.

If you loved the trailer, you'll probably love the graphic novels. If you hated it, you'll probably hate them.

Reading Level/Interest Age
High school and adult.

Challenge Issues

I read this book after I saw the movie trailer. It looks awesome, and the books are also really great.


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