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#23 [Jul. 31st, 2010|10:50 pm]

100 COMICS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE (or grow out of them)

#23 SCOTT PILGRIM – Bryan Lee O’Malley

“Is it like in Super Mario 2?”

You may not know it but if you played video games as a kid you’ve been infected by them. One day you’ll be hauling furniture into a moving van and you’ll flash on Tetris, thinking all you need is one of those damn t-shaped blocks to finish this row. Or you’ll step outside on a foggy morning and scan the skies for the winged monstrosities from Silent Hill. For bonus points you won’t be worried because you can’t hear the radio static that warns of danger in the game. For bonus bonus points you are the kind of person who casually talks about bonus points.

Bonus points, along with bonus lives, level-ups, power ratings and other bits of game paraphernalia colour everything that happens to Scott Pilgrim. His life is made up of metaphors that came straight out of a Nintendo in 1988. Scott’s in love with a girl who brings a lot of baggage to the relationship, so naturally that baggage manifests as end-of-level bosses he has to defeat in Street Fighter-style battles to continue dating her. (And sometimes the baggage is an actual magic bag she carries around that connects to a subspace subconscious straight out of a Mario game.) When Scott gets a job he scores experience points, when he goes to the toilet he’s emptying his pee bar. That slightly brain-damaged way of seeing the world in terms of save points and unlockable achievements is how his world really works.

Of course, any kind of entertainment can add itself to the texture of your life, if you’re that way inclined. A song that fits a moment perfectly can drag it out of your memory; a cooking show can make you julienne carrots with a carefree disregard for your fingers. Scott Pilgrim is about those things too, but as strange as it gets when it’s literalising them it remains as accurate a representation of what it’s like to be in your 20s as you’ll find. Specifically what it was like to be a 20-something in the 2000s and the kind who cares about Sonic the Hedgehog and indie rock, but still. No matter how outré it gets, Scott Pilgrim is full of the kind of details that make you laugh, or cringe or wince, with recognition.