Pow! To the People 07.15.09

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scottpilgrim-header.jpgBack after a lengthy hiatus, Art Brut frontman Eddie Argos discusses being ‘outed' as a comics fan and his take on the fan favorite Scott Pilgrim series.

 

 

Hello. I've not written a Pow! To The People in ages. I apologise. Art Brut vs Satan 'dropped' on April 20th and I've been out and about touring it since then. So although I have had plenty of spare hangover time to lie around reading comics, I've barely been sentient enough to write about what I've read.

The cover to Art Brut vs. Satan by Jeff Lemire. Click for a larger image.Since the release of Art Brut vs Satan, I have been 'outed' as a geeky comic book fan. I think the clues that gave me away are that we got the comic book artist and writer Jeff Lemire to do the artwork for the album, that there is a song on the album about my eternal love for DC Comics, and finally, that I sporadically (very sporadically at the moment) write a column for PLAYBACK:stl about the comics I've read, the column you're reading now. I really don't mind being 'outed' as a comic geek though, because some pretty cool things have come of it. I was given a tour of the DC offices in New York where I met Dan Didio and Paul Levitz, I'm in touch with Jeff Katz (who wrote Booster Gold), Jeff Lemire did our album artwork, people I don't know email me recommendations of books to read, and since the album came out, whenever and wherever we play there is always someone that turns up who wants to talk about comics. It's those people, the ones that email me and turn up to gigs to talk about comics, that gradually got me into Scott Pilgrim.

It began slowly with the odd Twitter from a stranger or text from a friend saying something along the lines of "I see you like comics, you must be delighted that your song ‘Fight!' is mentioned briefly at the back of Scott Pilgrim 5." Then gradually it built up to people at gigs excitedly talking to me about Scott Pilgrim, presuming I would know what they were talking about when they mentioned the bands Sex Bob-Omb or Crash and The Boys from the books. To be fair though, I didn't help matters by nodding along and pretending I knew what people were talking about, or by saying "Oh yeah, I love Scott Pilgrim, it's my favourite" when really I had no idea what it was. After pretending for so long that I was hip to Scott Pilgrim, I realised that I had better check it out before somebody caught me lying about my knowledge. Luckily, my housemate Keith TOTP had all five books, so I swiped them just as Art Brut began the European leg of our tour. They were all brilliant, each a bit better than the previous one—which is exactly what you want when you're reading a series of books. I read all five in a day. Then I read them all again before passing them on to Jasper, who got a lot more of the computer game references than me as I don't really play many computer games.

The cover to Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Click for a larger image.Now normally, I would be a bit reticent about admitting that I had pretended to like something that I knew nothing about to look cool (and I promise you, I really am blushing as I type this admission). In this case though, I feel it's OK to admit it, as pretending to like something to look cool is exactly the sort of thing a character from one of the Scott Pilgrim books would do. That is one of the main reasons I enjoyed the books so much—despite the fact that there is an over-arching surreal storyline about Scott fighting a girl's seven ex-partners in the style of a computer game, which involves jumping through subspace portals and turning people into piles of coins, the characters in the book are incredibly believable in the way they act, speak, and make mistakes. Most of the people in the book at some point do some pretty unlikeable stuff, especially Scott himself. This makes the reader's sympathy shift from character to character, which is what happens in real life, making the events that take place within the book genuinely affecting on an an emotional level.

Urgh..."the characters in the book are incredibly believable in the way they act, speak, and make mistakes. Most of the people in the book at some point do some pretty unlikeable stuff, especially Scott himself. This makes the reader's sympathy shift from character to character, which is what happens in real life, making the events that take place within the book genuinely affecting on an an emotional level" is the sort of thing an actual proper comic book reviewer would write. What I mean to say is I KNOW PEOPLE EXACTLY LIKE THE CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK AND THAT IS HOW PEOPLE ACTUALLY SPEAK. Which is a rare thing to find in any art form. The nearest recent comparable thing I can think of that made me think "Wow, yes, that is right, I recognise this from my life" is the television programme Spaced. A programme I still find myself nodding along too and thinking "Yes, exactly right" nearly ten years after it was on. So, it makes sense that Edgar Wright (who directed Spaced) is directing the upcoming movie of Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim Versus The World. Of course, though, you comic book geeks all already know this so there is no point in me telling you or writing it down here. I am only just catching up. I have, in essence, just written 800 words telling you something you all already know. Still at least I got to boast about going to DC Comics at the top of it. I'm sure EVERYBODY reading this has read the Scott Pilgrim books (or at least pretended to), but if you haven't, go and read them now. They're funny, clever, sad, stupid, fantastic, heartbreaking, surreal, confusing and brilliant, just like real life. | Eddie Argos

Click here to learn more about Scott Pilgrim, or visit the official site at http://www.scottpilgrim.com/. Read Bryan Lee O'Malley's blog at http://www.radiomaru.com/.

Sex Bob-Omb rocks your face off.

In this edition:

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Oni Press; 2004)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Oni Press; 2005)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 3: Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness (Oni Press; 2006)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (Oni Press; 2007)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe (Oni Press; 2009)

168-216 pgs. ea. B&W; 11.95 ea.

(W / A: Bryan Lee O'Malley)

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