The book reviews will either be delayed or dropped this week due to the fact that I don’t have the mental faculties to put together a coherent blog post right now. You see, my car was burglarized last night and I lost something very close to me as well as a GPS system and a pair of shitty sunglasses. My car was locked, but still they managed to get the door open somehow and rummage through my console and make off with my crap. I’m a little shaken up, but mostly I’m just angry.
Anyhow, I’m just not up to writing about funnybooks right now. Instead, I’ll just say that I am certain one thing could have prevented this incident:
I habitually watched Smallville for about six seasons. I admit that. Shut up, there’s a reason we have the term guilty pleasure. The more ludicrous it got, the more I enjoyed it to be perfectly honest. But the best part about the show (aside from Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor) was Allison Mack who is friggin’ adoreable. She makes me want to cuddle. Again, shut up. Apparently Chloe will be popping up as a recurring character in the Jimmy Olsen backups of Action Comics, so she certainly made an impression somewhere.
Anyhow, it’s her birthday today, and we here at CCQ salute her dedication to the show and hope that she finds another recurring gig when the final season is over because we don’t want to not have her on TV every week.
Seriously, you guys, I might have pee’d myself a little last night watching this movie. It was just the balls. I don’t think I have ever been so enamored with a comic book adaptation so long as I have lived. If Watchmen had made me feel half this tingly maybe it wouldn’t be an afterthought in most people’s memory. I was lucky enough to score VIP screening passes for Scott Pilgrim through a friend who used to work with me up at the store and it was all I could do to not hump her leg while weeping tears of gratitude but then I figured that not doing so would be the bigger sort of thank you, and restrained myself.
For those of you not keeping track at home, Scott Pilgrim is the film adaptation of the book series of the same name that may be the greatest Canadian manga ever concieved. It is the book that gave us such unforgettable panels as this:
Unfortunately that particular scene is not in the film. My soul weeps, but it’s okay, because a lot of the weirder/more hilarious stuff did make it into the film when I feared that it would be excised in the name of rational thought. But this film defies rational thought. It exists to make your brain turn into jello pudding and tell you to giggle like a little girl. It is the kind of movie that doesn’t get made often; the genre-hopping whirlwind of dubya-tee-eff crushed inbetween the dueling breadloafs of coming-of-age drama and romantic comedy to form a totally awesome sandwich of WIN!
Now, despite my gushing I have to say that the film has some flaws that will be more obvious to those who haven’t read the books, mainly that condensing the series down so heavily cuts out a lot of the character moments that made the books so damned amazing. We don’t get inside Scott or Ramona’s head in such a way that we ever really feel the true weight of their relationship or the relationships they left in the past. We just get that Scott is kind of a dork and Ramona is a hot chick with a lot of baggage and everything just sort of goes from there.
For those of us who have read the books, everybody is so damned perfect in their roles it’s not even funny. Kieran Culkin is downright amazing as Scott’s super-gay roomate Wallace Wells and Mark Webber is damned awesome as Stephen Stills aka “the Talent.” Oh, and this film does nothing to stifle my crush on Anna Kendrick, who I’ve totes had a thing for ever since I saw Up In The Air.
If you don’t go see this movie when it comes out, we can’t be friends. If you don’t like the movie, I’m going to kick your (insert cuddly animal friend here). That’s not a threat, that’s a promise. *glare*
I doubt I’m the target audience for this particular graphic novel. I’ve never read any of the book series from which this particular book emerged, nor have I read any books by the author in question. I simply happened upon a comic shop in Dallas that had over-ordered on the book and was liquidating them at 40% off cover price. For a little over ten bucks I’ll give anything a shot, especially if it’s something new that I’m viewing with completely unbiased eyes.
I’ll say that it was a fun read, if a little brisk. It seems like maybe they should have waited a little while longer and combined this edition with the second book slated for November into one larger volume. I feel like if I had paid the full cover prive for it I might have felt like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. I mean, Scott Pilgrim was twelve bucks and about four times as long. But then again that wasn’t a full-color hardcover either, and having published a book I know how high printing costs are nowadays.
The book itself is pretty well done. The art by Joelle Jones has the perfect tone for the light-hearted and quirky mystery. It’s bright and sunny and features some excellent facial expressions that really help provide the book with a distinct style. The storytelling is tightly paced, and maybe a little too brisk. It feels like while being new-reader friendly, it’s definitely intended for people who are familiar with the characters as there’s not a whole lot of detail given to the backstory or establishment of the characters as they’re presented. But carefully placed blurbs and throwaway lines help connect the dots and fill in the blanks.
I’m glad I gave the book a read, because while its light fluff at best, it’s very fun light fluff which is actually a good thing in this era of overly dour comics that don’t dare just tell a fun story and leave the reader feeling entertained. I was entertained and I didn’t feel like an asshat for reading it. When you get right down to it, if you can say that about any book that’s a hash mark in the win column.
I’ve been waiting for this book for a while now. Not just since the end of volume five, but since around the end of book three really. I mean, it’s an amazing series and I don’t really want it to end, but I’ve been anxious to see what the end product would be as a singular entity; if creator Bryan Lee O’Malley could pull off five volumes that continuously knocked it out of the park. Each individual book can be viewed as an accomplishment in and of itself, but the series as a whole is an amazing work of graphic storytelling with rich character arcs that are becoming less and less the norm nowadays.
I think that’s what really draws me in with this series. Sure it’s fun and the humor is great but it’s the intricacies of the character arcs are what keep me coming back. O’Malley makes the reader care about the characters in such a manner that we can be honestly surprised by the turns their story takes and find ourselves more engrossed with the developments than the next video-game inspired fight to come down the pike.
That sums up volume six easily. While we’ve been anticipating the Scott/Gideon showdown, the best parts of the book are those that give us a glimpse into the mind of Scott and the rest of the cast, where their story gets examined to the point where the feel like real people and not like two dimensional characters. We get some revelations about earlier events that shed some light on why Scott does the things he does in the way he does them. His rationalizations and mental gymnastics in regards to past relationships add another layer to his attachment to Ramona.
The last few weeks have wreaked havoc on my love life, so maybe I’m viewing the final volume through the lens of my own cynicism, but the conclusion of the book is sort of the antithesis of traditional romance. We get a story that simultaneously warns against falling head over heels in love, implying that it’ll get you stabbed in the heart with a giant sword, while also saying that it takes letting go and falling for someone with all of totality is the only way you’ll find someone worth loving at all.
It’s a conflicting final chapter, but a satisfying one. I truly believe that this will be a defining series for a lot of people. I’d rather a bunch of nerds use this as the basis for their idea of romance than the way some people use Twilight. Sure, they’re both unrealistic but at least Scott Pilgrim has a sense of balance. I think the ambiguity and eagerness to let the reader decide what they want to glean from the story is what will essentially have people coming back to re-read the book. I doubt I’ll have the same interpretation of the story if I revisit it in five years, hell, probably a year from now.
But it can’t be denied that it’s an amazing story, and a unique one, which is hard to say for alot of books out in this day and age.
I’m leaving town for the week and won’t be updating again probably until next Sunday. Between now and then, if I do update anything it’ll be random snippets that will probably be shameless traffic grabs. You know, hot cosplay photos or other such blatant attempts to snag readers without posting any legitimate content.
I’d ask Ronin to do a game review or something but he can’t be arsed to do much of anything nowadays so you’ll have to settle for what scraps I throw out there.
Until I return…
Get used to stuff like this…
Writing a review of Inception isn’t an easy task. It’s a film that’s complex and layered in ways that a single viewing of the film really isn’t enough to gain concrete perspective on everything the film is, everything the film sets out to be, and everything the film accomplishes. It is one of the most amazingly crafted films I have seen in years and the reason that it is such an amazing product comes from the inabilty of anyone watching it to catagorize it into any one particular niche. It’s very much a science fiction film. Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein would have greatly appreciated Inception as a testament to what you can do with the genre. At the same time, it borrows heavily from the Michael Mann heist style neo-noir of Heat with casual effortlessness.
The criss-crossing of established genre boundaries and refusal to hold the audience’s hand makes Inception a sight to behold in a summer of films that aspire to be a whole lot of nothing. I mean, I loved Predators but it was mostly a remake of the original without being a remake. That’s really the bottom line. This summer has been a summer bereft of originality. While there is a bit of familiarity in the style of Inception, and while it owes a great deal to what came before it, it’s a game changer in the way we look at the summer blockbuster in the same way The Matrix was back in ’99. This film is brilliantly taut, it’s an action film that knows how to pace itself and yet deliver on every level at the same time. There is a real element of uncertainty to the film’s narrative because anybody can die at any time and that may not be the end of their life. At what point does the danger of the subconscious cross over into the world of reality? Nolan keeps us on the edge of our seats knowing that death is a possibility for any of these characters. There is a sense of foreboding that follows every character, an intensity that is not often seen in modern cinema. Nolan is the kind of person who would kill of DiCaprio in the middle of a film for the sake of jarring the viewership, and you can feel that as the story progresses.
While the film is visually amazing and outright stunning in certain places, it’s the scriptwork that realy holds it together. The character work and the layered complexity of the dreamscapes and heist plans make for an engaging experience that goes beyond what our eyes are taking in. Not a lot of filmmakers nowadays can pull that sort of craftmanship across the board. Nolan proves himself to be in the caliber of someone like Stanley Kubrick with what he’s given us here. I will say that I think this is a movie that NEEDS to be seen on the big screen. While it’s an amazing story, the visuals cannot be denied. It’s a spectacle. Nolan hasn’t done anything like this before. Everything captured on screen here is a testament to his worldbuilding ability. With all the amazing work that went into all the different elements of Inception, it is going to be a film that people hold in the same regard as 2001 or Blade Runner when they point to good intelligent sci-fi. The resurgence of Sci-Fi as an accepted genre makes me seriously happy. The fact that we get different subsets reaching different audiences without being dismissed as the bastion of nerdfolk gives me hope for the future. That Star Trek and District 9 were so praised and now we get something like Inception shows that sci-fi can be a respected niche again. It just takes the right steady hand to play in that sandbox.