Everybody loves Scott Pilgrim—and if they don't, it's only because they haven't met him yet.
Scott Pilgrim is the hero of Bryan Lee O'Malley's eponymous comic book series, an affable, messy-haired twentysomething who lives in Toronto; plays bass in a band; loves his girlfriend, the mysterious Ramona Flowers; and... occasionally gets into battles with Ramona's seven evil ex-boyfriends. The books pair a big-eyed anime cutesiness with a smart-assed hipster sensibility—but O'Malley's real innovation, and one that has endeared his books to a diverse cross-section of fans, is that Scott Pilgrim's slacker-y life is utterly realistic except for the fact that it's integrated with fantastic videogame elements. Scott's Toronto is riddled with secret subspace highways, and ninja fights are liable to break out at any moment, complete with cash bonuses for the winner. It's exactly like your life, if your life were a videogame—in fact, it's exactly what videogame-playing slackers like Scott probably wish their lives were like, cute, barely legal Asian girls included.
Hipsters tolerate the fight sequences and videogame references; videogame nerds will put up the ironic jokes and the New Pornographers T-shirts; and the rest of us, falling somewhere in between, embrace the books for their casual disregard for such pop-cultural compartmentalization.
The complete series will total six books, and book five hits the stores this week, released by Portland's own Oni Press. It's predictably good; O'Malley's writing is unflaggingly funny and self-aware—though, as the title suggests, Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe is darker than sunny volume four (which was cheerfully titled Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together). Evil ex-boyfriends are fought, and Knives Chau is still crazy, but the honeymoon is over for Scott and Ramona, and important questions are raised, if not answered, like: Why are all of Ramona Flowers' ex-boyfriends evil, anyway?
The new book has its Portland release party at Floating World Comics–Oni will be on hand with books and exclusive Scott Pilgrim swag (they've got great, cute T-shirts, for one). Now's the time to jump on this bandwagon—don't wait until the Edgar Wright-directed, Michael Cera-starring movie comes out.