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1. Write your mistake 2. Ingest one mushroom 3. Go to sleep 4. Wake anew
July 14, 2014 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Four years after finishing his incredibly successful comic book series, and its somewhat less successful movie adapatation, after a prolonged delay, Bryan Lee O'Malley is back with a new graphic novel, Seconds.

Publisher's blurb:

Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:

1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew


And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.

An interview with Bryan is up at Slate, and you can read a preview at Wired.
posted by 1970s Antihero (36 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
less successful movie adapatation

I don't care what any numbers say; I refuse to acknowledge that Edgar Wright's film wasn't "successful." I saw it, and it was amazing. Therefore: success.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 2:10 PM on July 14 [44 favorites]


(also this new book looks awesome!)
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 2:12 PM on July 14


Oh hey I just came across this post where Bryan Lee O'Malley talks about why there aren't a lot of people of colour in Scott Pilgrim:
[When I wrote Scott Pilgrim] I had an unexamined non-attitude towards race and I didn’t think about it until years later. . . . I’ve sometimes joked that Scott Pilgrim is my fantasy of being a cute white indie rock boy (which, as an ostracized mixed-race weirdo, was something I occasionally wished for when I was younger). I guess I whitewashed myself out of my own story, and I got what I deserved.

ANYWAY… IT’S COMPLICATED!

One of the main reasons I wanted to do Seconds in color (seriously) is because I wanted characters to have different skin colors… I think about these things way way more nowadays.
That's the end bit I've quoted, but it's worth reading the whole thing.
posted by narain at 2:34 PM on July 14 [9 favorites]


I loved the hell out of the comic but never did get around to seeing the movie, despite loving both the comic and the director.

Totally excited about more of O'Malley's work, really looking forward to this.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:54 PM on July 14


Wow, that was sudden! Awesome!
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:15 PM on July 14


I don't care if it's Pepsi Blue, I'm buying it.
posted by Etrigan at 3:31 PM on July 14


less successful?????

grrrr....
posted by greenhornet at 4:11 PM on July 14


I’ve sometimes joked that Scott Pilgrim is my fantasy of being a cute white indie rock boy (which, as an ostracized mixed-race weirdo, was something I occasionally wished for when I was younger). I guess I whitewashed myself out of my own story, and I got what I deserved.

That was immediately obvious upon seeing the main character of Scott Pilgrim and it made me immediately recoil from the series.
posted by deathmaven at 4:40 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I wish Bryan Lee O'Malley all the best; he seems like a perfectly okay dude and I'm sure we'd get along swimmingly. But I just don't get the Scott Pilgrim hype at all.

Despite being the exact right demographic (Canadian '90s indie kid with a room full of graphic novels), after the third volume of Scott Pilgrim, I'd had more than enough. The title character is an asshole, and not the fun kind, which might be fine if anybody ever acknowledged it. The story is very repetitive, and does not progress at all over three whole books. Knowing there's three more volumes beyond those ones kind of kills any drama and suspense the action scenes might have had--and Scott's an asshole, so who even cares if he wins these dumb little Nintendo fights? All the characters are very, very shallow, very one-note. Without any character or drama, it's all just obvious Toronto landmarks and '90s Canadian indie rock reference-humour in-jokes. Meh.

(Also, Amazon doesn't have its own delivery people, so the whole story springing from that massively obvious factual error kind of soured me to the whole thing.)

(Also also, Scott Pilgrim looks pretty much exactly like a better-drawn Jeffrey Brown.)
posted by Sys Rq at 5:10 PM on July 14


I'm still baffled at making a movie about Scott Pilgrim, whose defining character trait is his complete obliviousness, and casting Michael Cera, whose entire schtick is his painful self-awareness. It's like remaking a Woody Allen movie with The Rock in the starring role.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:22 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


The title character is an asshole, and not the fun kind

This was way obvious in the film, to me. He's smug without any real reason (apart from an inexplicable ability to anime fight), and Cera sold that really well.

Plus, holy hell it's a beautifully made film.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:36 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


I tell people with Scott Pilgrim to watch the movie (although it made me angry in a way that I couldn't talk about it) and then read the last book. The last book almost made slogging through the entire series worth it (and I was doing it for Reasons rather than for fun).

I am happy to allow it's just not my thing. I get that a lot of people connect with the material. When I was reading it, I was just at a point where that kind of thing wasn't cute anymore for me. I know Scott was kind of presented as a clueless asshole in the books but he was also treated like we were still meant to root for him. I had a hard time with that (I think the movie was more effective with making him unlikable because ... well ... poor Michael Cera). Maybe if I had read it earlier in my life? I don't know.

But I wish Brian Lee O'Malley well. Maybe Seconds is great. Mostly, though, I think I want to check out Dustin Harbin's lettering more than anything because he's totally nerdy about it and I think I may owe him some beer tickets at SPX anyway.
posted by darksong at 5:44 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


The movie (haven't read the comics) made it clear that he was cutting away the various vectors of his assholery, through the tools at his disposal (anime fights/indie rock). Him being an asshole is signposted in like the second line ('if your life had a face I would punch it').

And at the end he isn't left as a hero, but more as a blank slate - ready to start growing again.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:46 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


The title character is an asshole, and not the fun kind, which might be fine if anybody ever acknowledged it.

Actually, the fact that Scott is an asshole is a pretty basic plot point of the comic book, especially in its second half, and more especially in reference to Knives.

Also, the movie is awesome. And I don't even like video games.
posted by signal at 6:07 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


(Also, Amazon doesn't have its own delivery people, so the whole story springing from that massively obvious factual error kind of soured me to the whole thing.)

The character delivers said Amazon package on rollerblades through a magical spacetime portal, and it's this liberty the author took with reality that put you off the whole thing?
posted by ominous_paws at 6:14 PM on July 14 [9 favorites]


Yes. I mean, it's kind of irrelevant how the person actually delivers the package. But it's a plot point that the person delivering the package is an Amazon employee, and that is just not how shit works. There's fantastical and then there's wrong.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:32 PM on July 14


But it's a plot point that the person delivering the package is an Amazon employee, and that is just not how shit works.

I've learned not to ask my father what he thinks of movies with military themes, because his enjoyment is directly linked to how many liberties were taken with uniforms.
posted by Etrigan at 6:57 PM on July 14


The existence or nonexistence of directly employed Amazon delivery staff is of so vanishingly little importance to said plot that I can't quite fathom how it should ruin the whole thing, but to each his own priorities, I suppose!

Anyway! Such derail! I'm really looking forward to Seconds; if there's as big of a jump in maturity as there was between Lost At Sea and Scott Pilgrim this could be something really special. Looking forward to grabbing an e-edition to read in meetings tomorrow at which point we can get into the thing itself...
posted by ominous_paws at 7:09 PM on July 14


Just watched an old movie last week called Seconds that has a similar theme of getting a second chance on life. Wonder if he knows about that?
posted by octothorpe at 7:12 PM on July 14


Yes. I mean, it's kind of irrelevant how the person actually delivers the package. But it's a plot point that the person delivering the package is an Amazon employee, and that is just not how shit works. There's fantastical and then there's wrong.

you forgot about the thingie
posted by Sebmojo at 7:14 PM on July 14


But it's a plot point that the person delivering the package is an Amazon employee, and that is just not how shit works. There's fantastical and then there's wrong.

This fascinates me.
posted by Imperfect at 9:40 PM on July 14


Oh, hey: Somehow cheaper in Canada!
posted by Imperfect at 9:44 PM on July 14


This fascinates me.

It is just not how shit works, my friend.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:37 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Amazon is showing the kindle edition's publishing date as ' January 1, 2035'.
posted by signal at 5:07 AM on July 15


(ALL the spoilers)

Scott Pilgrim is an amazing series, but part of it is that your attitude completely changes a few years after reading it.

I was honestly having just this discussion the other day about how I read the series 4-5 years ago, loved it, as well as the movie, and then apropos of nothing, just, like, in the shower on morning the other week, I just out of nowhere had the revelation "wait a minute. Scott Pilgrim is a loser."

I think you're wrapped up in the tone and spectacle of the books, which on a technical level are amazing. But story-wise, I think you grow up faster than the comics really, really quickly. I'm 33 now and thumbing through the last book, it didn't really occur to me on the first read that the conclusion is that Scott and Ramona are basically the only two people in the series who experience almost no personal growth whatsoever outside of really wanting to fuck each other--they walk off into the sunset with no life skills or careers, but I guess that's okay because Power of Love.

Scott Pilgrim is exactly as it was intended: a video game in real life, only unlike video game where beating the final boss means you've "won" and the game's over, there's this whole thing afterward called the rest of your life. Congrats to Scott for saving the princess, but as an adult, I suddenly realize that it's all an amazing story of a loser who fights other losers to secure the right to keep being a loser but have an air of social acceptability about it. It really is six books of a kid beating a video game, and then you have to acknowledge how much of an accomplishment that really is- not much of one.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:58 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Nobody's addressed the most important question: Will Alison Pill be in the movie?
posted by whuppy at 6:57 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


(ALL the spoilers and more)

XQUZYPHYR, I think what you're missing is that the whole point is that Scott's a loser. He's stuck in this arrested development adolescent mindset (his relationship with Knives being a prime example) and taking no responsibility for himself at all. His relationship with video games is a metaphor for how he interacts with life- the way an idiot teenager does. He sort of drifts through life with no responsibility, just sort of hanging out and playing video games. He's as much battling his own loserdom and immaturity as he is battling video game bosses. Perfect example: Ramona vanishes, and what does Scott do obsessively for two weeks? He plays Sonic the Hedgehog, a game that came out when he was a kid. People who don't deal well with getting dumped often do self-harming or self-destructive things, and in Scott's case, that's binging on Sega Genesis. The video gaming is a direct metaphor for how uselessly he's living his life.

And you're wrong about the ending. The Power of Love isn't what lets Scott win- it's the Power of Understanding (or in the movie, more directly, the Power of Self-Respect). And this after he defeats Nega-Scott by giving up on fighting it and instead accepting the shitty things he's done. Scott triumphs because he grows the fuck up and starts thinking and acting like an adult. At the end of the series he's got a job and a place to live, and he and Ramona decide they still like each other and want to have a real relationship.

Seriously, reread the books if you've got the time, 'cause you've missed or forgotten basically all of the subtext.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:59 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


The existence or nonexistence of directly employed Amazon delivery staff is of so vanishingly little importance to said plot

It's not, though; it's massively important to the plot. Said delivery person is the main love interest whose ex-boyfriends Scott has to fight off (i.e. the plot), and ordering packages from Amazon with the foreknowledge that she will be the one delivering them is how he starts the relationship that sets the entire story in motion. Sure, holes in space-time, because she has superpowers or whatever, but superpowers don't explain away contradictions of mundane reality.

I mean, she could have just delivered pizzas or something, and that'd be totally believable. Why Amazon?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:11 AM on July 15


[SPOILERS etc.]


I love the movie, despite being the wrong demographic (too old, not a video game/anime guy, etc.). BUT, I much prefer the alternate ending, where Scott ends up with Knives instead of Ramona. I find this ending more satisfying, because it acknowledges that Ramona is not really an actual person, but rather is a McGuffin that enabled his personal growth. (Yes, I recognize that that is Ground Zero on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, but whatever.)

Having him end up with Ramona feels (a) unfair to Knives, and (b) unlikely to work out in the long run without all the striving and punching at stuff he needed to do to get her. It's a minor point (I mean, I still love the movie even with the theatrical ending), but I didn't realize that it bothered me until I saw the alternate ending and found it more satisfying.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:41 AM on July 15


I remember seeing that film poster and noting well the Rickenbacker bass. I had no idea it was from a graphic novel. Is the character supposed to have a lot of money? Those basses are really expensive now!
posted by thelonius at 7:45 AM on July 15


SR, I hope you won't take offence when I say that you're generally a poster of a fairly playful nature. Your insistence that the believability of the story is ruined if Amazon's delivery system in the books' universe doesn't exactly match that in ours has stumped me so badly that I'm wondering if I'm not being wound up, so I'll just let the matter rest here.

Ben T - I had no idea that they'd actually filmed Scott ending up with knives as an ending - I would really have enjoyed that, if for no other reason than the bravery of stepping so far away from the source material and how nuts everyone who'd read the book would have gone.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:51 AM on July 15


Oh yeah, I should have linked to it. Scott Pilgrim Alternate Ending

Interestingly, if I remember correctly, it wasn't about stepping away from the source material. It was that, when they were working on the movie, O'Malley hadn't yet written the ending. So the filmmakers filmed both versions just in case.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:59 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Said delivery person is the main love interest whose ex-boyfriends Scott has to fight off (i.e. the plot),

Evil exes.
posted by signal at 9:31 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Your insistence that the believability of the story is ruined if

Not "ruined," just, you know, tainted, very early on. It may be what flipped on my hypercriticality switch for everything that followed, is all.

(It was a last-minute parenthetical addendum to my main criticism. It's not some huge thing.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:25 AM on July 15


"It's like remaking a Woody Allen movie with The Rock in the starring role."

I would watch the shit out of that. I tend to think of the "Woody Allen" character as the worst part of any Woody Allen movie, and The Rock is surprisingly good at comedy when he's not in a shit-show sub-Ice Cube family jawn, so yeah, do the thing.
posted by klangklangston at 3:50 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Scott Pilgrim meant a whole goddamn lot to me because when I read it I saw myself in Scott and was horrified.

It was like, "Oh shit, O'Malley has absolutely nailed what it is like to be self-destructive to the people around you and be just getting by on charm alone. To be self-centered, and upset that nobody else is as focused on you as you are. To be a loser and to revel in it."

I connected with Scott Pilgrim in a way that bothered me deeply, because the only way this guy came back from that brink was by nearly falling off it, and I really didn't want to pursue that avenue of redemption.

Occasionally I like to reread the novels or rewatch the movie and think to myself, "near miss, near miss..."
posted by Imperfect at 5:45 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


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