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Saneman: In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Michael Cera is the ultimate Canadian superhero.
June 21, 2010 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Saneman: In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Michael Cera is the ultimate Canadian superhero. The article begins, "Before we talk about Michael Cera, or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, or Seth Rogen, or Loverboy, let’s talk about Alpha Flight."
posted by chunking express (101 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh hells yes.
posted by chunking express at 10:28 AM on June 21, 2010


YES LETS.
posted by GuyZero at 10:33 AM on June 21, 2010


I wish I still had my Alpha Flight turtleneck from when I was 8. The entire thing was comic panels over every inch. It's was a fashion nightmare.
posted by GuyZero at 10:33 AM on June 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


“The Stark Existential Horror of Honest Ed’s”

I really need to go buy this book. I know, I know. At least I'm not so behind that I'm signing it out of the library or something.
posted by GuyZero at 10:36 AM on June 21, 2010


All I know is that the comic book must be awesome, because a lot of people I know are excited about the trailers which make the movie look, IMO, just incredibly, Diablo Cody-level awful.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:37 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


the ultimate Canadian superhero

We did create Superman, you know. (Though, admittedly, Superman is crap.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:39 AM on June 21, 2010


The Beguiling (right behind Honest Ed's) is hosting a lauch party for the next book. (And the guy who posted that blog entry was the inspiration for Wallace in the books).
posted by jb at 10:44 AM on June 21, 2010


Imagine if Diablo Cody wrote well, but still in that self-consciously self-aware style, Bookhouse. The comic is pretty awesome, and the movie looks like it's maintained much of what made the comic work.

Also, Alpha Flight kicked ass.
posted by Etrigan at 10:46 AM on June 21, 2010


Though, admittedly, Superman is crap

YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH

YOU SHUT YOUR FILTHY FUCKING WHORE MOUTH

no really
posted by mightygodking at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


I hate Michael Cera, but I love Canadian superheroes! I'm so torn!
posted by fight or flight at 10:48 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


All I know is that the comic book must be awesome, because a lot of people I know are excited about the trailers which make the movie look, IMO, just incredibly, Diablo Cody-level awful.

The books are awesome. Also: This is not some Jason Reitman thing, it's Edgar Wright stupendousness.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:54 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Though, admittedly, Superman is crap.

Speechless.
posted by Superfrankenstein at 10:54 AM on June 21, 2010


Man I loved Alpha Flight as a youngun. I'm loath to go back and read it again because I went back and read a bunch of Byrne X-Men that I loved and was horrified.

I actually think the Scott Pilgrim movie looks pretty good. Admittedly, I've never read the comics. There's something about the manga style that just puts me off. But the movie looks breezy and fun.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:56 AM on June 21, 2010


Finally, I have a use for these.
posted by DaddyNewt at 10:58 AM on June 21, 2010


The comics are great. People need to go read them now.

Go. We can wait.
posted by chunking express at 10:58 AM on June 21, 2010


Though, admittedly, Superman is crap.

A pileon on a ridiculously broad, vague and flamebait-y statement? DON'T MIND IF I DO!

Have you read Morrison's All-Star Superman, SysRq? It's one of the single best series in the comics medium, ever. And it completely encompasses everything delightful about the character -- Clark and Superman both -- and the universe and tropes associated with him.
posted by griphus at 10:58 AM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


One conclusion, as reported by David Rakoff in Saturday Night, was that our comedic adroitness arose from a national “preference for the keen observation of others, rather than being keenly observed ourselves.”

This is completely backwards. No nation is as obsessed with talking about their own culture as Canada is. This article is a case in point. It's hard to find an issue of the Walrus, or even the Globe, without an article comparing Canadian culture to some indie actor or sleeper movie or trendy product. Canadians are so often freaked out that they don't have a strong and distinct national identity that it's become part of the national identity to proclaim that they have a strong and distinct national identity. The thing I associate most with Canadian culture is the phrase "Canadian culture."

I really hope the Scott Pilgrim movie doesn't suck. Michael Cera seems horribly miscast to me. Scott Pilgrim is supposed to be incredibly competent and witty, not a pubescent pile of awkwardness. I bought the complete set for my sister for her birthday and she devoured them. It was a great present for my Canadian friends and relatives; I'm a little sad that it's going to become so popular that I won't be able to use them as a secret out-of-nowhere present anymore. (I felt this after the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie came out too.)
posted by painquale at 11:02 AM on June 21, 2010 [10 favorites]


Yeesh, talk about a derail.

But Superman is crap because he's whatever the reigning writer wants him to be. He's a ludicrously oversized target that can never be pinned down. He really works best when he's the foil in someone else's story a la Dark Knight Returns.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:04 AM on June 21, 2010


All I know is that the comic book must be awesome, because a lot of people I know are excited about the trailers which make the movie look, IMO, just incredibly, Diablo Cody-level awful.

True fact: Edgar Wright and Diablo Cody were an item for a while. Not a public item, but they were seeing each other nonetheless. And Brie Larson is on The United States of Tara.

Odds of Diablo Cody having penned uncredited rewrites on this? Not bad.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:10 AM on June 21, 2010


Canadians are so often freaked out that they don't have a strong and distinct national identity that it's become part of the national identity A Part of Our Heritage to proclaim that they have a strong and distinct national identity.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:10 AM on June 21, 2010


I really hope the Scott Pilgrim movie doesn't suck. Michael Cera seems horribly miscast to me. Scott Pilgrim is supposed to be incredibly competent and witty, not a pubescent pile of awkwardness.

No no no no no. What books are you reading? He’s supposed to be a good fighter emotionally insensitive just kind of figuring out adult life dude. He is definitely not smart or clever, more skilled and lucky.
posted by edbles at 11:11 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Which still means Micahel Cera might be a miscast if he can't break free of the George Michael thing.
posted by edbles at 11:13 AM on June 21, 2010


All the excitement made me check out the books. The first one was pretty good. The second one was incredibly boring and confusing.
posted by DU at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2010


The Scott Pilgrim comics are fantastic. However, reading them provided my first and most crushing realization that I am no longer in my early 20s, and never will be again. So: awesome, but will almost certainly make onetime hipsters in their 30s feel terribly old.
posted by xthlc at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


We did create Superman, you know.

I'm not so sure about that, the most we can say is that a Canadian-born AMERICAN, at the time living in the US, did. It's kinda like our claim to James Naismith (a naturalized American) and basketball, invented in the US. I wish we'd stop taking credit for the achievements of everyone who passes through Canada.
posted by Kirk Grim at 11:19 AM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


22 comments ad no mention of THE Canadian Superhero: SHATMAN! (Disclaimer/Digression: I wrote a list of the 10 Most Overrated Stars - All Media five years ago and put Shatner at #1... and survived!)

No nation is as obsessed with talking about their own culture as Canada is.

It was Canadian TV's Local Content requirements that prompted SCTV to create the Great Canadian Stereotype that is THE MCKENZIE BROTHERS, eh? Doodoot Doodoo Doodoot Dooooo...
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:20 AM on June 21, 2010


The reasonable stalwart in a world gone mad?

Yes, my heart overflows with true patriot love as I anticipate our stalwart PM's reasonable tidings at the G20.

I am looking forward to that Honest Ed's scene though.
posted by Beardman at 11:20 AM on June 21, 2010


Yeah, I love Michael Cera but I'd rather he wasn't in it. Maybe he'll surprise me. I think every other casting decision in the movie is spot-on.

The trailers have me a little worried. But come on. It's Scott Pilgrim.
posted by zvs at 11:21 AM on June 21, 2010


It's one of the single best series in the comics medium, ever.

Gah, I thought All-Star Superman was awful. It was hideously technicoloured sugary trite cartoon junk food. By the time I finished the second volume I felt like I had eaten all the marshmallows from two boxes of Lucky Charms and then read the back of the box for three hours.
posted by oulipian at 11:22 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Michael Cera's still totally fucking wrong for the character and as more of an Edgar Wright fan than anything else I really hope he manages to pull this off. The international trailer was pretty good but the others just made me wish I was watching Kung Fu Hustle or something.

On the other hand Hot Fuzz had pretty shit trailers as I recall and that movie is great.
posted by furiousthought at 11:22 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Part of Our Heritage

I still remember the James Naismith one. Let's just cut the bottom out of that basket, shall we?
posted by Beardman at 11:23 AM on June 21, 2010


No no no no no. What books are you reading? He’s supposed to be a good fighter emotionally insensitive just kind of figuring out adult life dude.

Yeah, but he's a really competent and witty figuring-out-adult-life-dude. He's young and immature, but he's also a cool and fun guy; he's quick with quippy insults and he goes after what he wants. He's nothing like George Michael.

The best thing about the Scott Pilgrim comics is the dialogue. They all speak like real people.
posted by painquale at 11:25 AM on June 21, 2010


It's times like this and comments like that when I wish Metafilter had a "[-]" button.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:26 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Jews invented Superman. Nationality doesn't play into it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:31 AM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Okay maybe I need to re-read 4 & 5, but my overall impression is that his friends interact with him as something of a ditz. He’s good at rolling with the punches literally and figuratively, but often is confused and needs to be caught up or have explained to him what’s going on around him. Although that may be more a not paying attention type thing. He’s good with the quippy insults in a battle. Not really all that quick on the draw in real life.
posted by edbles at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ugh. Trailers look pretty bad. (Disclaimer: I tolerated Shaun of the Dead OK (wife loved it) and I didn't care much for Hot Fuzz. I suppose I am already old.)

Only then does he learn that to win her love he has to defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends in armed combat. (One of whom — spoiler alert — turns out to be a girl.)

I guess it's the premise that sounds stupid. I think maybe a comic book could pull it off, but a movie would have to do a really good job of it. Who knows, maybe it will ...

(From the two second snippet in the trailer, the girl exappears to be Mae Whitman, or Anne from AD.)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2010


I just realized why I was a little resistant to Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim -- Pilgrim wants everyone to like him, while Cera's usual character seems to be more resigned to the idea that people don't like him.

But I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt based on the trailers so far.
posted by Etrigan at 11:38 AM on June 21, 2010


Ugh. Trailers look pretty bad. (Disclaimer: I tolerated Shaun of the Dead OK (wife loved it) and I didn't care much for Hot Fuzz. I suppose I am already old.)

Yeah, I have a feeling that Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are going to look like quiet thoughtful slice-of-life pieces compared to the explosion of color, light, noise and sound that will be Scott Pilgrim.

I cannot fucking wait.
posted by edbles at 11:40 AM on June 21, 2010


On the other hand Hot Fuzz had pretty shit trailers as I recall and that movie is great.

God I love Hot Fuzz. The first time I watched it I got to the part where the conspiracy is outed and it seemed like the denouement and I was like 'Wait that's it? That's the whole movie?' and then there was another hour that was all shooting and exploding.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:41 AM on June 21, 2010 [12 favorites]


But Superman is crap because he's whatever the reigning writer wants him to be.

It's not that, because than you could say the same thing about Batman or X-Men or just about any DC or Marvel comic franchise that has existed.

I never read Alpha Flight but I always think the of the team leader Guardian when I think of them. But than my mind somehow switches him out with Captain Britain and than I think of Captain America and how all three wear a flag for a suit.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2010


Oh, here's the very awesome original, BTW.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:44 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, he is something of a ditz. I guess I'm mischaracterizing him. I don't mean to make him sound like James Dean or anything. I was referring to his banter with his friends and roommate when I called him quippy, not his battle talk... but I guess everyone in that comic is written to be articulate, so he doesn't come across as anything particularly special.

Maybe that's what I mean. Scott's nothing special in the fictional world he's set in (aside from his fighting prowess), but everyone in that world is better realized than young people in almost any other medium. Most of the time, if you refer to a person in a comic or TV show as capable or witty, you mean that he's a cartoonish caricature of capability and wit. Scott Pilgrim is as capable and witty as a real capable and witty person (like most other characters in the comic). I've only seen Michael Cera play cartoons of some type or other.
posted by painquale at 11:45 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


We did create Superman, you know.

Don't believe everything you see in those Heritage Minutes, kids.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:46 AM on June 21, 2010


'Stark' isn't the first adjective that comes to mind when I think of Honest Ed's.
posted by Flashman at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2010


Bookhouse : All I know is that the comic book must be awesome, because a lot of people I know are excited about the trailers which make the movie look, IMO, just incredibly, Diablo Cody-level awful.

I haven't read the comics, and like many of the others here, the main reason I'm excited is Edgar Wright. Between Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz the guy can do no wrong in my eyes. Now, admittedly, both Pegg and Frost were a big part of what made those other projects so awesome, and their absence might be felt here, but the Wright has some real skill and I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt and jump headfirst without hesitation.

Plus, it's got Chris Evans, who just keeps putting out character after character that I dig.
posted by quin at 11:53 AM on June 21, 2010


The movie sucks largely because in it, Cera plays Pilgrim as George Michael -- a sort of wide-eyed milquetoast. Scott Pilgrim, in the (spectacularly good) comics, is dumb as hell and often insensitive, but charming and kinetic and engaged enough to just BAAAAARELY pull off being a good friend and boyfriend. But in the film, almost none of Scott's sort-of-delightful obliviousness comes through Cera's always-worried-about-everything neuroticism. Weirdly, I think Seann William Scott is actually the actor who best personifies the kind of clueless friendliness of Pilgrim, though he's both too old and too muscley to be appropriate for the role.

That said, my favorite character in the books is Wallace, and Culkin does a fucking fantastic job with his character.

As far as the article goes, I pretty much think painquale's comment about Canadians and their Canadian Identity is pretty much spot-on.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:53 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Michael Cera is really really good at one thing. He might be good at more but so far he hasn't really needed to bother.

The idea of Diablo Cody is annoying but in practice she isn't bad. Juno was a very good movie that was also sort of annoying.

It seems really strange that so many of the best comic books are about how silly comics are.
posted by I Foody at 11:59 AM on June 21, 2010


Juno was a very good movie that was also sort of annoying.

I had exactly the opposite take on it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:05 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


then there was another hour that was all shooting and exploding.

That's what I'm talkin' about.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:06 PM on June 21, 2010


Scott Pilgrim is not clever. Case in point: an insult by Scott Pilgrim:
You suck, surprising no one!!!! If bad was a boot, you'd fit it!!!! You're a stupid poo-poo head! I had sexual relations with your mother! Your mother was not that good in bed! You, sir, are a wretched soul! I am rubber, you are glue!
posted by NoraReed at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Weirdly, I think Seann William Scott is actually the actor who best personifies the kind of clueless friendliness of Pilgrim

He even has the same hair.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:13 PM on June 21, 2010


Yeah, Scott Pilgrim always came off as one of those "just cool enough to coast" kind of guys- and once you get to know him, you're just like, "Oh, you're a flake. A nice guy, but a flake."

Cera doesn't work for me, because he's just a little too dorky looking for the part.
posted by yeloson at 12:13 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Scott Pilgrim, in the (spectacularly good) comics, is dumb as hell and often insensitive, but charming and kinetic and engaged enough to just BAAAAARELY pull off being a good friend and boyfriend.


This. Also Greg Nog you have made me soooo sad. Although I will proably watch it anyway in order to be able to bitch.
posted by edbles at 12:14 PM on June 21, 2010


NoraReed has convinced me to drop the attributions of cleverness and wit to Scott Pilgrim. I think you guys are right; he's more flaky than I'm letting on.
posted by painquale at 12:27 PM on June 21, 2010


The idea of Diablo Cody is annoying but in practice she isn't bad. Juno was a very good movie that was also sort of annoying.

You obviously haven't watched Jennifer's Body. And Juno was saved by excellent acting. That movie was terrible on a lot of levels. (including offensive musical concept. Stop name-checking punk rock bands then playing horrible hipster folk)

Diablo Cody may well pull some talent out of her ass, but right now she's in a one-idea downward spiral.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:29 PM on June 21, 2010


Scott Pilgrim always came off as one of those "just cool enough to coast" kind of guys- and once you get to know him, you're just like, "Oh, you're a flake. A nice guy, but a flake."

One of the things I LOVE about the comic is the constant dour presence of Kim Pine; without her, I think I'd be worried that O'Malley is trying to portray Scott as some kind of exemplar, but the fact he's got Kim constantly looking disappointed makes it clear that Scott's just one of those dudes who's always simultaneously super-fun and incredibly frustrating to interact with. There's very little authorial judgement passed on the characters' moralities, overall; like, for as much as the story's about Pilgrim KICKING ASS and BEING AWESOME, O'Malley stops short of saying that he's ever doing the right things.

In fact, one of the other problems I had with the movie (among many really small ones) was the portrayal of Lucas Lee; in the comic, he's actually kind of an okay guy, just stuck in the position of The Famous Ex-Boyfriend, resigned to playing his part. In the movie, he's more actively malicious. Which doesn't really make as much sense as his character in the comic; he's got no major grudge against Ramona or Scott, he's famous and sexy and does what he loves, he just kinda got conscripted into The League. The comic doesn't require you to actively dislike the villain, and seems perfectly aware that its characters in The Quest To Defeat The Exes are more or less fully-rounded human personalities who've been kludged into the character-roles of an NES side-scroller.

I will proably watch it anyway in order to be able to bitch.

I'm looking forward to more people seeing it mainly so that I have other partners in bitchery!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:33 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ultimate Canadian Superhero?!?

WOOOLVERIIIIINE! Nuff Said, BUB! SNIKT! HE'S GONNA CARVE YOU INTO HAMBURGER!
posted by straight at 12:53 PM on June 21, 2010


This is driving me nuts... what the hell is on his shirt? Is it Beat Happening or... garr! I'm gonna stab myself if I don't know and shoot myself at the ofcourseitisofness of it. :(
posted by dobbs at 1:00 PM on June 21, 2010


Smashing Pumpkins.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:01 PM on June 21, 2010


(link)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:02 PM on June 21, 2010


No, the ultimate Canadian superhero is Deadpool. I mean, c'mon. An insane amoral unkillable mercenary with a Bea Arthur fixation. That's WAY cooler than a short hairy dude with claws.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:03 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Though, admittedly, Superman is crap

The comics and movies may vary in quality, but the real Superman is AWESOME
posted by jtron at 1:17 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think most of you need to reread the books. Scott is cool in his own head. Lucas wasn't conscripted by the League--he was barely allowed to join. Etc.

Scott IS Canadian, though. I'll give you that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:29 PM on June 21, 2010


Psht. Everyone knows the ultimate Canadian superhero is Captain Newfoundland!
posted by oulipian at 1:35 PM on June 21, 2010


The video game, with animation from Paul Robertson (The animator behind 'Kings of Power') looks awesome.
posted by delmoi at 1:45 PM on June 21, 2010


Lucas wasn't conscripted by the League--he was barely allowed to join. Etc.

Whoa, really? I don't remember that at all, but it's been a while. I guess I should brush up again. Still, he struck me as being a way more reasonable guy in the comic.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:47 PM on June 21, 2010


Thanks, Sys Rq. I don't feel nearly as bad as I thought I would.
posted by dobbs at 2:13 PM on June 21, 2010


Oh yeah, forget the movie, that video game looks sweet. (But hopefully it won't play as repetitively as it looks it might.)
posted by painquale at 2:13 PM on June 21, 2010


I owned (and perhaps still own) the entire original run of Alpha Flight.

I posit that it was among the most blood thristy comic books of its time. The line-up described in the article last barely one year. Famously, Guardian packed it in during issue #12 (exploding in front of his wife when he couldn't depower his suit). Sasquatch had to be killed by Snowbird, who in turn had to be killed by Vindicator (Guardian's wife, now wearing his deadly suit). Marina, who was promoted to Alpha Flight, turned into some giant beast and swam off. Northstar started wasting away due to AIDS the fact that he and Aurora had elf blood, so they had to move to Asgard or something. Aurora also had MPD or some such and was basically a total loon half the time.

I recall at one point the team basically consisted of Box (a robot created by a dude who died, powered by Madison Jeffries, who could make machines do whatever he wanted them to), Puck (who it turns out was only short because he was housing a demon in his body) and Vindicator.

The folks who killed original Guardian? They were trainees of Alpha Flight who went bad. About half of that group died, too. The best death was this dude named Flashback. He had the ability to summon future versions of himself to the past to help him do whatever he needed to do. One of his future selves was helping fight Guardian when the boss villain killed that future self. Flashback immediately realizes he just watched his own death and goes a little nuts. Good times.

Then, towards the end of the series, the characters just started getting silly. There was Manikin who could summon three of his "genetic relatives" - a caveman, a blob of protoplasm and a future dude. Twins Goblyn and Pathway who... well, when their parents realized Goblyn was going to be born a mutant, they decided to abort that one twin, so fetus Pathway teleported her to a safe dimension. Really. And Persuasion, daughter of The Purple Man, whose main power, other than being purple and giving the colorist a little bit of extra work, had something to do with mind control.

Technically, those characters were all members of "Beta Flight," but they dominated some of the later story lines - perhaps to allow Heather/Vindicator to play vengeful mother. Who knows.

Towards the end, I spent a lot of time reading Alpha Flight and asking myself "why am I still reading this?"

I still don't think I have an answer for that question.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:38 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't remember his name, but there was one guy in Alpha Flight who could control matter (and once pulled someone inside out using just his mind!) but had decided to dig ditches for a living instead of being a superhero. I always liked him best, personally.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:38 PM on June 21, 2010


I have no idea why this post inspired people to hate and piss on and bitch about both Diablo Cody and Superman, but as a fan of both I'm not sure what either have to do with anything. Total derail.

Also, Alpha Flight was live when I was collecting comics in earnest. It looked cool but I never picked it up.

And Scott Pilgrim is pretty great. I had written it off as an anglo manga-wannabe and not given it a shot. I was visiting San Francisco a few years ago and went into Isotope (incredible comics shop!!!) and asked what I later figured out was the owner for some recommends, and Scott Pilgrim was among them. I did what I do in that instance and opened the book and took a random scene, laughed, and I've dug his work since. The movie seems like it could be fun. Cera actually seems right to me, there's a doofish, aimless melancholy that I think is right for the Pilgrim character.

I am a bit alarmed at how many comics are getting turned into movies before they actually finish their runs. As I understand it that was the case with Kick-Ass as well as Scott Pilgrim. I can't help but think that the attention fucks with the creation of the work as a comic, but that's pure speculation on my part. What I mean is, if the comic is merely the script and storyboards for the movie, it somehow tainted. But I'm real happy to see Scott Pilgrim's creator get a windfall, so I should shut up about it.
posted by artlung at 2:40 PM on June 21, 2010


Also, why can't we have nice things? Canadian Superheroes category deleted from wikipedia.

Canadian Superheroes page from Canadian Libraries and Archives
posted by artlung at 2:46 PM on June 21, 2010


Whoa, really? I don't remember that at all, but it's been a while. I guess I should brush up again. Still, he struck me as being a way more reasonable guy in the comic.

I haven't seen the movie, but there's one line in the trailer that hints at that. He's bound to be drawn in shorthand of course. That's a lot of material to pack in. I'm sure we're not going to get the break for lunch.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:53 PM on June 21, 2010


Scott is cool in his own head.

Side note - Bryan Lee O'Malley, when it was mentioned that Scott Pilgrim looks quite different on the covers of the books to how he looks inside the books, said that the covers show Scott's self-image - hence the heroic poses.

One interesting thing about the books is that, although we're told that he's the best fighter in the province, Pilgrim does quickly get exposed as provincial, which may tie in to the article's theme. He beats the first evil ex handily, but it's pretty clear that he's going to get minced by most of the others in a straight fight, and has to find or luck into opportunities to deceive, disempower, outnumber or distract them. Scott Pilgrim's out of his depth most of the time, but he often doesn't realise it. Cera tends to be cast as somebody who is out of their depth and knows it, which I think is going to make his performance as Pilgrim interesting.

Still, he struck me as being a way more reasonable guy in the comic.

(Lucas Lee is a sellout in the comics, incidentally, Greg - he does invite Scott to his trailer for refreshments and to talk, but it's leading up to asking for a bribe to throw the fight. So, he's reasonable if you see wanting to get paid to avoid a fight as reasonable, which it would be in the real world but probably isn't in the Pilgrimverse.)
posted by DNye at 3:01 PM on June 21, 2010


I've never read Scott Pilgrim--I find the visual style really offputting--and I don't think I've seen anything with Cera in it, but I was a big fan of Alpha Flight back in the day. Obviously, Saneman is right in that the original team was very let's-collect-all-the-regional-stereotypes-in-one-group (although his version of a similarly-stereotypical American team might have been better informed if he'd cited New Statesmen, a little-remembered post-Watchmen series from the late Eighties that had each state with its own superhero, an idea that was revived by Marvel many years later with the Fifty State Initiative, which would have each state have its own team of Avengers). To me, though, the real distinguishing characteristic about Alpha Flight is that, during Byrne's 28-issue run on the title, every character either had something majorly traumatic happen to them or had such an event established as part of their backstory. It's like he was in a competition with Chris Claremont to see how messed-up he could make his team.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:06 PM on June 21, 2010


Superman? Wolverine? No way. Canada's greatest superhero is most definitely Mr. Canoehead.
posted by Hutch at 3:07 PM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


IIRC Box's superpower was really that he could manipulate any metal object with his mind. His brother, of course, could do the same thing with human flesh, was a doctor and of course lost his mind when deployed to a war zone trying to reanimate the dead.

every character either had something majorly traumatic happen to them or had such an event established as part of their backstory. It's like he was in a competition with Chris Claremont to see how messed-up he could make his team.

Basically.
posted by GuyZero at 3:10 PM on June 21, 2010


Canadians are so often freaked out that they don't have a strong and distinct national identity that it's become part of the national identity to proclaim that they have a strong and distinct national identity.

Umm, no. I think federal politicians wring their hands about this because they're always in the odd position of having to sell Canada to Canadians. Canada is one of the most decentralized nations in the world, where each sparsely populated, inconsequential province has its own inexplicable history.

The only things I believe Canadians really share with each other is the Garrison mentality, and a broad set of social values. People are pragmatically patriotic here about the quality of the society and government. Nevertheles, the cultural ties along north south axes (BC-Washington vs Ontario-New York) are often stronger than the east-west Canadian ones.

The article is a little flaky, but the observations are fairly correct. I remember I read an interview one time wherein someone described Toronto as the wallflower of the world. I really liked that, and I think to varying degrees this can apply to the rest of the country too.
posted by Alex404 at 3:14 PM on June 21, 2010


Oh and I can't believe no one mentioned Captain Canuck yet!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 3:14 PM on June 21, 2010


On review, what Joey Michaels said, with these additions to his list that covers just Byrne's run on the book:

Northstar: saw his father figure killed by Deadly Ernest; is also exposed as a former FLQ member.

Aurora: has various vulnerabilities (can't leave Canada, something about something bad happening if she bleeds (a real liability for a superheroine), risks getting taken over by the personalities of the animals that she becomes).

Puck: almost disemboweled by Marrina, out of the book for a while.

Shaman: former medical doctor who couldn't save his wife's life, for which his daughter hates him and is alienated from him for quite some time.

Talisman: the daughter mentioned above.

Box: has no legs.

Heather Hudson: blames herself for her husband blowing up (in front of her) because she interrupted him as he was trying to defuse the power pack on his suit.

Fun times, baby.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:19 PM on June 21, 2010


Lucas Lee is a sellout in the comics, incidentally, Greg - he does invite Scott to his trailer for refreshments and to talk, but it's leading up to asking for a bribe to throw the fight.

I know! I love that! I find him sort of adorable!
posted by Greg Nog at 3:26 PM on June 21, 2010


Durr, I meant "Snowbird" when I typed "Aurora" above.

Also, GuyZero, the original Box was a guy named Roger Bochs; Madison Jeffries used his machine-manipulating talents to improve on the design, and later took over the role.

Also also, I ended up dropping the book when Puck was retconned (as Joey Michaels mentions) as having been a normal-sized guy who ended up being a sort of living scabbard for the demonic Black Blade, which turned him into a dwarf. No, really. Apparently, Bill Mantlo (who took over the book from Byrne, along with Mike Mignola--well before his superlative work on Hellboy--on art) felt that he had to come up with some explanation for why Puck was in more-or-less-continuous pain, without realizing (as Byrne himself pointed out some time later) that people with achondroplasia often have chronic pain as a result.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:30 PM on June 21, 2010


makes it clear that Scott's just one of those dudes who's always simultaneously super-fun and incredibly frustrating to interact with.... O'Malley stops short of saying that he's ever doing the right things.

Yep. Exactly. Despite the craziness of the videogamey/rpg/anime references, the relationships and personalities are all "people you know", and it gives the series weight.
posted by yeloson at 3:46 PM on June 21, 2010


Guy Zero, thanks -- the guy I referenced before was Lionel Jeffries, aka. Scramble, The Mixed Up Man, quite possibly the most Chronenbergian superhero ever.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:18 PM on June 21, 2010


Incidentally, if we're looking for the greatest Canadian superhero ever, can we look past Major Maple Leaf? A mountie whose powers actually came from his magic horse? He apparently died the last time Alpha Flight were wiped out.
posted by DNye at 5:37 PM on June 21, 2010


Lionel Jeffries, aka. Scramble, The Mixed Up Man

Scramble, I should add, was responsible for rebuilding Roger Boch's legs (from dead body parts). He (like Sasquatch) had some sort of affair going with Aurora. Boch's new legs sort of started to itch and rot (when I watch Gaeta constantly scratching his stump on BSG, I flashed on Boch) and eventually Bochs went nuts, merged with Scramble to form a icky creature named Omega, and Madison Jeffries (brother of Scramble) had to put him down.

You know, it kind of pains me that I know this much about Alpha Flight. And don't even get me started on the Manslaughter era Defenders.

/hidden shame
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:17 PM on June 21, 2010


Towards the end, I spent a lot of time reading Alpha Flight and asking myself "why am I still reading this?"

You've just made me very happy that I stopped reading Alpha Flight before you did. All my memories of it are from the early issues, which I quite enjoyed.

Also, people are talking about a trailer of some sort but I've seen no links to it. Where is this alleged trailer hidden?
posted by scalefree at 8:27 PM on June 21, 2010


Madison Jeffries is in the X-Club now, the X-Men's science team and one of the major reasons my tolerance for the post-M-Day Marvel mutant ratscrew has lasted this long.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:43 PM on June 21, 2010


I will always love the Beaubier Twins. The rest of Alpha Flight is interesting (well, never dull) but Northstar and Aurora wound up as my favourite Marvel superheroes and no one has unseated them since.

Though, I could have done without knowing that Cera still lives in Brampton. Weird.
posted by far from gormless at 9:02 PM on June 21, 2010


The thing that has me scratching my head is this - how are they going to deal with the sheer incongruousness of the Scott Pilgrim universe? I mean, the various 'powers' that people draw on - the way vegans become psychic, and Ramona can open doors through time and space, etc.? It seems that it would be hard to just play it straight in a film, that they'd need to somehow flesh out why everyone seems to be normal teenagers at one point and superhumans the next.

When I first read the comics, actually, I thought the over-the-top violence was some sort of metaphor for the emotions involved, and then I stopped beanplating and just lay back and enjoyed the trip. But I can see a lot of people walking out of the theater after a Scott Pilgrim film scratching their heads....
posted by AdamCSnider at 9:06 PM on June 21, 2010


Also, people are talking about a trailer of some sort but I've seen no links to it. Where is this alleged trailer hidden?

There's this site called YouTube ...
posted by mrgrimm at 10:31 PM on June 21, 2010


It says a lot about Alpha Flight that Wolverine- Mr. "Oh you have a team book? Let me make myself at home"- stayed the hell away. When the number-one crossover slut in the Marvel universe won't touch you, it's time to throw in the towel.

And what the hell is with Wolverine anyway? Is he the superhero equivalent of the guy who doesn't have a home so he keeps crashing on his friend's couches?
posted by happyroach at 11:02 PM on June 21, 2010


I just had a moment of epiphany. See, until I'd read the article, in which a Canadian painstakingly, yet politely pointed it out to me, I'd never really gotten the name Puck. I guess for some reason, A Midsummer Nights Dream played more of a role in my comic book reading childhood than hockey. Never having really read Alpha Flight, they still managed to pop up around the X-Men enough for me to sort of know them. And now, 20 years later, I finally get the joke.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:36 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


the original team was very let's-collect-all-the-regional-stereotypes-in-one-group

Does anyone remember The Collective Man?
posted by stinkycheese at 5:06 AM on June 22, 2010


It says a lot about Alpha Flight that Wolverine- Mr. "Oh you have a team book? Let me make myself at home"- stayed the hell away.

Well, there was a time that Logan wasn't in every team outside of Power Pack. And besides Guardian's and Alpha Flight's appearances in Uncanny X-Men before their book launched, there was an appearance by Logan (non-fighting) in Alpha Flight right after Guardian died. But it's one thing for him to pinch-hit in the Avengers (the X-Mansion is in Westchester County, basically a suburb of New York City) and another to have to commute to Ottawa or wherever AF was supposed to be headquartered.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:39 AM on June 22, 2010


Does anyone remember The Collective Man?

Yeah... he was introduced as part of Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions, Mark Gruenwald's effort to show that other countries besides the U.S. had superheroes of their own; besides pre-existing characters like Sasquatch, he introduced the likes of Shamrock from Ireland (she was lucky) and, I kid you not, Germany's entry, a lightning-powered guy named Blitzkrieg. You know who else...
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:49 AM on June 22, 2010


The idea of Diablo Cody is annoying

...on more levels than one. I get that people in entertainment use stage names, but.. really? Calling yourself "Diablo Cody" or "Badass Custer" or "Billy the Kid Hugedick" instead of a name that a person might actually have marks you quite properly as an object of ridicule.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:53 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


now, 20 years later, I finally get the joke.

Puck.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:48 AM on June 22, 2010


And what the hell is with Wolverine anyway? Is he the superhero equivalent of the guy who doesn't have a home so he keeps crashing on his friend's couches?

Wolverine is the Fonz of the Marvel Universe. Seems like this cool, older, worldly guy until you realize he's an adult hanging out with teenagers and then he just seems pathetic.
posted by straight at 8:21 AM on June 22, 2010


He probably has a switchblade comb, too.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:05 AM on June 22, 2010


"(I used to joke that were a similar superhero band ever assembled in the US, it would feature Egghead, an eastern elite smarty-pants; Corn Husker, an Iowan who wields deadly boomerang cobs; and the Southern Gentleman, a courtly racist from Alabama who dresses like Colonel Sanders.)"

I want to read that comic.
posted by homunculus at 9:18 AM on June 22, 2010


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