Please check out all of my older graphic novel reviews here.
Today’s graphic novel review:
Title: Scott Pilgrim
Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Publisher: ONI Press (2004-2015)
You might have read that I was at the American Library Association Conference this past June. Pop Culture Classroom/The Comics Education Outreach not only had a booth on the show floor, but we helped develop some educational programming.
One of the coolest things about the show was the number of publishers handing out samples of books for librarians and educators. But it hasn’t just been ALA where publishers have been kind to PCC and CEO; when publishers find out about the plans and goals of the non-profits, they usually want to help us out in some way and become a part of what we do. With that said, I would like to dedicate some weeks of this 365 day trek to certain publishers for donating time and books to us in our quest to help educators in the classroom.
This week I will focus on Oni Press.
Oni Press publishes what could be my favorite graphic novel series of all time: Scott Pilgrim, created by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
Scott Pilgrim is about a young guy (early 20’s), Scott Pilgrim that lives in Toronto and likes a girl: Ramona Flowers. But he has to fight/defeat her evil exes in order to be with her. There’s a lot more going on in the book than that, but that’s the basic story. Boy meets girl, boy has to destroy all of girl’s exes.
Here’s a brief timeline of the Scott Pilgrim awesomeness:
In 2004, Oni Press released the first Scott Pilgrim book of a six book series. These books were Manga-esque: smaller, soft cover trades in black and white, but they read like American comics from front to back, left to right. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s OK. Wait until I review a traditional Manga title and I’ll fill you in.
In 2010, Edgar Wright directed a live action film of the series starring Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim, and the film is incredible. This film is one of the best book-to-film adaptations I’ve ever seen. For sure they leave out stuff from the six-book series, but the edit is outstanding! I don’t recall leaving the theater as happy as I did the day I saw Scott Pilgrim on the big screen. I mean, a giant ape fights a two-headed dragon…
In 2012, Oni Press released the first hard-cover, full-color version of Scott Pilgrim book one. Holy cats…the transformation was super cool! The color books are bigger, hard-cover, and did I mention IN COLOR!? I have a class set of the hard-cover book one for my graphic novel class, and my school library has hard-cover copies of the rest of the series. When I teach this book, the library can’t keep the books on the shelf! The colors, the unique ways Byran Lee O’Malley plays with the images on the page…dude…
If you are interested in the specific content that I teach and discuss when using Scott Pilgrim in my classroom, I have study guide questions for book one under the Resources tab above. Feel free to check them out and use them!
I have had kids not dig the book. I’m sure you can sense my excitement over this franchise, and most of my kids love it, but there are a few that won’t connect to it, and for them, I weep.
In all of my convention going I have yet to meet Bryan Lee O’Malley. He doesn’t do a lot of the cons, and I’m sad for that. I’m holding out hope that one day I’ll meet Bryan Lee O’Malley and get him to sign my copy of Scott Pilgrim or maybe draw me as one of Scott’s teachers or something! Maybe he’ll ask me to help on the sequel?! I mean, I even directed a 30-minute competitive theatrical version of the book at my high school a couple of years ago! Here is the picture of my cast:
I do geek out. And as a teacher, you should be geeking out about what you teach as well. I know my excitement for what I teach rubs off on these kids. Teach books that you love, and most of your kids will love them too.
There may be some of you out there that have never heard of the Scott Pilgrim series, and I am jealous! You get to experience all of this with fresh eyes for the first time. Go get the color version of book one and get back to me; I want to know what you think!
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