Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim's finest hour

Lets get this out of the way. It's tough for me to talk about Scott Pilgrim Finest Hour in any sense that even approaches objective.

There’s some art that just syncs up with your life. People talk about how when Harry Potter ended, so did their childhood. That particular series never had that kind of synchronicity with me. I didn’t start reading it until the middle of high school. Pilgrim though? Oh man that hit the sweet spot for maximum possible impact. I discovered that first volume the year I first lived on my own. And the last finds me at a major cross roads in my life.

I don’t know if Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, is Scott Pilgrim’s actually finest hour. I suspect that title will always belong to the wounded and lovely Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe. I mean come on, last night I compared that particular piece to The Searchers and Pickpocket, and if that doesn’t suggest that I hold it in high regard I don’t know what does.

I’ve heard a lot of opinions voiced on Volume Six and can more or less understand all of them. There are moments that made me want to cheer, and artistic decisions that I just plain don’t get. It feels both as if O’Malley is running through a check list, and doesn’t have enough time to do everything he wants (and at six volumes and thousands of Pages I have to hand it to him. Never once did it look like he was running out of ideas)

Structurally speaking final volumes of anything are built to disappoint. Early installments exist in a vacuum. Their discovery is a happy accident, the closing chapters bear the weight of expectation that increases exponentially with each new chapter. The reason why that rare work of art that does stick that impossible landing become so cherished is their rarity. For every Return Of The King there are a dozen X Files Series Finales.

Still success or failure, best or worst (and I’ve heard both opinions voiced) when I closed the cover on the last page I felt as if I was closing a chapter on my own life. And its not every day that a piece of art will do that to you.

Finest Hour is a work of fiction about letting go of fictions. It's about facing who you are and what you’ve done, taking responsibility for it, and trying again anyway. It’s epic, goofy, heartfelt and funny. Bitingly ironic and blisteringly sincere (The two reach synthesis with the fearlessness with which O’Malley has always literalized his metaphors. It takes powerful faith in your readers investment to literally heal a characters wounds with the power of love). In short it’s a glorious mess, and a perfect microcosm for the series.

So to Bryan Lee O’Malley, and all the rest I can only say thank you. Of Scott Pilgrim, and his wonderful world, and their supporting cast I can only say what I can only say about the fictions I most cherish. I will miss them all terribly.



Scare Sarah said...

Aw, don't be sad. I must say I hadn't heard of this. Looks cool though.

Bryce Wilson said...

I think I'll get over it.

But thanks for the concern. ; )

AK said...

"Scott Pilgrim for those poor bastards who don’t know, is the story of the titular hero."
I'm one of those poor bastards and feeling a bit out of the loop (the last graphic I read was Gaiman's Sandman, and that had to be about 10 yrs ago). I've been hearing a lot of good about the upcoming movie, though, and don't know what to think--see the movie,or(to judge from your thoughts) read the books first? (I ALWAYS like the book more than the movie, but generally have to see the film first, because friends/nieces/nephews want to see it NOW!)
Either way, however it goes, this is revelatory writing on your part. For real, I'm so impressed.

Bryce Wilson said...

Thanks Rob. That means alot. I put a bunch into this one.

Fortunately, SP is one of the ones where you might not have to choose.

Based on what I've seen the movie looks like one of those rare adaptations that's unique enough to stand on its own, but faithful enough to be satisfying.

I have faith in Wright.

The books are quick reads though. So if you can get your hands on them, I'd say they're worth checking out.