When Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life debuted in 2004, it hit the comics industry like a hadoken to the chest. Combining slice-of-life romance with an irreverent sense of humor and video game-inspired action, the six-part Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels is equal parts poignant, thrilling, and absurd, following a 23-year-old slacker as he fights his girlfriend’s seven evil exes and finally learns to grow up. The series would eventually become a feature film directed by Edgar Wright and a side-scrolling beat-’em-up game by Ubisoft, making it a rare creator-owned comics property that fans can experience across a variety of media. The popularity of Scott Pilgrim has led Oni Press to reprint the graphic novels with coloring by acclaimed colorist Nathan Fairbairn, and with the final volume seeing print this month, O’Malley spoke with The A.V. Club to delve into each book of the series and how the story evolved over time.
The A.V. Club: What was the spark of inspiration for the Scott Pilgrim series?
Bryan Lee O’Malley: What was the spark? [Laughs.] It feels like so long ago. I feel like I have told the story too many times, but I always try to figure out what the actual truth was as opposed to recycling the same old canned narrative. I did this book called Lost At Sea that was my first graphic novel I did by myself. And when my friends read it, they were—it’s just not very fun. It’s an emotional story, and it wasn’t what my friends expected me to make based on my personality. So I set out to make something that would be more fun for me to work on and for my friends to read. [Laughs.]
Because it was the realization—when you do your first book, you’re just like, “This is my work.” And it’s just this whole other world that you throw yourself into, and you’ve never had anyone read your stuff before. So, yeah, I realized there is an audience even if it was just my friends and I just wanted to make them laugh and make them entertained. And then there is this time in my life where I was living in Toronto, and I was doing all this stuff, and I used all that stuff as the basis for this comic.
AVC: What are some of your biggest influences specifically in terms of comedy and action storytelling?
BLO: Hmm. For comedy, the first thing that comes to mind is always the Monkey Island games. They are really funny, and they hit me at the right time when I was like 11 or 12. I feel like that middle school age is the most open, or at least it was for me, the most open to input. And stuff that hit me during those few years, I still think about it all the time. So for comedy, yeah, Monkey Island games, the Sam & Max comics by Steve Purcell. And Weird Al Yankovic. I was just watching UHF the other day, and that kind of anarchist sense of humor had a huge impact on me. So I think that comes across a bit. I mean, I don’t know—it’s not like a straight line, but this kitchen sink philosophy is throwing stuff out there, and if I think it is funny, maybe someone else will think it is funny.
For action, the whole genesis of Scott Pilgrim is I wanted to draw some fight scenes, but the only fighting experience I have is playing Street Fighter. Street Fighter was basically my reason for existing in high school. [Laughs.] I loved it in the arcade, and then I bought a Super Nintendo to play Street Fighter at home, and I got a job to do that. That’s what set the whole ball rolling was my obsession with Street Fighter. So Street Fighter is pretty much the number one—and other kinds of fighting games, but pretty much all video games were fighting. In terms of comics, all I can think of is Frank Miller. There is a huge panel in Scott Pilgrim where I aped Frank Miller. I always liked the fight scenes in Dark Knight Returns and stuff.
AVC: Was it challenging to recreate the energy of a Street Fighter fight on a comic book page, or had you been practicing quite a bit?
BLO: No, it is still challenging. It was always challenging. If you look at book one, the fight scene that comes at the end of the book is, when I look at it, it is pretty shoddily drawn. The speed lines and stuff, I had never drawn anything like that before, so it’s very rough. That was kind of the tension of—I drew this book really quickly, which gives it its own energy. But yeah, it was still a challenge, and it was a lot of fun. When I look at the first book, I like the fight stuff in it, and it’s only a few pages, really, but it comes across pretty strong.
AVC: How did you figure out that balance of slice-of-life and fantasy elements? Did you have any trouble finding the right tone in this first volume?
BLO: I feel like I didn’t have any trouble whatsoever. It just kind of came out really quickly in finished form. This was my second graphic novel, but the first, Lost At Sea, was originally going to be a miniseries of comic books. So the pacing—[Scott Pilgrim] was the first book that I thought of as a graphic novel, and I thought I could make it totally slice-of-life and then just go crazy in the last 30 pages and pull the rug out. It is something I could do in that format that I couldn’t have done in a series—if it was a four-issue miniseries and then three issues are slice-of-life and the fourth one is crazy heightened, that wouldn’t work so well. But since it’s the first book, and it’s 160 pages, I could just kind go wild with it. I could do two-page spreads whenever I feel like it, and it’s a luxury of the longer format, which you don’t get paid as much for, or at least you didn’t back then. That is the tradeoff, I guess.
AVC: What was the impression of Scott that you wanted to leave the reader with at the end of this first volume?
BLO: I don’t know. [Laughs.] I don’t know if I really knew what any of the characters were. I drilled down into them as I went on. But it is like they seemed fully formed. I don’t think I knew the parameters of Scott fully yet. He became more defined as it went on.
AVC: How important is the Toronto setting, and specifically the Toronto music scene, to the overall story?
BLO: It wouldn’t exist without the Toronto setting. Or maybe it would. Maybe it would be exactly the same if I lived in another city. But it was the time and place where I was, and I thought, “If the world ends, I want to leave a record of whatever I’m up to in graphic novel form.” Even though I only lived in Toronto for three years, which seems crazy now, because life is longer than that.
AVC: When you were revisiting the series in color, what did you and Nathan Fairbairn discuss in terms of the coloring philosophy?
BLO: Well, the first one, since so much of it was established in the movie and the movie came out first, I basically just told Nathan to watch the first half hour of the movie a million times and do his own version of the palette of the movie. And the other thing, we started color-coding each book, so the first one is yellow. So there is a lot of yellow in the first book, and there is no real reason to do that other than it was just kind of a fun challenge. If you flip through it, you see a ton of yellow. If you flip through the second one, you see a ton of blue, and there is this color-coding based on the original covers.
AVC: At the end of the series, you find out Gideon has been tampering with Scott’s memories, and that is why moments like the flashback at the start of this volume are very exaggerated. Was that in your mind when you created this scene?
BLO: The writing process is complicated, but the flashbacks—I was still figuring out Scott’s character, so I just came up with all this stuff. Some of it I came up with at the beginning and some of it I came up with after volume one. So for the second, I wanted to do this flashback that was like a mini version of the first book where it’s 30 pages or whatever and it’s all super slice-of-life and then it goes 100 percent video game world at the end. It’s almost like a weird recap in a way. I just had to add the tone. And it gets into the backstory of Scott and Kim.
And then the thing with Simon Lee is I just wanted to make a villain look like me, and then I wanted to do it again with Gideon, and I realized it looked exactly the same before I even introduced Gideon so I had to play with that. I just kind of create problems and then I have to create a solution. That’s the thing about doing a serialized book. You don’t necessarily have every little thing planned out. Or something that seems small will get larger, and you have to weave it in a little more seriously than you thought you would.
AVC: You mention how you were still defining Scott’s character at this point, and this is the volume where you bring in more focus on his own ex-girlfriends. You have the Envy call, the flashback with Kim, and the break-up with Knives. How much of Scott’s character is defined by these women in his life?
BLO: Huh. [Laughs.] You’re asking the tough questions today. I think that’s what the whole book is about. It’s a romance story, so I focus on all his love interests past and present. I always wanted to explore them and figure them out. That was me figuring the world out. I’m 25, or whatever, and just trying to understand women. Obviously, that is a process that never ends.
AVC: These first two volumes feature some more experimental elements, like the song in the first volume with the chords you can play along with, and the cooking sequence in volume two. Why did you include those elements in the story, and why did that narrative shift away from those sorts of side gags?
BLO: I remember thinking that I just wanted to play with the printed page, stuff that could just be there and you can go back and look at it as many times as you want. So you can put it in the story without it really interrupting the flow too much. And then people can just have—it’s like value-added content. It’s also funny, or it was funny to me. Then as the story goes on, I started to concentrate more on narrative, and I started to veer away from that sort of thing. It’s just my development as a writer.
AVC: I was really impressed by the storytelling in the coloring with this volume. Things like the colors bleeding out when Scott breaks up with Knives, the bright red in that stalker Knives panel. And I really like the contrast when Envy calls Scott. How much input do you have in those kind of coloring decisions, or is that mostly in Nathan’s hands?
BLO: This one I was really hands-on with Nathan. Like that bright orange when Envy calls, and then there is that bright red when Knives is freaking out. There [are] a bunch more poster paint colors, and I started to encourage Nathan to do stuff like that. To think outside of realism a little bit. He’s a real stickler for representation and lighting and everything being—even though it is a cartoon world—believable. Which is great because you need to ground this story. But when it goes into these flights on fancy, I want the colors to do the same thing. So he started clicking with that kind of stuff. He started doing these really elaborate sunsets, which I am always insisting upon because I just love these anime skies. So Nathan just really started stepping up. Not like the first one was bad, but he really got inside of it.
AVC: Is it strange watching the movie and seeing the guy who plays Captain America as Lucas Lee? Pretty much all the actors in the movie have had strong careers after.
BLO: Yeah, it’s cool. That was before the Avengers thing started, so Chris Evans didn’t get Captain America until after this movie was done, but he had already been the Human Torch. Edgar [Wright] wanted a superhero to play the villain. That was kind of his conceit. But yeah, everyone has gone on to blow up in their own way, and it is really cool. I’m still good friends with a bunch of them, and it’s just really nice to see.
AVC: Why did you make Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriend Todd a psychic-powered vegan?
BLO: [Laughs.] I remember talking to someone who is vegan. At the time, I would hear a lot of outrageous claims from vegans about the good that being a vegan can do for you, for your health and whatnot. I remember someone once told me vegans don’t sweat, so I started my mind going. I’ve always loved Akira, and I’ve always loved the psychic-powered genre and also, like, Dragonball with his yellow hair. So it’s just one of those characters that came together. I wanted it to be like a bigger, better version of Scott, so he kind of became the most interesting of the exes to me. He wears a wristband, and he has similar eyebrows, and he has a better haircut and is more muscular and slightly better dressed.
AVC: I love how all the color reissues have pages of sketches that show how the fashion evolves. How much time do you spend researching fashion for all your projects, and how important do you feel fashion is for reflecting a character?
BLO: The amount of time I spend has gone up and up with every book I do. So volume three I didn’t spend—volumes two and three are the first ones where I started to pay attention, to collect looks for the characters. By volume six I was probably spending twice as much time just on Envy alone, just looking at outfits and figuring out exactly how to sell her as a character and an evolving character, too. So yeah, I think it is crucial. I probably have historically spent too much time thinking about it, and it’s like—at a certain point, it doesn’t really pay off anymore. I’m just wasting my time looking at fashion blogs, but, you know, I think everything has its place.
AVC: I think it makes a huge difference, and I love that there are a lot more artists that are paying attention to fashion, like Jamie McKelvie and Babs Tarr. Adrian Alphona draws some amazing clothes.
BLO: Yeah, I think younger artists grasp this intuitively in a way that people before—when I started out, a lot of people didn’t pay any attention to fashion or whatever, and clothes were just lines on a body that were kind of meaningless. I think the younger generation is a lot more fashion conscious—the Millennials, so to speak.
AVC: You have characters breaking the fourth wall throughout the book, and there are quite a few instances in this volume. Why do you have that element in the story?
BLO: I wanted the series to be irreverent and kind of postmodern. I was always into works like that when I was younger. One of my favorite authors in high school was John Barrs, who is this famous postmodernist where everything is like—the layers of reality are very cloudy. And in comics, Grant Morrison is a big influence. I was just always into that whole Ferris Bueller thing. Scott Pilgrim is like the Ferris Bueller-esque character although he is not as competent. So that was just a natural fit. I could do things like basing the sister on my sister and have fun with the universe.
AVC: These first volumes lean the heaviest on the live music element. Did you have any challenges evoking a certain sound without any audio? How does Nathan’s role change that when you are going back and re-coloring the series?
BLO: It’s hard to disentangle because of the movie, but there was no sound, and I didn’t really have a super-specific sound in mind for the band when I started out. I was really into comics like—there is this comic called Beck that is about a struggling band that I was super into when I was starting Scott Pilgrim. So the idea of representing music that you’re never going to hear in comics form is just like—this visual representation of sound and energy is something that comics do really well if you look at any Jaime Hernandez drawing of bands playing. The energy is natural to the cartoonist, I think. Then Nathan just like makes everything better, so I don’t know. I don’t know if specifically he makes music better, but he makes every scene better, and he loves special effects scenes, so he really likes to channel those. Volume three has some really cool stuff.
AVC: This is the volume where Scott starts growing up. Did his maturing as a character force you to change your approach as a storyteller?
BLO: Well, when I started volume four, it was the halfway mark, so the end is in sight. I just started thinking about what to do, how to actually wrap up the story. I had a general spine to the story with the exes, and there is an arc to it. He’s going to have to fight Gideon eventually, but I can get there any way I wanted, so the fourth book is like the ultimate Scott Pilgrim book, and it was kind of intended that way. It is supposed to be the most fun and the biggest, and everything is going to get darker after this one, so I just wanted to make this one the most generous of the books.
AVC: When did you decide that one of Ramona’s evil exes would be a woman and why?
BLO: Pretty much right away. When I was thinking up seven evil exes, I was like, “Two of them will be twins; one of them will be a girl.” That was obvious to me. So books four and five, I already knew that about them, but that is all I knew. And I had this season thing going, so four was summer, five was fall. Book one is winter and two is spring. And then six is back to winter.
AVC: Do you think Roxy brings out a different side of Ramona than the other exes?
BLO: In retrospect, I don’t know. I think the Roxy/Ramona relationship was underdeveloped in my mind, and I thought more about it as I was working on it. I always wanted to go back and add more backstory, but the book was already so long. I never did it. But I don’t know, because [Ramona] gets more involved in this one. She is fighting more. I think it is also a factor that their relationship is developing. She is taking more of an active interest in his activities. Which happens to be fighting her evil exes. So yeah, she is more involved, so that’s part of it too. Her attitude about Roxy is different too. She is more friendly with Roxy.
AVC: Scott’s high school friend Lisa Miller shows up in this volume. Why is Ramona more threatened by Lisa than she is by the other women in Scott’s life?
BLO: She can feel that Lisa is a threat. Lisa is a threat, and Scott doesn’t really understand that. But she shows up and she is really cute. She’s all over Scott, and it’s like a real thing that’s happening. Ramona is aware of it, but she is overreacting a little bit.
AVC: Because Scott is so oblivious, Ramona has to be very blunt about her feelings or else it will all just go over his head.
BLO: Yeah, exactly. Scott becomes the dumbest ever in this book.
AVC: This is the point where the movie diverges heavily from the comics. Was it weird seeing a different interpretation of the story on screen?
BLO: Yeah, generally, I like the first half of the movie better because it is more directly from my work. But basically what happened is they wrote the screenplay after the third book and when the fourth book was finished I sent it to them and they did a rewrite that was largely—the through line of it is based on the fourth book. So the big swordfight with Gideon at the end is based on the swordfight with Roxy in book four. And all the L-word stuff. There is a bunch of stuff that is in the movie, just not in the same way as the first three books were in the movie.
AVC: But one of the things I really like about the fact that the movie diverges so heavily is that the coloring in this volume can get really crazy because none of it is dictated by the movie. Like the neon psychedelic colors after Scott sees Roxy in Ramona’s apartment.
BLO: That one was all Nathan. And I just loved it. I was like, “This is great. Let’s just push this as far as we can.” I was pushing Nathan in this book to do a lot more contrasting colors. There is a scene where [Scott] is talking to Lisa at night, and the windows are this bright peachy color and the inside is dark. I had to really force Nathan to color it that way. Because he was like, “Oh, but if there is this much light outside, there would be all this cast light inside.” And I was just like, “Keep it dark inside and light outside. I think it is really cool.” It’s similar a few pages later—when he’s in Ramona’s head, it’s all purple, but then there is this splash of yellow. I was really getting into that. This is also while we were getting ready to do Seconds, so there is a lot of stuff like that in Seconds. I was kind of preparing him mentally to do the other book.
AVC: This may be the volume that leans heaviest on romance comic elements. What do you see as the primary value of the romance genre in American comics? It doesn’t get very much attention nowadays.
BLO: Yeah, I don’t know if I’ve ever read an American romance comic other than maybe, like—I would consider Love And Rockets a romance comic in a way. Volume four stuff is the most Rumiko Takahashi-ish. Ranma 1/2 was a huge influence on me, so this is the most Ranma-esque volume in my mind. It’s just like there are a lot of different threats and a lot of different love interests and it is all tangled up and I worked really hard on the script for this one. It’s like a romantic comedy and it’s like a complicated action story at the same time and I just wanted to really perfect the concept of Scott Pilgrim in this book and I wanted to really have fun with it. And as a result it is probably my favorite of all. It’s also the one where it’s the middle of the story—I could have kept doing volume fours of Scott Pilgrim forever if I wanted to. But I think the fact that it is positioned where it is in the series makes it interesting. There is a tension to it.
AVC: An early draft of volume five teamed up Scott’s absent brother Lawrence with the Katayanagi twins. Why did you change that plan?
BLO: It just felt like I was getting too far away from the story. Since it is the second to last book. If I kept doing volume fours forever, then I could have done stuff like that, but I need to actually get to some kind of closure, and introducing a whole slew of new characters in volume five would have been the wrong move. I think I wrote a whole draft, then completely scrapped it. And a lot of stuff actually ended up in the movie, too, because I sent it to Edgar and Michael Bacall, and they liked it. It had this whole battle-of-the-bands plot, and it was too complicated. It was long and a really harsh drop. At some point I was just like, “I need to just focus on Scott, Ramona, and Kim and cut to the heart of the story.” So this volume ended up being short. I think it is effective, but I wish I had fleshed it out a little more. I could have added like 20 pages, and it wouldn’t have suffered. But this one is my favorite in terms of the drawings, so I don’t know. I forgive it.
AVC: This one does feel more contained. It feels like it happens over a shorter period of time than the other volumes, and maybe that is just because you have the recurring party, so it feels like they are always at a party.
BLO: Yeah. Well, it’s like the world of Scott Pilgrim gets smaller here. And it’s reflected in the pages’ layouts. I started using more margins. His world is shrinking a little bit. Especially when you get to the last chapter in which Ramona leaves. It has these heavy margins all around. His world is getting smaller. That’s one of the threads of this volume.
AVC: When you were working on this book, the series was firmly a success and the film was being developed. Did you feel any pressure as the audience and the book’s profile continued to grow?
BLO: Yeah. Volume four was worked on in a vacuum, pretty much. When volume five came out, that was the first huge release that I had, so yeah, I guess working on it, I must have known that there was an audience. There was internet back then, so there is some stuff in here—at the end of the book, there are these fake-outs of people who might be Gideon, and those were all based on stuff that people were speculating [about] online. I was kind of playing with the audience at this point, and I was playing with Kim more—because she was a fan favorite—and putting her in more situations. People thought that Scott might end up with Kim, and I was like, “It’s not going to happen, but I’m going to fuck with you until the end.” So yeah, there was a back and forth. There was more of an audience response here.
AVC: You give a lot of focus to Ramona’s character in this chapter, to the point where Scott’s battle with her evil exes is literally in the background at one point while the action shows Ramona outside. Did you want to make sure she was fleshed out before that big final confrontation between Gideon and Scott?
BLO: Yeah, as it went on, I realized Scott doesn’t know anything about Ramona, and I knew barely anything about Ramona, so I just wanted to really learn about her. So volume five becomes as much Ramona’s story as Scott’s, and then in the end, we can bring them both together, and it works. Before volume five—this is another fan response thing—people didn’t like Ramona. People were all anti-Ramona. There was a lot of anti-Ramona sentiment in the fans. (Laughter.) Especially after the end of volume four, where there is a quick line where she says she made out with Roxy. And I didn’t delve into it. I just thought it was funny. But people did not agree with me. They were really upset. They were like, “Ramona is a liar, and she’s bad.” So I wanted to just really dig into Ramona. I was like, “I need to make people love Ramona, because I love her.” But maybe I didn’t explain her well enough. It was time for me to dig in.
AVC: You see a lot of Kim’s relationship with Scott and Ramona in this chapter. Why is she the friend that becomes closest to them as a couple?
BLO: I think Kim is lonely and needs a friend. Ramona happens to be the one, so there is like a—that’s kind of buried, it’s not really a strong plotline, but it is in there that Ramona and Kim would make good friends because they get along really well.
AVC: I don’t know if it was intended, but I always kind of thought that Ramona’s interest in Kim was a hint that she was bisexual.
BLO: Yeah, that was intentional, too. Like volume four, before Roxy shows up there’s a few references to lesbianism including obviously the kiss between Kim and Knives. It’s light and jokey, but it’s foreshadowing.
AVC: What was the biggest challenge you had going into the end of the story and wrapping things up? Was there anything that you wish you had covered that you didn’t?
BLO: Well, the movie was wrapped by the time I started writing the sixth book. So I had seen a rough cut of the movie. I knew where it went and where it ended, and I felt like I had to incorporate some of that. Like the production design—they designed the pyramid, and I was like, “I need to have a pyramid in my book.” So I was, in one way, building on the movie, and in the other way, I was free to diverge as much as I wanted. I was like, “Oh shit, the movie is done. That means they can’t take any stuff away from me. I can just have it all to myself, and I can do whatever I want.” So yeah, volume six, I just threw everything out and tried to get some closure.
The first few chapters are each about one of [Scott’s] ex-girlfriends or the women in his life, and then the rest of the book’s basically—he just fights Gideon and the aftermath. It’s the last book, so there are certain requirements, but overall it is pretty fun. I had a lot of fun going over it. It was the most stressful to make, probably, because the movie was coming out. I had a hard deadline because I wanted the book to come out before the movie. I was working with an assistant for the first time, and it was just a stressful time in my life. I feel like it could have used another rewrite or two before I started drawing, but I just didn’t have that luxury, so it’s like—it is what it is. There is some stuff held together with tape and glue, and the seams show in this book. I feel like I’m not that good at endings. It’s something I’m working on. I’m generally better at beginnings than endings. But I think that is probably normal.
AVC: When did you know that Stephen Stills was gay?
BLO: I think by volume four I knew. Basically, the friend that Stephen Stills was based on came out while I was working on these books, and I was like, “Whoa, should Stephen Stills come out too?” We had a conversation about it, and he was all for it. I started planting the seeds in volume four. If you go back and read it there are plenty of references that when you read it a second time you’re like, “Oh… he knew.” So I did know. It’s one of those few things that I actually did know, and I planted. But I just didn’t have a place to reveal it until literally the very end, so it kind of worked out that way. In retrospect, now when I go online and stuff, I feel like the books would not be as loved as they are if I didn’t have that scene where Stephen Stills is gay. That is just a weird intuitive sense that I have, that people really responded well to that.
AVC: Scott’s moral superiority is a recurring theme throughout the series, and in this volume, he has to come to terms with all the shitty things he’s done. You mention those scenes where he meets with all of the exes and makes amends. Why does he need to lose Ramona in order to finally do this?
BLO: I guess when you’re alone, you look at yourself more, and he resists that as much as possible, but it is kind of inevitable. And then, it is not like he seeks out his exes for the right reasons. He basically wants to have sex with them but doesn’t. [He] is unsuccessful and learns something through that. So yeah, it’s humor, and it’s whatever—it’s real life.
AVC: The reveals in this chapter change the entire series for me and force me to look at it as an exploration of perspective and how you can use the comic book medium to reflect a specific point of view. Did your perspective of the story change as you were working on it? And has it changed in the years since you finished it?
BLO: Well, every time I set out to write something, I tend to make it super dependent on the protagonist’s viewpoint. So I always say that Scott Pilgrim would be a completely different story if it was from anyone else’s point of view because Scott Pilgrim is the only one who sees this video game world. My other books are the same way. They are very subjective. As I got to the end of the series, I realized that some of the readership didn’t—they weren’t getting that and I needed to make it more explicit. So some of it is like—not course correction, but getting a little more on-the-nose with the conceit of the whole series and you making it super transparent.
My perspective on Scott Pilgrim: It is a book about a certain time in your life in your early 20s and the entanglements that come with that, so even as I was working on the book, I was getting older than Scott Pilgrim and looking back on it nostalgically or differently in each book. My viewpoint on being 23 or 24 kept changing as the years went by, so it’s like a time capsule at this point. 2003 or 2004, when I started the books, is a long time ago now. It’s like over a decade, and things have changed. Thankfully they have not changed so much that you can’t still understand what is going on in Scott Pilgrim, so I can keep selling books. Time passes, and it becomes the past, which is part of what the book is about. It’s about this moment, and it is a moment that is changing or passing even as it happens. Nothing is really static in the book. Everyone is evolving and changing and growing apart, and that’s part of the story. It’s part of the reason why I wanted to do a longer series like this—just to explore these characters over time and over changes.
AVC: Who is your favorite character in the whole series?
BLO: I think Ramona is my favorite. I always like Scott. I obviously didn’t hate him. It was easy to draw him 10 million times. Scott and Ramona were always the core to me and the most fun to draw.
AVC: How does it feel playing a side-scrolling arcade version of your story? Did you have any part in the creation of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game?
BLO: Yeah, I was involved. I was relatively hands-on. I wrote the endings for the game. All the dialogue and stuff. And I actually did a lot of the storyboards for the cutscenes. I was pretty involved. It was crazy to play it. I played it with my friend Jared [LeBoff], who is one of the producers on the movie. We played it for the first time together, and it was super weird. The second level is based on—it’s a movie shoot, which is like a movie that we shot, and also it is based on another movie that was shot in the same place that I saw like 10 years ago. I walked by a movie shoot that inspired me to do the movie shoot, but it actually happened to be the same producers that ended up doing Scott Pilgrim. And then the director is based on Edgar, and it’s like “Oh, there’s Edgar.” Yeah, it was weird. The layers of reality got really strange that day.