View Full Version : Scott Pilgrim and Sharknife
06-14-2005, 10:19 PM
.... Not sure if I "Get" them. I was expecting some thing more... well, innovative. Judging from the rave reviews everyone here seemed to give them. So far, in the Scott Pilgrim one "Precious little life" I'm guessing that the innovation was the dialogue and the story that didnt seem to really go anywhere untill the last 5 pages or so. All of a sudden everyone has super kung fu powers or something. What am I missing?
Sharkinfe gave me a headache the first 5 pages and I opted for reading it when I wasnt on the can so I could concentrait on it more, but so far, its a very busy and a touch difficult to make out just what the heck is happeing in the frames....
Seems more exciting than Scott Pilgrim though.
crap, does this mean Im getting old?
06-15-2005, 06:48 AM
There is already a thread on Scott Pilgrim here in Comics Analysis, right over here:
If you'd like to give a full review of Sharknife, that would be great. But otherwise this is really more of a general discussion type topic.
In non-mod mode now, I haven't read Sharknife, but I obviously think Scott Pilgrim is the cat's meow. The dialogue is great, yes. But where the innovative part comes in, for me at least, is in the story construction. Through his characterization, dialogue, art, etc, O'Malley builds a story that walks this fine line of being recognizable to a wide variety of people yet seems original. And best of all, he can seamlessly move from post-adolescent melodrama to action of the wacky sort, with numerous stops in comedy and slice of life goodness. Looked at as a whole, Precious Little Life is a brilliantly constructed book occupying numerous places genre-wise.
I'll be picking up Vol 2 this weekend, I'm sure a thread will be started for discussing it soon. If no review of Sharknife is posted, this thread will most likely be folded into the Scott Pilgrim Vol 2 thread, that might be better than the Break Room for this topic.
06-18-2005, 02:03 PM
I agree that Reyy needs to work on his storytelling clarity, but what I loved about Sharknife was the dialogue and the characters. The whole chapter on the villain and his fashion sense was hilarious, and the plot moves fast and furiously.
It's very vibrant and more than a little wacky, and I think readers respond to that.
06-18-2005, 03:24 PM
I personally thought Sharknife was weak. I could barely make out the panels and there just wasn’t well... A STORY! I got it cause I like his art and the design of the main dude is slick.
The only thing I liked about the book was the last page.
Hope the next one is better
06-20-2005, 09:58 AM
I have to agree with the comments on Sharknife's storytelling. Awesome character designs, great dialogue, and fast paced, but confusing as all get out.
Scott Pilgrim Vol.2 however, is a bitch to get ahold of. Vol. 1 remains my favorite comic of the year so far, though.
06-23-2005, 10:51 PM
I always thought the confusion in Sharknife is part of its appeal. Pumping each panel with claustrophobic speedlines and jagged edges. . . Even if I couldn't tell what was going on in each panel, it was so fun and fast paced that it didn't really matter.
Warren Ellis wrote a good article about these two books and their use of "video game logic". . . I'll try to find a link to it.
06-23-2005, 10:56 PM
It also seems weird that people would have a problem with the "super kung fu powers" at the end of Scott Pilgrim, when superhero comics are full of plot devices that make no sense whatsoever.
For me, those little bits of spontaneity have always been what made comics fun. . .
06-25-2005, 04:18 PM
It's also weird that people would have a problem with the "super kung fu powers" when one of the plot devices early on in the book is traveling through subspace highways, one which happens to be in Scott's head.
The book proved pretty early on that it wasn't a romantic comedy about perfectly normal people.
07-05-2005, 12:37 AM
I for one enjoyed Sharknife. I'll admit that some of the action sequence are a bit confusing at first, but you just have to learn how to "read" them. I think Rey does a great job of capturing the raw energy and movement of the action in his pages of Sharknife. I also think the read is enhanced when coupled with the recommended soundtrack at the end of the book. I did however think that the monster designs were a little weak and maybe a little more character development. I personally thought the first chapter with Cheiko(sp?) was one of the best parts of the book.
07-23-2005, 07:56 PM
I’ve recently spent a lot of time thinking about “video game logic” and I’ve found it surprising how it’s perceived across mediums. Warren Ellis had this to say about SCOTT PILGRIM in his Bad Signal mailing list (as previously referenced by Deforge):
“When SCOTT PILGRIM suddenly shifts from FLCL-tinged Indie Kid Life to a mad rush of dance-sequence posing and Indiepop Dragonball fight-scening -- that's Game Logic in full effect. There's no self-consciousness, no irony, no distancing. It is simply What Happens, and you either play along or you lose. It's not played for laughs, no-one's putting you on.” I think he really nails the appeal of SCOTT PILGRIM right there, and much of that also applies to SHARKNIFE, though its lack of real characterization made it a weaker read for me. The buzz has been great for these two books as some of the most innovative books of the year; a buzz I personally think is well deserved. However, when I was reading an illustrated version of Neil Gaiman’s 2005 Nebula Awards speech (http://www.bookslut.com/features/2005_07_005981.php) he talks about the changing face of science fiction since 1965, the first year of the Nebula Awards. On the bottom panel of this page (http://www.bookslut.com/images/stripped/Neil-Gaiman-03.php), he says,
“For a start, today’s contemporary fiction is yesterday’ near-future SF. Only slightly weirder and with no obligation to be in any way convincing or consistent.” The illustration that coincides with this quote is from the book SNOW CRASH by Neal Stephenson, which I take to imply that Stephenson is a writer of contemporary fiction and that this novel is weird and is in no way convincing or consistent, (*see note at bottom) all of which is essentially true. SNOW CRASH is way out there and just expects the reader to accept that a pizza delivering hacker/samurai by the name Hiro Protaganist saves the world. And that’s what I love about the book. While he does do some explaining on why things happen and how, Stephenson mostly just runs with it gives you a very enjoyable read in a novel that works on something very similar to “game logic.” I suspect Jonathan Lethem’s early books would also fit into this category, books such as GUN, WITH OCCASSIONAL MUSIC and AS SHE CLIMBED ACROSS THE TABLE.
What I have been long-windedly getting at is Why is game logic applauded in comics and looked down upon in science fiction? The more I think about it, the more complicated this gets in my head. To begin with, Gaiman isn’t intentionally singling out game logic per say, but instead tackling the fact that science fiction is now a widely accepted genre that no longer exists within the niche of sci fi literature but goes beyond into all forms of mainstream media, from books to movies to television to comics, etc. On page 4 (http://www.bookslut.com/images/stripped/Neil-Gaiman-04.php) he sums this up with
“There was a battle for the minds of the world and we appear to have won it. And now we need to figure out what we’re doing next.” It really is a great speech and a call to keep pushing forward, since that’s what science fiction does best.
I think that the wild jumps that game logic stories take are often, and easily, intertwined and confused with the speculative nature of science fiction and that Gaiman is trying to get us to realize the difference so that we may keep them separate and that this is an instance when we as comic fans and our apparent need to categorize into ever smaller categories really works in our advantage. We recognize SCOTT PILGRIM and SHARKNIFE as unique and original, and even though there may not be a consensus on a name for the type of genre they are, we would never lump them in with Y THE LAST MAN or PLANETARY. That seems to be the struggle that science fiction is facing that Gaiman is talking about. Since SNOW CRASH is “about” computers it must be cyberpunk, since AS SHE CLIMBED ACROSS THE TABLE is “about” a black hole it must be sci-fi. So essentially my take from the speech is that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with game logic literature, just that it shouldn’t be confused with science fiction.
Of course I may be way off here. Perhaps it has to do with the literary expectations of science fiction. That as a genre that has paid its dues to be taken seriously it doesn’t want to be associated with books that lack a strong sense of a logical narrative. I personally don’t think that’s it, but its plausible.
Ok, so I seem to have answered my own questions while writing this. Oh well, this is what I spent my Saturday afternoon thinking about.
* NOTE: I don’t know if the choice of to illustrate SNOW CRASH was solely the artist’s or if Gaiman was involved in the decision, and I don’t know that it really matters for the point I’m making.
07-24-2005, 12:43 AM
Rather than quote all that stuff, DJ, I'm just going to congratulate you for being a genius and agree with everything you said. I'm reading the Martian Tales by Burroughs right now, and this is the most fun I've had reading a book since I was in junior high. Nothing at all makes sense, but I just can't put it down. I guess I can chalk it up to game logic.
08-24-2005, 12:19 AM
Beyond "game logic" (and I'm not sure what that means, exactly) part of the appeal to Scott Pilgrim, as an artist/storyteller is O'Malley's incredible use of "non-comics" devices. For example - when introducing characters, he doesn't just use dialogue or a typical caption box - he also uses a list of likes and dislikes, little factoids and a rating system, borrowing from tv and magazines. He puts the chord structure and lyrics to the songs the band plays in as part of the comic. And as far as the super kung-fu fight at the end, no one had a problem with it in "Kill Bill", so I don't see why it sould be confusing here. And the evil boyfriends turning into coins - there's your game logic. Maybe it's a metaphor - Scott "defeats" the evil boyfriends (makes his new girlfriend forget about her old boyfriends) and gains a reward (the coins represent the new feelings his girlfriend has for him). Subtext as text. That's why it's great.
As far as sharkknife goes (and the upcoming Peng), the art doesn't really appeal to me. What can I say?
08-24-2005, 01:16 PM
I don't think it's supposed to be that deep, but hey, people make what they will when experiencing art. :)
Game logic isn't supposed to be taken literally. It means that you can read the comic like how you would play a game (any kind, board or virtual). You just accept what happens as it's part of the game. When you go to bust out Candyland, you just accept that the world is candy. When you play Mario Bros, you just accept that a green mushroom gives you an extra life. What happens in games is absurdity, but its part of the rules and setting, so most of us accept it. Much like what occasionally happens in comics like these. There's just an absurdity about a good portion of the stuff, but you can either accept it and roll with it or you can not and miss out on all the fun.
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