OMG, we are huge fans of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, so we were totally excited to talk with the series creator, Bryan Lee O’Malley — who you might also know from Seconds or Snot Girl or Lost at Sea.
Also, before we forget, if you are Scott Pilgrim fans too, you won’t want to miss the newly released Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Card Game put out by Renegade Game Studios and Oni Press. It’s a deck-building game by Keith Baker that has double sided cards with video-game-style combo moves unique to each character and life choices you’ll have to make about if you’ll solve your problems with hard work and empathy or video game violence. Such a tough choice.
So anyway, watch our interview with Bryan to find out who has influenced him, why he’s so funny, and what he has in store for us next. If you haven’t read his books, definitely get on that. We can’t recommend them enough!
The very first movie trailer debuted in November, 1913. It showed backstage rehearsal footage of an upcoming production of the musical The Pleasure Seekers. The actual play itself debuted the same month.
In contrast, today you can catch the sneak peak to the first look of the first cut of the promotional trailer of any given movie upwards of a full year before the actual film is released. How starved for content is our culture?
Think now, how literally days into pre-production of a given franchise the hype machine starts a’rollin’. When George Lucas and his menagerie sneezed a bit too loud, Entertainment Weekly and any other number of film blogs lit the net on fire. Speculation then is answered by some unseen specter of a source, second-handed, to an iffy-looking kid with a smartphone. And soon enough, Donald Glover is pitching to be young Lando.
Smash cut to the actual release of the story a year later. Smash cut again when Glover is doing his first costume fitting. Maybe he’ll Instagram his name on a garment bag. It’ll be picked up on TMZ, the AP, AICN, and Perez Hilton — if he’s still a thing. You know, just enough to keep the future film top of mind.
Marketing is an art and a science. Hype is the currency. Hype parlays demand into action. Or so marketing companies want to tell you – ask Edgar Wright how Scott Pilgrim turned out for him when you have a chance.
And it’s not just movies that are guilty of this sin. The day I wrote this very article, the teaser to the full trailer for the upcoming Injustice 2 video game crawled across my Facebook feed. And boy howdy, it worked. Before the predictable (but oh-so-glorious) cut scene footage shown over some narration completed, I was furiously calculating the cost to upgrade my Xbox. When the teaser-to-the-trailer ended, the release date in May whizzed across the screen. I looked over at my second browser window – with open tabs at Amazon, eBay, WalMart, and Best Buy – and I stared off into the middle distance in shame.
The fact is, these days products are bought and sold long before they are ever completed. Pilot season in TV land churns out show after show. Only those with enough hype to garner attention from advertisers ever see the light of day. And even then, if the hype train doesn’t keep chugging down the tracks, the show flies off the rails leaving hundreds of actors and production crew scrambling to do it all again. Maybe with a different script next time.
But who am I to judge? My company’s Kickstarter campaign – itself a bit of a hype machine if you think hard on it – was essentially drumming interest up in a project we’d still not completed inking before we were promoting the crap out of the finished product. Smash cut to over a year later, and only now am I flatting one-half of the book while I finish other pages as they drizzle in. And while I’d be tempted to share my half-completed work on our Facebook page, I’ve relegated it to our “seen by at least four people weekly” Facebook Live show.
The broad question is: When have we reached the event horizon? I think we’re already there. With the ubiquitous nature of technology allowing us to capture content being created live as it’s being fretted over, marketing and promotion is half-button push away. In a world where virality is as important at times as the actual quality of the product, hype is now deeply rooted into the very fabric of creation.
And because of it, Wing Commander made nearly half its lifetime gross its opening weekend. It was a bomb of a film and a financial failure. But it had The Phantom Menace trailer attached to it. We all know how that hype played out.
So, this week has been plagued. Yes, I have been plagued with writer’s block. I know you’ve heard of it. I just can’t settle on a column topic or a message or anything else. Right now, I’m probably breaking the unwritten rule of telling the reader this, but I’m naturally a maverick.
All week, this has been weighing on me. I have plenty of options, which have lived and died as columns in my mind.
I could talk about the latest ticket debacle for NYCC. Last week, we all watched (or in my case, participated) in the maddening scramble for tickets. Then the Internet bemoaned the difficulties of getting a ticket and swore off ever trying for tickets again. Which we all know is a lie. Let’s be honest. Because next year, we will all try again.
It’s still a show people want to attend, and as of last year, the biggest show in the US. It may be insanity to get tickets and to go, however it can be an amazing experience. NYCC really needs to get a better ticket system going though. It’s just mean at this point.
Or I could highlight the awesome open submission request from Oni Press. You might know Oni Press as the publisher of Scott Pilgrim, or one of my favorite stories, Resurrection. They now have an open call for new writers and artists. The best part of this is how they want minorities writing stories about minorities. They are requesting diversity in their stories, right off the bat. They also put a stop to rape as a plot device. Especially after last week’s Game of Thrones flop of an episode, this is going to be a very hot topic to avoid for a very long time.
I’m actually excited about this because it screams new stories to me. I want to see the creativity of new writers and artists at a publisher like Oni. I don’t what they make happen in this new drive for talent but it will be amazing.
The worst part is that I still can’t settle on a topic for a column. At least this bought me another week of working on it. Hopefully, the new creativity from Oni washes over me.
Call me a silly fool, but did you really think you’d get away with it? Or were you just playing dumb, knowing full-well that we’d blog and post about it. You sly dogs you.
But who are you really kidding? Everyone knows you’re dumb as a box of rocks. Ever since the Harry Potter cash cow stopped giving milk, you knew the Brothers Warner would turn towards its in-house fiction generator to start making with the profits.
And guess what? As soon as they turned their steely gaze towards you, wouldn’t you know it… those rat bastards that used to be across the street scored a near two-billion dollar movie. Sure, you had the last Batman movie, and hey, no one is blaming you for that not banking on higher expectations. The franchise made you a small mint, and almost made all of us forget Green Lantern.
So, here you are, the Mouse already ramping up a second season of super hero flicks, and the only thing that’s been worthwhile from your studio just ended. You’ve got that Superman reboot coming. Luckily, most of us snarky a-holes have only politely ribbed you for letting Snyder make a trailer that looks like Supes is on an extended episode of Deadliest Catch. We’re on pins and needles that it works out for you. Seriously. The million-dollar question? What’s next?
And we’re back to the beginning again. You dress up a few interns in fresh Batman tee-shirts and send them to the local geekatorium with “casual questions” in hand. I can’t help but be honest guys – it’s not the best idea you’ve had. We geeks may not be fit to ask the cheerleaders out to the prom, but we know when someone is trying to sell is some snake oil. Hell, we buy that damn oil from you every week, without the need to be sly! I guess what I’m getting at is pretty simple; if you’re out of answers, it’s OK to ask us to help you.
But it won’t help.
Do you think, even for a moment, that your base will give you the insiders’ scoop on how to make a Justice League movie that will bank big buckaroos? It won’t. Because even if we told you exactly what we wanted, and you made it exactly like we asked, it doesn’t mean instant gratification. Ask Edward Wright. Scott Pilgrim looked great on paper. The trailer was tight. The San Diegons all reported nothing but geek-love. And the actual film was stupendous. But it didn’t blow the doors off the bank vault. The thing of it all is that a film like The Avengers, one that hits the zeitgeist, is a bit of right-place-right-time and the payoff to a 5+ year gamble. You took the same bet in 2001. It paid in spades. Lesson to learn: there’s no quick payoff for what you’re wanting.
And let’s not leave here today without being frank about Frank. Look, Miller is a legend, and we’ll not dispute that. And in context, some of his best work has been given amazing treatments on film. 300 and Sin City hold substantial places in many of our DVD collections. But, the ghost of the Spirit (heh) still leaves a very bitter taste in our mouth. That crime against celluloid has soured us all to the church of Frank Miller. Be warned. And if you still feel like he might be worth our praise, let me be blunt:
“We’re the God-Damned Justice League.”
Since I’m in a festive mood, I’ll leave you with what may be the answers you’re seeking. If you want to make a Justice League movie that topples Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes, the recipe is simple. And like all dishes that have only a few ingredients, this isn’t going to be easy. You need quality product to start from. Your director needs to be someone who is in-tune with us nerds, but can stand on his own. Brad Bird perhaps (Thanks, Uncle Glenn!)?
Perhaps I’m putting the cart before the horse though. What Marvel pulled off wasn’t rocket science; it was an assembling of feeder movies that each stood up on their own. That means if you want to bring together Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and others? Then you need to earn that right. You can’t skip past the preamble if you want the masses to love you. Simply put… the world at large doesn’t know your Justice League from Adam. If you start off well with Man of Steel, you’re on the right track.
Just don’t put the cart before the horse. And man up; if you have a question to ask the geek world at large, just put it on the Internet.
Edgar Wright, director of such nerd-worthy hits like Shawn of the Dead, and the recent not-so-blockbusting Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, has come forward with some interesting news on his next flick. The Dorset, England native did a little name dropping to Variety early this morning. “Hollywood knows my track record with the comic-book cultists… but it seems with the less than stellar box office take for Pilgrim meant I’d have to take a real leap in casting my next star. Luckily for me, I had Jack in my back pocket.” And with that, the cat was let out of the bag. For Wright’s soon to be finished script for Marvel’s Ant-Man being pushed into production, he was quick to drop this bit of casting news to help build early buzz.
Wright’s script, utilizing the director’s quick wit, is in his words, “a real tongue in cheek kind of deal.” He went on to comment “I mean, I really didn’t think Hank Pym was movie material, unless we wanted a comedy about beating your tiny wife…”. The near-approved draft will have Jack Black starring as former thief turned superhero Scott Lang.
“I’m just jazzed about getting Jack on board. His range of emotions, his physicality, and his vocal prowess as a rock singer just really vibe with me. There’s so much to work with here. How could I not be excited?” Wright finished up his comments with a little teaser. “Since Jack signed on, I couldn’t help myself… there WILL be a musical number towards the end of the film, that will easily put my Ant-Man teeny heads and shoulders above anything they’re doing on any other superhero flick. I mean, Spider-Man 3 didn’t really gel with the fans until the little dance number they had in the second act, right? I mean that movie was Marvel’s best comedy to date, and I plan on topping it.”
Let me start by telling you right off that I enjoyed watching [[[Scott Pilgrim vs.the World]]] because it was a visual delight with an appealing collection of performers. As other reviewers have noted, this film was the best feature to adapt the video game playing experience to the screen. Universal Pictures gets credit for giving the production crew the freedom to play with everything from their opening titles through the graphics and sound effects.
The movie, despite an aggressive and pervasive marketing campaign, crashed and burned in August and the answer to that disconnect may well be in the story and characters. At its core, Scott Pilgrim is a love story or a series of love stories but you are left to wonder what the attraction is.
Scott (Michael Cera) is a 22 year old slacker with no apparent profession, about to be tossed from the dingy apartment he shares with his best pal, the very gay Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin). Whenever he’s not aimlessly wandering about, he plays bass in the band Sex Bob-omb and is said to have gone through numerous girlfriends during his high school years but it’s been a year since his last major breakup. To compensate, he’s been chastely dating Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), a 17 year old high school student. That is, until he spots the pink-haired Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) at a party.
Before even exchanging a hello, he has learned that the pretty girl has a powerful and somewhat awe-inspiring reputation. But here she is, living in Toronto and seemingly employed as a delivery person. He falls for her and she seems to blithely accept this and then comes the price to be paid for dating this woman. Scott must defeat Ramona’s seven deadly exes which forms the spine of the film set against a Battle of the Bands competition.
With the debut of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World hitting theaters, and all you Pilgrimites having just polished off the final chapter of Brian Lee O’Malley’s Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour… we here at ComicMix thought we might pit the titular teenage hero against a foe with a heart just as big as his own. While Scott had to defeat the seven deadly exes in order to win the heart of his beloved Ramona, Mario has been saving the crap outta his beau, Princess Toadstool, for over 20 years. Furthermore, the pudgy plumber has gone so far to defeat children (children holding magic wands mind you…), conquer the third dimension, and then race to the death in go-karts for his girl. And come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Princess Toadstool give Mario more than a kiss and and P-Wing for his efforts? I mean, I’ve not seen the movie yet, but it seems like Ramona is willing to get Scott to at least second base for his troubles!
As we know, in the real world, Scott Pilgrim is best portrayed by Michael Cera. Once a frozen banana selling salesman on a show only 17 of us watched on Fox. Sure, later he went on to play a completely different totally similar group of sarcastic whining indie cred building everykids… but is that enough? Because, we, the oldest of the old school Gen-Xers shall never forget the classic abomination that was Super Mario Bros. And in that, ahem, film, our dearest Mario was played by none other than Bob Hoskins. And if Bob Hoskins reps ole’ Mario Mario… what chance does Cera have?
So, let’s put these two lovebirds in a cage match. Who’s the beau with the bigger heart? Who’s the dude with the softer soul? Which forlorn fighter will fend off his foe first? Will it be Scott Pilgrim, who’s fueled by teenage angst, wields a mighty 4-string bass attack, and is powered by today’s generation of hip cats? Or will Mario, Italian-by-way-of-Miyamoto, the mascot of a generation, pound poor Scott with his brick-breaking-white-gloved fists of fury? Will Scott’s Sex-Bob-Omb backup their bassman in battle, or will Mario’s cavalcade of cartoon cohorts overpower the Emo-Elite. Only you, the ComicMix nation can decide. Let us know who takes home the 1-Up in the comments below.
As most of us know, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is coming to theaters everywhere this Friday, August 13. However, the movie isn’t the only Scott Pilgrim piece premiering this week. Universal Studios asked [adult swim] to create something promotional for the new film, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation is what the network cooked up.
Titmouse, Inc., Chris Prynoski’s animation studio and long time contributor to [adult swim], produced a two-part animated Scott Pilgrim short that will premier Thursday, August 12 on [adult swim] between midnight and 12:30 AM during commercial breaks. It will also be available online at [adult swim]’s website, and at the [adult swim] and Scott Pilgrim Facebook pages the following day, August 13.
The animated short depicts scenes from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels that were left out of Edgar Wright’s film. The four minute short tells the story of Scott’s high school life, where he meets Lisa Miller and befriends Kim Pine, who later becomes the drummer for Scott’s band Sex Bob-Omb. The art is recognizably influenced by O’Malley’s work. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World actors Michael Cera, Allison Pill, Mae Whitman and Jason Schwartzman provided voices for the short.
He may have to fight his way through the seven deadly exes to gain Ramona’s heart, but Scott Pilgrim faced something far worse at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con… the fans! That’s right, film helmer Edgar Wright decided to take on the rabid and crazed Scott Pilgrim fans betwixt a panel of clips, trailers, and other goodness. Just in case you weren’t there to enjoy all the video game references, and hullaballoo… why not take a gander at the YouTubery, eh? You don’t even need to use a save game slot to load it up. We’re nice enough to have it unlocked from the cheat menu below.