Next Summer’s Pilgrimage to Comic Mecca

I’m having a really hard time persuading people like you that I’m a genius. It’s surprising how much effort it takes to convince people of something so obvious. But I think I’ve finally found a way. It’s gonna take some time, a little investment and a little trust, but it’s the only sure-fire way to get you to believe. All I need is for you to keep in mind that, in the summer of 2010, Scott Pilgrim is gonna be a big fucking deal. And when this happens, just remember: I called it first.

So what is Scott Pilgrim, and why does it matter so much? Let’s see. To begin, Scott Pilgrim is the greatest fucking thing to happen to comics and print media for many, many years. The last time such an overwhelming phenomenon enveloped our tiny lives was when X-Men hit the big screen and Watchmen made it to Time Magazine’s list of the 100 best novels of all time.

But don’t make the mistake of believing Scott Pilgrim has some lofty philosophical or existential meaning. It’s more like the embodiment of our generation — ours being the young twentysomethings raised on Mario, Pokemon and Nintendo with both a lust and fear for life, aimlessly searching for purpose and direction without an inkling of what it might be. This comic is made for us, by us, to speak for us. It’s the closest thing we will ever have to an all-encompassing identity.

OK, so I’m being a bit hyperbolic, but I maintain that Pilgrim is representative of our generation (at least in terms of alternative pop culture). The comic depicts everyday problems without sacrificing any of the cultural memes it’s wrapped in. For instance, what would you do before meeting an ex? You save at a save point! Or, what’s the one thing stopping you from entering someone’s heart? The password!

You can look at everything objectively and disregard your dilemmas as the mere stuff of whining, but, in actuality, your problems are much more severe than anyone else’s. The real trouble in life is emotional baggage, which is precisely where the comic excels. Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers’ seven evil ex-boyfriends might be the best metaphor for relationships and emotional baggage that I’ve ever seen, heard or read in any print media. Aside from the fact that it brilliantly compares every arc of a relationship to a trial in a video game, it begs the question: What happens after you defeat the final exboyfriend? What happens when there’s no one left to fight anymore? Do you yourself become the evil ex-boyfriend?

Obviously, it’s a lot more complicated than that, and the genius of the comic lies in its exploration of these messy dynamics. All the characters in the story — and their conflicts, their passions, their hopes, their fears, etc. — are things we can irrefutably relate to. If you have it in you to accuse a character of being an asshole, then you’ve probably been one as well.

I can go on about how one character represents naive angst or how another represents transitional abandonment — there’s so much to dissect. And I realize that all I’m really doing is saying how awesome it is, over and over. But when the movie adaptation comes out next summer, you’re gonna want to know why it’s so awesome. And then, when you read the comic, you’ll understand. I don’t want you to be like everyone else, just following some trend. I want you to laugh like you’re in on a secret. So find Scott Pilgrim, and read it. Before it’s too late.