In Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, the final graphic novel in Bryan Lee O'Malley's series, a bandmate warns the hero, "Bad news, Scott. The only two people who could ever be our fans have developed taste."
It's a winking line from a cartoonist whose aesthetic has taken on a zeitgeist-warping cult status.
That status now translates into healthy sales ( Finest Hour has been an Amazon bestseller for weeks, challenging omnipresences like Stieg Larsson as it burned through a print run of 100,000). But it also makes fans industriously fascinated by all things Pilgrim - including the comics' fantastical Toronto.
"I feel like I've maybe unfairly mythologized Toronto," says O'Malley, who spent his early twenties there and recently moved to Los Angeles. "I've definitely seen kids being like: 'I want to move to Canada now!'" He often visits the fanatical readers on his message board to "see what their new kooky theories are."
Which might explain Volume 6. It kicks off in a darker, depressed, skeezier sort of place, even suggesting that the series' central video-game metaphor is far more ambiguous than it first seemed. Scott's nemesis Gideon Graves is an arty kid turned bitterly covetous adult, emotionally controlling on a megalomaniacal scale.
And our hero?
"In the first book, people [allude]to Scott being a jerk," says O'Malley, "And now we're seeing a little bit of the potential for that."
We still want to see if he ends up with the heroine onscreen.
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