Scott Pilgrim - Development

Development

Creator Bryan Lee O'Malley was inspired to create the series and eponymous character of Scott Pilgrim after listening to Canadian band Plumtree's 1998 single "Scott Pilgrim", a song then-Plumtree singer Carla Gillis describes as "positive, but...also bitter sweet." In particular, O'Malley was inspired by the lyric "I’ve liked you for a thousand years,".

O'Malley wanted to write a shōnen-style comic book series, but initially he had only read one series, Ranma 1/2; in the early 2000s North America did not yet have a significant Japanese comic book industry. O'Malley gained inspiration from the book Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga by Koji Aihara and Kentaro Takekuma. In 2002 O'Malley's roommate, who worked in a comic book store, brought the book to him while O'Malley was working on Lost at Sea and was planning Scott Pilgrim. Upon reading the book O'Malley realized that, despite the satirical tone, it could be an effective guide on how the Japanese comic book industry worked. O'Malley said that Ranma 1/2 was the strongest influence and Atsuko Nakajima, the character designer of the Ranma 1/2 anime and other anime, was an influence to a lesser extent. He added that the "exploded page layouts" of Koudelka, a work by Yuji Iwahara, directly influenced the "full-bleed layouts" of Scott Pilgrim. O'Malley said that Osamu Tezuka began influencing his work as he created Volumes 3 and 4. He said "You can see his influence start to creep in here and there but he’s a larger inspirational figure to me than just his drawing style." In regards to the FLCL anime, O'Malley said that while it was an influence, it "not as much of a direct influence on Scott Pilgrim as people seem to think."

O'Malley used black and white because it was less expensive than creating the series in color, and so O'Malley said that he "embraced the B&W manga aesthetic". When writing the series, O'Malley's first step was developing the direction of the story by creating notes in notebooks, sketchbooks, and computer text files. His second step was to create an outline. His third step was to write a script. In his scripts he used adverb descriptions to show the emotions of characters; this differs from the practice of a screenplay, where one would not do this so that actors can personally make their own decisions regarding the characters' emotions. His fourth step was to develop thumbnails. His final step was to develop the finished comic book page. To ink, O'Malley usually used brushes, including No. 2 and No. 3 brushes. He mostly used computers to build the screentone; he stated that he encountered difficulty finding screentone in North America. O'Malley himself created most of the Scott Pilgrim material. When production on Volume 6 had began, O'Malley had hired two assistants. The backgrounds in Volume 6 are more detailed than backgrounds in the previous volumes. O'Malley said that "ost fans don't seem to notice the change".

O'Malley stated that he wanted to create a "hybrid" work that received inspiration from American and Japanese comics, and that he "wanted to reach towards the japanese comics from my own starting point." When asked if he considers Scott Pilgrim to be a manga, O'Malley responded by saying "Um… No, I think I was just thinking about that today. I guess I was just thinking about the whole OEL thing. I think it’s influenced… I like the term 'manga-influenced comics,' but I only like it because no one else likes it."

O'Malley said that he expected Scott Pilgrim to sell around 1,000 copies. He did not expect the series to sell millions of copies and to produce a film adaptation. O'Malley cited the United States comics industry and how it differs from the Japanese comics industry; the United States comic book companies specialize in superhero comics and many newer concepts originate from underground comics. The United States also lacks weekly and monthly comic book magazines and American comic companies generally do not have the system of story editors and assistants that Japanese comic companies have.

O'Malley said that the most difficult portion of Scott Pilgrim to write was the ending. O'Malley deliberately did not consider constructing the ending until he began writing Volume 5. He intended for Volumes 5 and 6 to reflect one single story, with 5 being the "darkest hour" and 6 being "the redemption arc." O'Malley said "there was a lot of stuff to juggle, a lot of plot lines to tie up, and I just had to try and focus on the stuff that mattered most in the time I had." In addition he wanted to create an ending that would "compete a little" with the ending of the film version; he was aware of "how BIG the finale was". About the ending, O'Malley said "I think the stuff with the girls and the relationships works pretty well and the stuff with Gideon and the glow is weaker. But hey, some people love it warts & all, and it’s not like I’m gonna go back and change it."

To illustrate his reasoning for eventually ending the Scott Pilgrim series, O'Malley used a quote from famed Belgian comics writer and artist Hergé, creator, writer, and illustrator of the well-regarded The Adventures of Tintin comic book series, from 1929 until his death in 1983. Hergé told his wife "And right now, my work makes me sick. Tintin is no longer me. And I must make a terrible effort to invent (him)… If Tintin continues to live, it is through a sort of artificial respiration that I must constantly keep up and which is exhausting me." O'Malley said "If I was still doing Scott Pilgrim in ten years, I would be dead inside." O'Malley said that he did conceive of a continuation centering on Scott and Ramona and involving the other major characters, except for Gideon and the other evil exes of Ramona. He said "maybe in a few years I’d think about playing with Scott Pilgrim some more" and although "there doesn't need to be more Scott Pilgrim", he agreed that "more would be fun".

The cover of the third Japanese Scott Pilgrim volume, which includes content from the original volumes 5 and 6, was based on an illustration from Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Street Fighter Zero 2). On March 31, 2012, O'Malley announced the series will be released in full-color hardback editions beginning August 2012 and concluding sometime in 2014.

O'Malley used the font Swiss 721 Bold Condensed, which was also used in the film. In later books the regular weight and italic versions of this font were also used. M04 FATAL FURY is the pixel font used in Book 4 and beyond.

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