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Comics Alliance put up an interview with Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of Scott Pilgrim, and Takekuma Kentarou and Aihara Kouji, authors of the satirical yet highly informative guide, Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga. It focuses mainly on the influence Monkey Manga (a cocky, saucy book this one is) had on Bryan as he was getting ready to make Scott Pilgrim, as well as how the series differs from manga (Scott breaking up with Knives for no reason would have been a no-no).
Before you read that talk, or alternatively after you’ve read it, I highly recommend checking out the discussion between Takekuma and Love Hina and Negima! artist Akamatsu Ken, which was translated a few months ago. Whereas the Comics Alliance post focuses almost entirely on the creative side of things, the Takekuma-Akamatsu talk looks at where manga is headed as an industry and how it might have to change. You can see my thoughts on that article here, but I’m putting it next to the O’Malley one just to show how various ideas are being thrown about in terms of how manga and other forms of comics can intermingle on artistic and pragmatic levels. O’Malley talks about the influence of manga on his work, Takekuma and Akamatsu talk about potentially having a division of the workload similar to American comics, and at the very least, it gives the impression that the future of comics will look very different from today.
Read both articles and tell me what you think. I’m very curious to see what kind of impression is given when they’re experienced together.
I have never read Scott Pilgrim.
I’ve definitely heard about it, and I plan on reading it eventually, but as of this point I have never done more than glimpse a few pages. Regardless however, I know that Bryan Lee O’Malley has become a household name among geeks, and with the final volume of Scott Pilgrim out, he’s going to be well-remembered.
Imagine my surprise then when I discovered that the covers of Scott Pilgrim are not the first place I had seen Mr. O’Malley’s name.
Years ago I enjoyed reading the stories over at Improfanfic, a site dedicated to both fanfics and original stories with an anime flair. Each chapter of a story was written by a different person, providing the “improvisation” in the site’s name. Of these improfanfics, my favorite was probably Furniture Warriors, a parody of shounen fighting tournaments and the like where all of the characters wielded chairs and tables with deadly precision. Feeling nostalgic, I decided to look at the page for Furniture Warriors at Improfanfic, where in the middle of the fanart section one name in particular caught my eye.
Could it be the same person? Could the “Bryan O’Malley” who drew these images and wrote various chapters of Improfanfic be the same Canadian whose work has had the honor of being adapted into a feature-length film?
All signs point to “yes.”
Bryan has mentioned at conventions that he is inspired by anime. Not only that, but if you look at the fanart there and compare it to the artwork in Scott Pilgrim, even though there is a markable difference in style, skill, and experience, I think you can definitely see small inklings of what the man would become.
Not only that, but going to the archive.org record of the website listed with his name and e-mail address on the FW page, it says:
In real life, incidentally, they call him Bryan L. O’Malley. And the L, of course, stands for Lunacy. He happens to be the only Canadian member of Maison Otaku.
So there you have it.
Keep in mind that my reason behind this post was not to show off my internet detective skills or anything, but to simply be amazed that the person whose artwork I saw way back would become responsible for such a phenomenon. It makes the world feel so much smaller, and yet also so much grander.
Now, time to get reading.