Let’s get this straight first: the Scott Pilgrim books are amazing, as was Edgar Wright’s film adaptation. The story is what happens when you take the standard quirky, indie romance story and heavily fuse it with shōnen and video games. This works because the characters are unique, likeable, and, most importantly, relatable. Bryan Lee O’Malley is truly a talented writer and artist, and we look forward to any and all future works by him.
That being said, the newly released color version of Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life is a painful blemish on an otherwise spotless record.
At $25 retail for a hardcover copy, this reprint is more than double the average price of its black-and-white softcover counterpart. So what does the extra money get you besides a colorful book you can chuck far distances without it flopping all over the place? Well, you get unpublished sketches and conceptual material that takes up the final few pages. Admittedly, these bonus pages offer a pretty insightful look at the beginnings of the series that would become a worldwide phenomenon, almost enough to sell the book right there.
But what about the color, you might be asking? Surely this can’t be your only real complaint about the re-release?
Why yes, yes it is. Scott Pilgrim features an art style inspired by that of shōnen manga. As such, the main focus is on the characters themselves, and little work is done establishing a detailed background. Detailed backgrounds in a black-and-white publishing draws eyes away from the main action and makes the scenery look cluttered. By adding color to this style of artwork, Scott Pilgrim gets a look that can best be described as “coloring book”. Many of the backgrounds become solid colors over black ink, often in conflicting shades with the main focus points, instead drawing focus to the scribbled background pieces.
Whether you’re a diehard fan or a newcomer, I highly recommend sticking with the black-and-white version. If you absolutely need to have it, consider opting out of the print version and getting a digital copy instead. The fifteen bucks you will save are better spent elsewhere.