Sunday, April 21, 2013
It's no surprise that this series of comics is so popular with people in our generation. It mashes together two very popular aspects of "geek" culture: manga and video games and combines them with sharp writing and an adorable big eyed cartoon style. The book is printed like a Japanese manga despite that fact that the story and artist are very Canadian. The heavy manga influence can also be found in the extreme expressions that pop onto the characters and the action lines that appear behind them when emotions run high. The videogame influence can be found in both the style of writing in the novel and the plot itself. Scott wants to date the mysterious and extremely sarcastic Ramona Flowers but can only be with her if he defeats her 7 Evil Exes.
The battle in the first book happens completely out of the blue and Scott begins fighting as if he's a hero in an action game. The fight against Matthew Patel is like a boss battle, he throws an array of showy moves and tricks at Scott to try to defeat him but in the end Scott wins Here's the first battle from the very true to the source film adaptation. You can tell from the movie clip how the film was able to capture the derivative nature of the comics. In this one 90 seconds clip you get references to a Bollywood style musical number, punk rock imagery of the floating goth girls, and fire ball hands straight out of Dragon Ball Z. Patel turns into a handful of coins when he is defeated, much like a common reward found in most video games. A lot of the humor of the book comes from the contrast between Scott's completely average life as a broke 23 year old and this larger than life situation he finds himself in. Scott is a normal dude and it says a lot about his character that he is completely unfazed at the thought of having to defeat all these exes, so long as he gets to make out with his hot new girlfriend. The relationships are really what drive the story. Scott has to learn to deal with every aspect of dating throughout the story: The excitement of having a new crush, dealing with a resentful ex, the awkward attempts at being friends with an ex, and how immensely difficult it is break up with someone without feeling like an awful person. In the end Ramona's evil exes are no different than the past relationship baggage you have to deal with when going out with someone new.