"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World": When a comic book slacker hits the big screen

"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" pushes graphic novels into the mainstream.

Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead star in the movie version of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."

Scott Pilgrim? If you're my age (and you didn't attend Comic Con 2010), you might never have heard of him. However, as the movie version of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" – starring Michael Cera – hits movie screens across the United States this weekend, you may be forced to take note.

Scott Pilgrim started life as the protagonist of a 2004 graphic novel entitled "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life" by Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O'Malley. Today, six books, many awards, and one movie later, Scott Pilgrim is a cult hero of sorts.

A 23-year-old Toronto slacker, Pilgrim plays bass guitar and struggles to defeat the seven evil ex-boyfriends of his American girlfriend Ramona V. Flowers.

Will movies like this bring new life to comic books? San Francisco Chronicle blogger Zennie Abraham says yes, insisting that, "[C]omic books, still left for dead by some, have become the platform for a perfect fusion of Hollywood, cartoon art, and storytelling. Indeed, comic books aren't dead at all, but more the start of a multi-platform life that goes something like this: print, then screen, then computer and Internet."

Maybe. But, as Guardian film blogger Ben Child points out, at least up until now, Scott Pilgrim has been entertainment aimed squarely at the young. Does the film version of Scott's adventures really have a chance to "escape its youth culture ghetto and find wider acclaim"?

This weekend moviegoers – at least, those not already planning to spend their dollars at "Eat Pray Love" – will have a chance to find out.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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