Sunday, November 18, 2007

I finally found something about Scott Pilgrim Vol. 4 to complain about

The fourth volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim is, like the first three, totally awesome. In fact, it might be a little more awesome than the previous ones, as O'Malley's art is getting better and better.

It's pretty much the perfect comic book, having a little bit of everything I read comics for—action, humor, romance, strong characters, nice art, cool designs—all in one story, and it was probably the most fun I've had reading a comic all year. Were there better comics published in 2007? Sure, yeah, of course. But was there a more fun one? I don't know; the closest thing I can think of off the top of my head right now is Black Metal.

In fact, after reading Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together Wednesday night, I couldn't think of a single bad thing to say about it.

At least, not until now!

Check it out:

It might not jump right out at you because I took the picture with my laptop, and there's some weird mirror action that goes in the camera in it, but note that for this fourth volume, publisher Oni Press has changed up the design of the book, so that when you file it away next to the three previous volumes on your book shelf, it's now totally incongruent.

The first three had a uniform design, with "Scott Pilgrim" in a cowboy looking font, O'Malley's name in a arcade font, little slim numbers, and a headshot of a character. But for the fourth volume, the fonts are reversed, they ditched the character headshots, the number is bigger and the "Oni Press" logo is different too.

Man, I hate when that happens. I don't know if it's just because I'm so incredibly anal about books, or if it's because a lot of what I like about graphic novels is the way the best designed of them serve as art objects in addition to readable stories, but it always drives me nuts when publishers change the design of serial graphic novels, particularly the first time through.

Like, when I started collecting Ranma 1/2, Viz was still publishing it in the older, bigger format, at $15.95 to $16.95 a pop. Each volume was a different color, and as I amassed them, a rainbow of Ranma 1/2 slowly began to assert itself on my bookshelf. But after 21 volumes in that format, the now-standard, smaller, slimmer $9.99 manga digest arrived, and Viz changed the design of their Ranma trades, so now volumes 22-36 are all uniform and are all navy blue, with a different spine design than that of the first 21. They don't look as nice as the old ones, but, more frustratingly, they're totally different, so a little more than half of the run looks one way on my shelf, while the rest looks the other way.

This has happened with a couple manga series I was reading, as well as some Vertigo series, although in the case of the latter, it was more subtle (Like, Y: The Last Man and Fables spine design has incorporated the newer Vertigo logo, changing the spine in later volumes slightly from those of earlier volumes).

And now it's happened with Scott Pilgrim. Do newer printings of the first three volumes have a spine design similar to that on the fourth volume, so future readers will be able to have a shelf full of Scott Pilgrim that look like they were designed to be set next to one another on the shelf? Am I being punished for having read it right from the start? I don't know, I haven't looked into it.

But anyway, that's the only thing I can think of to complain about Scott Pilgrim Vol. 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together.


Anonymous said...

I wish my life was so perfect that I had time to complain about book spines!

Regault said...

I remember when DC first started their CMX manga line, a lot of people complained because the CMX logo was bigger than the title so bookstores were filing all the books under C.

Then Tenjo Tenge came out and everyone complained because they decided to market a hard R series to the Naruto set by bowdlerizing the art.(When 99% of the appeal of an Oh Great! manga is his art.)

Earl Allison said...

*sniff* I thought I was the only one somewhat annoyed with the Ranma 1/2 format changes :)

No, I understand completely how you feel. It throws things off, and sometimes, if you aren't careful enough, you end up buying something twice because of those formats ...

Gunsmith Cats did something similar with their "Revised Edition" omnibus manga, but since there were so few, I fortunately didn't buy anything twice that time :)

Take it and run.

Mike Lorah said...

You're not the only person to notice such format changes.

Viz changed from the old-style L-R, larger format to the now-standard, R-L, smaller form between volumes of VIDEO GIRL AI. I don't necessarily care for one format over the other; I just kinda wish that I had the entire series in one form. But since my collection is half/half, it's too expensive to replace at this point.

I did replace MAISON IKKOKU vol. 1, because I'd only bought the first book in the original format. Then Viz started to release the flipped books, and they were cheaper, so I just started again at the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I silently weep inside when I look at the collection of JLA and JSA trades I've slowly been accumulating and see half with the newer blue DC Comics logo on the spine and half without.

Matthew J. Brady said...

I'm probably weird, but I like seeing stuff in all different formats, maybe because it shows how stuff has changed over time. The weirdest for me is probably the comics pamphlet/prestige format Lone Wolf and Cub issues that First Comics used to put out next to the tiny Dark Horse volumes.