Questions & answers VI
Q. I’ve always had questions about Scott’s brother. Why does Lawrence have a different last name? (or is that his middle name?) Is Lawrence older or younger than Stacey? I know Scott and Lawrence aren’t close, but are Stacey and Lawrenc close? Does she tell him of all Scott’s adventures and then they both shake their heads and thank god they don’t take after the same side of the family as he does?
A. Lots of people have asked about Lawrence West’s name. Lawrence West is his given name. His full name is Lawrence West Pilgrim. He is named after a train station. Ha ha ha.
Originally, Lawrence West was a very different character with a MAJOR ROLE in volume 5. But I felt that I was getting too far away from the Scott/Ramona relationship, adding too many new characters, and I decided to re-focus the book on the core cast.
(That earlier version of volume 5 revolved around the TIBB Battle of the Bands, which ended up going into the movie. I haven’t looked at that old draft in a long time and I can’t really remember what else was in it. It wasn’t very good, but it was an early draft, so whatever.)
Q. why did hollie betray kim all of a sudden? I dunno there was like one scene of jason and hollie smiling together in volume 4, and it seemed really random when it was revealed in volume 5
A. Kim lived with a bunch of people she hated, then moved in with someone she liked, and ended up hating her too. We only see Kim’s side of the story, but maybe I’m suggesting that Kim is part of the problem here. It kind of goes with the “personal hero narrative” theme of the series. Kim is complicated.
Q. Why was Envy a red head in the books and blonde in the movie?
A. I think I can answer this. First off, Edgar Wright read vol 2-3 as unbound editions (this means, no cover art). So he didn’t see the covers until later. During his first read through, he thought of Envy as blonde. As I’ve said before, the hair colors in the book barely crossed my mind (I just used whatever color seemed nice at the time if I was coloring a cover or illustration). There were no “canon” hair colors in my mind.
Edgar mentioned Envy being blonde at one point, and I was like “oh, i colored her hair red one time, but I bet she’d look good blonde”. When they did the initial costume tests, they tried Brie Larson with red hair and with blonde hair, and we all liked the platinum blonde better on Brie, so we went with that.
Anyway, her hair in the movie is clearly bleach-blonde, so you can imagine for yourself that Envy was a redhead in college and dyed it for her big rock star makeover.
Q. Also, what made you decide to switch to a different publisher for Seconds?
A. (this question is from the same person as previous question) From a creative standpoint, I’ve just been working with the same people for the past decade and wanted to shake things up a little and see if anything good comes of it. From a larger point of view I guess it’s like an experiment to see if I can push comics to a wider audience using the brute force of a big publisher like Random House. I have no idea what will happen with this book. It’s a kind of weird book.
ps. I’m still working with the guys at Oni Press practically every day on Scott Pilgrim-related stuff, so it’s not like we’re divorced.
Q. I remember reading on your blog a while ago you were considering releasing a SP “odds and ends” kind of book that contained things like old promo material, mini comics and the like. Still considering?
A. well, there was that “odds & ends 2008” book (in 2008). But if you mean a full book of stuff, then… I hope so. Maybe in a couple of years. 2014 is the 10th anniversary. It’s a lot of work to put something like that together, so… I guess i should get started?
Q. What the most difficult thing about developing the story of Scott Pilgrim? Was there a plot event or character that you had trouble figuring out how to make work?
A. the ending was really really hard to write. I purposefully didn’t think about the ending until I got towards about book 5, then I kind of planned out 5-6 as one big story. Vol 5 is kind of the ‘darkest hour’ and vol 6 is the redemption arc. But there was a lot of stuff to juggle, a lot of plot lines to tie up, and I just had to try and focus on the stuff that mattered most in the time I had. There was also the looming shadow of the movie — I had seen parts of it, I knew how BIG the finale was, and I wanted to try and compete with it a little. I think the stuff with the girls and the relationships works pretty well and the stuff with Gideon and the glow is weaker. But hey, some people love it warts & all, and it’s not like I’m gonna go back and change it.
So, yeah, the ending, that was the hardest part.
Q. Is there any manga/anime that particularly inspired your drawing style, or what are some of your favourites?
A. Hmm… Manga and anime… As you get older, it’s hard to trace the steps that got you here. I think the biggest & strongest influence is Rumiko Takahashi (mainly Ranma 1/2) and to a lesser extent, Atsuko Nakajima who did the character designs for the Ranma anime (and many others). I was really into that look in high school and it’s how I got into “drawing anime” (that and Sailor Moon). Around then I was also really into character designs by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Evangelion) and Range Murata (various). Akira Toriyama and Kenichi Sonoda are still important to me as manga artists.
A bit later, obviously the FLCL anime was a big deal for me (although not as much of a direct influence on Scott Pilgrim as people seem to think). Another big manga artist influence for me as I started to get more serious about comics was Yuji Iwahara (Koudelka, King of Thorn, etc). He had more of a hybrid Americanized style, and his exploded page layouts for Koudelka were a direct influence on Scott Pilgrim’s full-bleed layouts.
The big one in my adult life is Osamu Tezuka, who I got heavily into between vol 3 and 4 of Scott Pilgrim. You can see his influence start to creep in here and there but he’s a larger inspirational figure to me than just his drawing style. There’s also Mitsuru Adachi, who is of an older generation and is a complete master of comics. Oh, and right now Natsume Ono is a big influence on my page layouts. She’s awesome.
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