I have never read Scott Pilgrim.
I’ve definitely heard about it, and I plan on reading it eventually, but as of this point I have never done more than glimpse a few pages. Regardless however, I know that Bryan Lee O’Malley has become a household name among geeks, and with the final volume of Scott Pilgrim out, he’s going to be well-remembered.
Imagine my surprise then when I discovered that the covers of Scott Pilgrim are not the first place I had seen Mr. O’Malley’s name.
Years ago I enjoyed reading the stories over at Improfanfic, a site dedicated to both fanfics and original stories with an anime flair. Each chapter of a story was written by a different person, providing the “improvisation” in the site’s name. Of these improfanfics, my favorite was probably Furniture Warriors, a parody of shounen fighting tournaments and the like where all of the characters wielded chairs and tables with deadly precision. Feeling nostalgic, I decided to look at the page for Furniture Warriors at Improfanfic, where in the middle of the fanart section one name in particular caught my eye.
Could it be the same person? Could the “Bryan O’Malley” who drew these images and wrote various chapters of Improfanfic be the same Canadian whose work has had the honor of being adapted into a feature-length film?
All signs point to “yes.”
Bryan has mentioned at conventions that he is inspired by anime. Not only that, but if you look at the fanart there and compare it to the artwork in Scott Pilgrim, even though there is a markable difference in style, skill, and experience, I think you can definitely see small inklings of what the man would become.
Not only that, but going to the archive.org record of the website listed with his name and e-mail address on the FW page, it says:
In real life, incidentally, they call him Bryan L. O’Malley. And the L, of course, stands for Lunacy. He happens to be the only Canadian member of Maison Otaku.
So there you have it.
Keep in mind that my reason behind this post was not to show off my internet detective skills or anything, but to simply be amazed that the person whose artwork I saw way back would become responsible for such a phenomenon. It makes the world feel so much smaller, and yet also so much grander.
Now, time to get reading.