AUTHOR BIO: Bryan Lee O’Malley (Part 4)

***This is part 4 of a bio that wrote about Bryan Lee O’Malley (who is one my favorite artist/author) for a YA literature course. I share this because despite his fame, there is not too much info about him out there.*** 

Part 4: O’Malley gets it Together

O’Malley works are inspired by the medley things, from his ancestry to music, while his artistic style is based on his ability to mix the art form of mangas and North American comics. This “east-meets-west” style could be partially influenced by racial background. He says: “I felt kind of out of place everywhere. You know, it’s just another thing to whine about. I’m sure that influenced my art in some way, but it kind of sublimated, I think” (McAlpin). His experiences of growing up in Canada are clearly evident in his work, as shown through the settings of the stories. “The homegrown series wears its flag on its sleeve, with past volumes exploring Pilgrim’s childhood in Northern Ontario, although Toronto gets most of the attention” (Medley). Scott Pilgrim series’ mix of pop-culture and video game references are influenced by the writer love for them. He explains: ‘Mega Man 3 was this sort of ultimate religious experience when I was, like, 11 or 12. ..Street Fighter was the whole reason I bought Super Nintendo and a Sega. I got both versions for both systems. I was just… that was the whole thing. Street Fighter was the most important thing when I was 14 or 15. Which is, obviously, kind of reflected in Scott Pilgrim.’ (McAlpin) Another source of inspiration for the series was a Canadian band, Plumtree’s 1998 single “Scott Pilgrim” (Kaplan). In particular, O’Malley was inspired by the lyric “I’ve liked you for a thousand years” (ibid). O”Malley mentioned a time when he was “inspired” by his wife and fellow graphic novelist, Hope. He wrote a short story, “Smiling is Something That Other People Do”, which he mentioned in an interview that he “stole” from her (McAlpin). He jokingly said: “She’ll never Kazi 5 forgive me for it. It’s just Hope and her friend found this giant cat out in the wilds of Chicago, and I stole the idea—the cat thing. I had originally done it as a mini-comic, with a CD, back in 2003, then I revised it and put it in the SPX anthology, because it was about travel that year, so it worked” (ibid).

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