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BRYAN LEE O’MALLEY On SNOTGIRL’s Family, Love Life, New SCOTT PILGRIM ‘on the Horizon’

Snotgirl
Credit: Bryan Lee O’Malley/Rachael Cohen (Image Comics)
Bryan Lee O'Malley

Bryan Lee O’Malley

Credit: Image Comics

It’s been almost a decade since the movie release of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and fifteen years since the first Scott Pilgrim comic book series, but Bryan Lee O’Malley is not done taking over the world with his creator-owned titles. The indie comic book extraordinaire has been keeping himself busy with his work on his upcoming graphic novel, Worst World, and his current Image ongoing title, Snotgirl, that continues to take a deep dive into the superficial world of social media. 

Newsarama had the chance to talk to O’Malley about his upcoming work, the state of indie comic books, the possibilities of a Snotgirl TV show, and even teases what fans can expect from the Scott Pilgrim franchise moving forward. 

Credit: Bryan Lee O’Malley (Marvel Comics)

Newsarama: Bryan, what got you into comic books? What were some of your favorite stories growing up?

Bryan Lee O’Malley: I remember having a huge garbage bag of Archie digests handed down from my cousins. I also remember my older cousin had a bunch of X-Men and Daredevil comics that were exciting and scary to me as a kid. I got into the Marvel Transformers comics, and from there got into other Marvel stuff. My favorite became the X-Men. And I was in middle school when Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld jumped from Marvel to founding Image, I had all those first Image issues…

Nrama: What’s your favorite aspect about working on creator-owned stories?

O’Malley: The idea of not owning what I create has always been anathema to me. Maybe it’s because I grew up on those Image comics and indie stuff like Bone, and eventually Drawn & Quarterly, the art comics side. And of course I got really into manga, and those manga creators own their characters. Rumiko Takahashi was the richest woman in Japan at one time. Owning what you create is key.

Nrama: Would you like to do some work with Marvel or DC? If so, what characters would you like to work on?

O’Malley: At this point in my life, I really have no interests there.

Credit: Leslie Hung/Rachael Cohen (Image Comics)

Nrama: On March 13 a new issue of Snotgirl comes out – #13. What can you say about that?

O’Malley: In this chapter, Lottie has a one-day popup shop. I think it’s one of the tightest issues we’ve done. It should be both extremely satisfying and super annoying to all. The story has really evolved a lot and I think it contains something for everyone if they can get over their fear and revulsion towards snot and girls.

Nrama: In the most recent issues of Snotgirl, you’ve introduced Lottie’s sister, Rosie. Who, like most of the people in Lottie’s life, is very self-centered and doesn’t notice the struggles Lottie is going through. What can you tell us about their relationship moving forward?

O’Malley: The fun thing about Snotgirl is that every character is in their own bubble, obsessed with their own problems and rarely able to connect. Most of them are very focused on themselves. The introduction of Rosie shows that Lottie isn’t the only gorgeous egomaniac in her family.

Credit: Bryan Lee O’Malley/Rachael Cohen (Image Comics)

Nrama: What can you tell us about Lottie and Caroline’s romantic relationship moving forward?

O’Malley: It’s going to be interesting!

Nrama: Do we have an estimated release date for Snotgirl #14?

O’Malley: We’re running behind as usual, but issue 14 is currently scheduled for the end of May. This one is going to be a bit of a bold departure — I’m excited!

Nrama: Would you like to see Snotgirl explored in other mediums (TV, film, etc.)?

O’Malley: I think it could make sense as a TV series. I mean, not that it makes sense at all, but it could work on TV. It’s a sprawling thing about a cast of gorgeous characters, which is TV-like.

Nrama: Do you have any new titles on the horizon?

O’Malley: I am still very slowly toiling on my next graphic novel, Worst World. I made the mistake of announcing it prematurely. It will exist someday. That’s with Random House / Ballantine, who published my book Seconds.

Credit: Bryan O’Malley (Penguin/Random House)

Nrama: Are there any plans to return to the world of Scott Pilgrim?

Credit: Leslie Hung/Rachael Cohen (Image Comics)

O’Malley: There are some Scott Pilgrim things bubbling on the horizon, but I can’t say more other than it’s not a new book by me. I often think about how I’d tackle a Scott Pilgrim continuation, but that is currently not one of the things in the works.

One thing that’s definitely coming out is a new edition of the original books from Oni Press, and a very cool box set designed by me and Jason Fischer. We are wrapping production on those right now for a summer release. These are a softcover reprint of the 2012-14 hardcovers colored by Nathan Fairbairn.

Nrama: It’s been almost a decade since the release of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. What’s it like looking back at the project?

O’Malley: 2019 marks 15 years since the first book and 10 years since the movie was filmed. A lot has changed! Working on it was my entire 2000s experience, and reading it became other peoples’ 2000s experience.

I think it’s funny that modern readers dislike Scott so much and find him so polarizing. Obviously Scott’s growth was always part of the point, but a 1200-page series isn’t only about one thing or one guy. There’s so much more to love and hate in there.

Credit: Bryan O’Malley/Rachael Cohen (Image Comics)

Nrama: Would you like to do more in film or television as we see even more indie titles being adapted to television and film?

O’Malley: There’s been a real rush lately. Deadly Class and Umbrella Academy both premiered shows in April. These days there’s so much new content all the time and it’s never enough for the fans.

For me, the point of doing adaptations has always been to work with people I admire, and collaborate across disciplines and mediums. I wouldn’t want to be a showrunner or anything. Personally I prefer to stick to comics and let some genius do the adapting.

Nrama: Do you have any advice for people who want to break into the comic book industry?

O’Malley: The boundaries between comics and the larger entertainment medium have been getting so blurry. So many of my peers disappeared from comics to work on cartoons and stuff, and so many young artists seem more interested in making fanart and trinkets than comics. I hope there are artists and storytellers out there who want to make comics.

My advice is to make comics! Don’t be satisfied with Instagram likes! You could have so much more than that! Don’t wait until you’re perfect, don’t wait until you develop a style, just make some comics… you’ve read enough stories and seen enough visual entertainment. You have it in you. Everyone sucks at the beginning. Work at it until you suck less.

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