Scott Pilgrim writer Bryan Lee O'Malley to attend Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

This article is from 2014

Scott Pilgrim writer Bryan Lee O'Malley to attend Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

Photo: Gage Skidmore

The graphic novelist attends the fest to discuss his new project, Seconds

Canadian comics artist Bryan Lee O’Malley is the writer and illustrator of the bestselling Scott Pilgrim series, a six-volume epic that established him as a master at combining intimate, personal characterisation with fantastical storytelling on a huge scale (with great jokes too). His new book Seconds is a standalone, full colour graphic novel about Katie, a 29-year old chef who wants a new start, and it considers the question of whether life would be better if you could take a second shot at the bits you messed up. It’s a distinctly more mature take on the world than the gaming-obsessed, emotionally-pinballing perspective of Scott Pilgrim, albeit just as packed with O’Malley’s visual wit and crackling dialogue.

But despite on the surface appearing to be a smaller tale, Seconds is actually even more ambitious than Pilgrim, and as O’Malley recently told the Nerdist podcast, the four-year process of the book’s creation was anything but simple: ‘There was a lot of sitting on my couch and just feeling frustrated – it’s a pretty complicated story, and requires a certain amount of maths from me as the writer! It’s kind of a time-travel story, so it has layers to it. I was obsessed with Inception at the time.’

Inception meets the Brothers Grimm’ could be the pitch for Seconds, as Katie is befriended by a house-elf who grants her the power to identify key mistakes from her life then go back and correct them – but with certain costs attached.

O’Malley’s stories brilliantly balance imaginative fantasy with mundane reality, and the crossover between life and fiction will undoubtedly come up during his event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this month. It’s a rare opportunity to hear from one of the comics world’s most singular talents, and not to be missed. 

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 17 Aug, 4.30pm, £10(£8).

Bryan Lee O'Malley

Ever since his final book in the vastly popular Scott Pilgrim series, graphic novelist Bryan Lee O’Malley has been keeping fans on tenterhooks. Four years on, his new title Seconds is here. Partly inspired by the time he spent working in a restaurant in Toronto, O’Malley has described it as being ‘funny and weird and kind…