Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour (Vol.6)

At midnight on July 19th it truly was Scott Pilgrim’s finest hour.

To celebrate the midnight release of the final Scott Pilgrim book there was a huge party, courtesy of The Beguiling, that unofficially closed down Markham Street in downtown Toronto.  There were bands, video games, a costume contest and the man of the hour – Bryan Lee O’Malley – signing until the wee hours of the morning.

The Scott Pilgrim series began in 2004 with Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life. O’Malley has written 6 amazing comic books and on Monday night unveiled the final volume. Scott Pilgrim is a 23 year old with a rating of awesome. In order to win the heart of his girlfriend Ramona he must defeat her 7 evil exes. He’s also in a band.

Not only is Scott awesome, he also lives in Toronto. He and his friends ride the Rocket, hang out at Sneaky Dee’s and perform live at Lee’s Palace. Whether O’Malley likes it or not, Scott Pilgrim has become a Canadian icon.

And next month Scott Pilgrim will meet the world on the big screen played by another Canadian icon, Michael Cera. On August 13th Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (directed by Edgar Wright) will open nationwide to a growing fan base.

But the question remains: will Scott defeat Ramona’s final evil ex? Find out in Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour available in our Graphic Novel/Comic Book section!

*Photography courtesy of Karin Stonehouse. Thank you:)

The Review: Collections of Nothing, William Davies King

The Review:  Collections of Nothing, William Davies KingCollections of Nothing
William Davies King
University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 978-0-226-43701-9
$13.71

Reviewed by University of Toronto Bookstore Staff, James Bell

I’ve collected various things over the years: comic books, CDs, stamps, baseball cards.  The first two I would classify as useful items (I read every comic, listened to every CD), while the last two were extravagances, mere symbols of things that interested me (history, art, sport).  Comics and CDs took over much of my discretionary income for large periods of my life, but I wouldn’t say that they ever became obsessions–I rarely paid more than face value for a comic book, for example, and few of them made it into mylar protective bags.

William Davies King rarely paid a dime for the things he collected, because they were nothing anyone else wanted.  Cereal boxes, pieces of tooled metal, envelope liners, stickers from fruit, business cards–these items and many others, detritus from our consumer culture, make up the bulk of King’s collection of nothing (a Seinfeldesque nothing, meaning everything).  What he collected is only part of the story of Collections of Nothing, a fascinating and poignant memoir of an extraordinary–though populated by the extra ordinary and banal items that we touch every day without thought–life of a fifty-something professor, father, husband, and yes, collector.

“Collecting is a way of linking past, present, and future.  Objects for the past get collected in the present to preserve them for the future,” writes King, who takes the reader into his own past in an attempt to explain why he collects in the present, while remaining uncertain of his future, and the future of his collection.  As the book closes, he’s about to move to a new house, and must contemplate moving his collection, leading him to wonder if his children will want it–they say they do, they say they’ve begun to understand the collection, but he’s not sure. 

While King shares an acquisitiveness reminiscent of stories we’ve read about hoarders who fill their houses with newspapers, he’s more akin to Henry Darger, the janitor whose lifelong project/novel/art was revealed to the world only at the end of his life.  King can argue that his collections are art, that he has functioned as a curator, the subject being life in the second half of the twentieth century, specifically his own life and the goods, packaging, and discarded bits that surrounded him in a society inundated with stuff.  He has the academic credentials to back him up: Scholar of the House in his senior year at Yale, university professor and later Chair of his department, published author.  But apart from rare occasions, he hasn’t shown his collection to others, hasn’t made a career or a life out of his art, but in spite of it.  “Why, I wonder, do I create objects that I presume others won’t want to see?  Self-hatred shouts out in this,” he writes, “or guilt.  And it’s all rather beautiful.”  It’s not normal behaviour to have kept the labels from hundreds of different brands of bottled water, as King has, and he’s aware of it, but he also knows that “I’ve got something here, an entity, in these collections of nothing, though the entity cannot stand alone. . . I have to be there with it for it to be something other than an enigma.  My impulse to write about the collections responds to that need for me to be present, like a father, but also to my need to let them go, like a father.”  Writing this book, revealing his collections, is King’s way of coming to terms with the difficulties of his life–an abusive, later institutionalized sister, the loneliness of being sent away to school at thirteen, never to live with his family again, the breakdown of his marriage.  This is the real heart of the book, where King conveys how collections of nothing became something, and sometimes everything.

Buy Collections of Nothing, William Davies King Now!