Bryan Lee O'Malley's Blog
January 2, 2012
I just wanted to make a brief post highlighting one of my favourite albums of 2011: Sloan's THE DOUBLE CROSS.
Sloan is a Canadian band from Halifax, NS (they now live in Toronto). Four guys, four voices, making power pop in a generally 60s/70s mold. In the early 90s they were signed to Geffen along with some other Halifax bands – Halifax was "the new Seattle" for a minute there. Then they got dropped, and since then they've forged their own indie path. In the late 90s, they were arguably the biggest band in Canada. They also launched a bunch of other minor greats on their indie label Murderecords.
I've been a Sloan fan since (only!) 1996 and they've had their ups and downs since then, but I think "Double Cross" is one of their best records ever and it's certainly my overall favourite since 1999′s "Between The Bridges". It's their tenth album in a 20-year career and it's a dense 35 minutes of Sloany goodness. Hell, it got an 8.1 from Pitchfork!
Two of my very favourite songs of the year came off this album…
LAYING SO LOW:
(Scott Pilgrim fans probably know that Chris Murphy of Sloan was a very important advisor on the movie set, coaching the actors on their instruments and rock band swagger!)
November 30, 2011
November 17, 2011
November 8, 2011
I got a Cintiq today (which is like a computer monitor that you can also draw on with a magical pen). I ordered it 6 months ago but it didn't show up until early this evening, after I had finished this little Ramona sketch. i'll break it in with some kind of fun drawing later this week.
October 31, 2011
October 30, 2011
October 15, 2011
October 3, 2011
These aren't dated, but probably are from 1990 (I would have been 10 or 11). I have a huge folder full of stuff like this.
This is from a Super Mario game I was making up post-Mario 3, pre-Mario World. (click to see the full size)
This is from an original game that was almost definitely called NINJATOWN. I liked ninjas a lot. This one has the feeling of an early Sega Genesis game – but I didn't have one of those at the time, I just saw the games in magazines and was really excited about the possibilities. (I remember renting a Sega Genesis for my 11th or 12th birthday along with "Kid Chameleon" and having my mind blown)
October 2, 2011
Here are some words I wrote recently. Some students emailed me asking various questions and I answered them and now I will share.
This person asked some general questions about "the career of being a graphic novelist":
As a Graphic Novelist, how does your average day go?
The work tends to get split up over the course of the year, like a few months of writing, a few months of drawing, etc. There are many different tasks within the drawing phase too — roughs, pencils, inks, scanning and postproduction. So there is a lot of variety, but also just a lot of work.
Do you work with many other people?
I work with other people mainly in an online capacity – editors, agents, publishers, production people and other artists or writers.
How did you get into the job? Did you take any classes in college for it?
It was what I always wanted to do. I took a few film classes in school to learn more about visual storytelling, but I never had access to drawing or comic classes.
Do you have a "boss" or are you your own boss?
I am my own boss, although I am often beholden in various ways to editors, publishers, bookstore buyers, and fans.
Do you have a specific workplace?
I have a studio in my house. It's a room with desks and stuff.
Does the job depress or lift your spirits?
It's a bit of both. You can really get lost in the repetition and drudgery of drawing hundreds/thousands of little pictures in boxes, but on the other hand, it's all done out of love.
Do I have a reasonable chance to get into this career?
It isn't hard to start (just words and pictures!) but it can be difficult to make a living at it.
How much do you make? (If you don't feel comfortable with this question you can just ignore it)
I can't be specific but I will warn you that it fluctuates a LOT. You can make a year's salary in a day, or make nothing for a year.
What would you recommend to prepare for this career?
Always be writing and drawing. If you aren't already doing that, it probably isn't the right choice for you.
Would majoring in Graphic Design be a viable platform into the career?
I honestly don't think so. The way graphic design seems to be taught these days, you'd just be prepared for a life of drudgery. I briefly had a graphic design job when I was 20 and was head and shoulders above my design-school coworkers — I never took classes, just taught myself Photoshop etc.
What was your experience writing Scott Pilgrim? Do/did you have a second job?
I supported myself with a few part time jobs (bookstore, restaurant) and also freelance work within the comics field (lettering, inking). At a certain point, the royalties from my published work were enough to get by with a frugal lifestyle. The more books you have in print, the more money you make — but that's up to publishers (and readers!) as much as it's up to you.
There's the saying "If you love what you do, you don't work a day in your life". Do you believe this?
I think it's nonsense. It's still work, it still takes effort and there are always days where you'd rather go to Disneyland but can't. I spent many months behind deadline on Scott Pilgrim books, and let me tell you, those months were all work.
Someone asked me about comic-to-movie adaptations and I answered somewhat generally:
The underlying reason that any film gets made is because someone is hoping to make money from it. Movie producers see a popular book and hope that it would make a popular film. In my case the book wasn't well-known (ie not on the level of "Harry Potter" or "Twilight") and the hope was more that the concept would translate into an entertaining, easy-to-understand Hollywood blockbuster movie.
A film adaptation brings more attention back to the book, benefiting both parties. In my case, book sales were positively influenced by the existence of the film. I know anecdotally that this is true of other books, like "Hellboy" and "Sin City". I also know anecdotally that movie releases have had little or no positive influence on the sales of superhero books (ie Batman, Iron Man) mostly because there are hundreds or thousands of titles to choose from and someone who liked the film wouldn't know where to begin with the comics.
My thoughts on "staying true to the source material" are complicated. In general, I think it's more important that a director's own voice be expressed. In our case, Edgar Wright and I worked very closely and I think understood each other well, but in the end it's his film, his vision. Fortunately his vision dovetailed quite well with my own — which really is why we were correctly matched up in the first place.
Any adaptor is going to have a personal interpretation of the source material, the same as any fan has their own. If I asked five directors to tell me the story of Scott Pilgrim, then asked five fans, I'd get ten different stories. Every reader (or viewer) remembers things differently, focuses on different aspects, gets something else out of the story.
Even if I were to have written and directed my own Scott Pilgrim adaptation, it would have been different from the original. I love some aspects of the books, and there are always bits that I regret — but something that I regret might be some fan's favorite thing in the whole entire universe.
The most extreme hypothetical fan wants a literal word-for-word movie adaptation of their favorite story, and the most extreme hypothetical movie producer wants to change every word. Both of those attitudes are unhelpful, I think.
August 28, 2011
My sister came to LA and we all drove up the Pacific Coast Highway and visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Pixar!!! (Hope Larson acts as my stand-in in these photos)
Back in LA we saw an awesome Art Brut show and partied in Chinatown and then we went to the Universal Studios theme park and got soaking wet from all the ridiculous splashing rides!
Here's a pic of my sister (Stacey) posing with some Scott Pilgrim swag they have on display at Universal.
Now it's time to get back to work…