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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Scott Pilgrim vs the Future of Comics Publishing
Author(s): Ray, Murray Padmini
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Keywords: epitext
Scott Pilgrim
Henry Jenkins
Gerard Genette
comics studies
Issue Date: Aug-2012
Citation: Ray Murray P (2012) Scott Pilgrim vs the Future of Comics Publishing, Studies in Comics, 3 (1), pp. 129-142.
Abstract: Publishers have always been keen to maximize the multimedia potential of their products, and are increasingly eager to make the most of the opportunities afforded to them by digital platforms and technologies. While this sort of treatment is ubiquitous for those intellectual properties belonging to industry behemoths Marvel and DC, it is unusual for those published by smaller independent presses to receive similar consideration. However, Bryan Lee O'Malley's comic book series Scott Pilgrim despite its modest, independently published beginnings, was bought by Fourth Estate and then made into a major motion picture in 2010, the release of which was accompanied by a mobile phone app. This article will explore how the consequences of commercial decisions taken by Fourth Estate and the creators of the app affect the reception of the comic, and is informed by original interviews with the publisher and app creator. It will pay particular attention to the significance of content contained within the print comics that is not contained within the app. My examination will draw on Gerard Genette's definition of the paratext and how it locates the print comic within a creative economy that privileges a DIY practice - demonstrating an allegiance, for example, to webcomic creation, a direct transaction between creator and consumer that bypasses the producer entirely. This analysis will be coupled with an investigation of how the migration of print content to app affects the reading of the comic, and is augmented by a survey of comics readers who are used to reading digital content on-screen. I argue that not only does the intervention of digital technology transform the aesthetic product, the commercial motivations of the publisher/producer are inextricable from our understanding of the comic as artefact, thus emphasizing the need for a more cultural materialist approach in comics studies as a discipline.
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Rights: Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in Studies in Comics, Volume 3, Number 1, August 2012 , pp. 129-142 by Intellect. The original publication is available at

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