Warren Ellis on Game Logic and Why Sharknife is Cool.


Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2005
bad signal

Yes, lots of thoughts I need to get down today. Sorry.

A few months ago, I started writing a new book for Marvel that uses what I think of as "game logic": simply, that things happen because they happen. Maybe two lines of plot inform the entire concept, and everything else happens because it happens, and you either ride with it or you don't. The entertainment, if it's there, is in the spectacle and the light, poppy interactions.

So I read SHARKNIFE and SCOTT PILGRIM on the flight home. And Corey Lewis and Bryan O'Malley are already in the territory.

SHARKNIFE is a Game Logic Fight Comic. Some people have said to me that SHARKNIFE "tries too hard to be cool." To me, SHARKNIFE is Rey trying to show you everything HE thinks is cool, a pure hit of personal rock distilled out of the toxic mix of games and cinema and comics and art filling his own head -- and that's not the same thing.

When Sharknife waves his immense fist at the audience and yells DUDE!, and then it cuts to cute little Chieko and there's a little thought balloon above her head that says, "Dude!" -- that's Game Logic Love.

When SCOTT PILGRIM suddenly shifts from FLCL-tinged Indie Kid Life to a mad rush of dance-sequence posing and Indiepop Dragonball fight-scening -- that's Game Logic in full effect. There's no self-consciousness, no irony, no
distancing. It is simply What Happens, and you either play along or you lose. It's not played for laughs, no-one's putting you on.

I've already talked about SHARKNIFE here. I've been acquainted with Bryan for years, and have been waiting for him to work through his influences and release a pure burst of what's in him. SCOTT PILGRIM is it, and it's glorious to see. (I know I'm behind the times with this -- I've been unable to obtain a copy, and Bryan apparently asked Chris Butcher to give me a copy, which
he did. Chris has therefore redeemed himself for making me spend ages hunting down a copy of STREET ANGEL, which I found #4 of and which was well-illustrated but empty and somewhat fake. I have since been told I found the "wrong issue".)

If you're not up for a videogame-hero busboy fighting monsters implanted
in the walls of his restaurant, or a baffled guitarist and the dream-skating delivery girl with seven evil ex-boyfriends to be fought, then you're missing the two most audacious adventure comics of the several months.
Awesome. Ellis is such a good pimp.
Now that Warren Ellis has already provided us with such a brilliantly-described intro to the mood of Scott Pilgrim, can we just re-title this as the Scott Pilgrim series discussion thread?

Scott Pilgrim is a woefully under-rated title, and since I'm under the impression that not a lot of people have read it, I propose to keep this thread SPOILER-FREE, for the time being.

This neat little summary from Wikipedia explains the basic premise:
Scott Pilgrim is a comedy/action/romance comic series by Bryan Lee O'Malley consisting of six manga-sized black-and-white graphic novels. The series is about 23-year-old Scott Pilgrim, who is living in Toronto, playing in a rock band and who falls in love with Amazon.ca delivery girl Ramona Flowers, but must fight her seven evil ex-boyfriends to date her. The first volume was published in 2004 by Oni Press.​
And yes, I know that doesn't explain much, but if enough people show an interest, I'll post my own, more extensive view of the series.
Last edited:

Latest posts