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American Elf, Volume 2: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries of James Kochalka: January 1, 2004 - December 3, 2006
     

American Elf, Volume 2: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries of James Kochalka: January 1, 2004 - December 3, 2006

by James Kochalka
 
  • Kochalka invented the daily diary comic strip, spawning a grass roots comix movement that has swept across the globe. Every day Kochalka draws a little comic strip about something that happened to him that day. As simple as that concept might seem, in Kochalka's hands it becomes something astounding and surprising; wickedly funny at times and deeply moving at

Overview

  • Kochalka invented the daily diary comic strip, spawning a grass roots comix movement that has swept across the globe. Every day Kochalka draws a little comic strip about something that happened to him that day. As simple as that concept might seem, in Kochalka's hands it becomes something astounding and surprising; wickedly funny at times and deeply moving at others. This volume prints all the strips from 2004 and 2005 in gorgeous full-color.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rock star and indie comics savant Kochalka (Monkey vs. Robot) is back with his second collection of "sketchbook diary entries" from his popular Web comic. Some strips depict a working cartoonist's life: signings at comic book stores, teaching at the Center for Cartooning and cleaning up eraser dust before company comes over. But most are sharply observed vignettes that magically, day after day, grow into an offbeat but affecting story of family life in Burlington, Vt. Kochalka is at his best chronicling the various coughs, cold sores and warm, throbbing ear fevers he and his child contract, wondering where the cat has thrown up this time and coping with the consequences of a vow he makes never to be unhappy again. (It wasn't his fault-he got carried away while shoveling extra-fluffy snow.) Kolchaka's art takes advantage of the fact that these strips are supposed to be entries in a "sketchbook diary." It's rough and kinetic, using vivid colors and surreal figures (his best friend is a dog; an acquaintance may turn out to be a cyclops). The result is surprisingly realistic, but also versatile, able to handle poop jokes and late-night worries with equal weight. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - George Galuschak
American Elf is a daily comic strip that chronicles the life of James Kochalka, father, husband, author, and lead singer of the rock band James Kochalka Superstar. Kochalka began drawing his illustrated diary in 1998, and it has been going strong ever since. The cast includes the author, his wife Amy, Spandy the Cat, and baby Eli, who is growing up fast. Kochalka doesn't attempt a chronological narrative, but over the course of two years we learn a lot about his life. The strips can be funny, boring, sexy, gross, touching, wretched and downright weird. My personal favorite, set at the dentist's office, features Kochalka wondering if the X-ray machine will activate his latent super powers. American Elf, Book Two is heavily influenced by Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons and a less well-known comic strip called Life is Hell. The art is a mixed bag. Kochalka writes strips when he's drunk, half-asleep, and on an airplane—his March 12, 2005 entry is called "Strips That Sucked." If you want to see Kochalka's artwork for yourself, go to his website (americanelf.com) and take a look. I reviewed the first volume of American Elf two years ago for KLIATT, and I continue to be impressed by the fact that Kochalka can take his days—which are full of the usual clutter that make up a life—and produce art. American Elf, Book Two contains nudity, vulgarity (F-bomb) and toilet humor (literally) and is highly recommended for collections for adults and older high school students.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781891830853
Publisher:
Top Shelf Productions
Publication date:
03/14/2007
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
16 Years

Meet the Author


James Kochalka is the first Cartoonist Laureate of Vermont. That's kind of like being the state flower, but even better! He's the author and illustrator of several popular children's book series, including Johnny Boo, Dragon Puncher, and The Glorkian Warrior. Dragon Puncher Island won an Eisner award in 2012 for "Best Publication for Early Readers", but he's also won the Harvey award and four Ignatz awards for his books for adults.

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