Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Item Code: MAY121295
PREVIEWS Page #330
In Shops: 07/25/12
Ever notice that when you finish a good book or movie, you’re thinking in its language? Good autobio comics—especially diary-style ones—do something similar. They capture the rhythm of the narrator’s life so effectively that you carry it into your own day, like the bassline of a catchy song.
James Kochalka has that talent for autobio. In four panels or less, he pulls a moment out of each day and makes it resonate. There’s something Zen-like about the joys and sadnesses he chooses; an unanswered question for the cat is silly when it happens, but as a solitary, uncrowded moment on the page it also blooms and gains dimension. Bit by bit, American Elf assembles a huge spectrum of fleeting, strange, and genuine feelings in fistfuls of Crayola-inspired hues. Like a lot of good short art forms, it looks small but becomes immense. It tricks you with its simplicity.
American Elf is your friend who summarizes movies with exactly the right sentence. It’s the Abe Lincoln you can’t unsee in a cloud. Kochalka’s way of seeing builds real depth and connection from isolated weirdnesses. Pick up the latest volume and take his rose-colored microscope for a spin.
~ Kate Henning