365 Reasons to Love Comics #131

Okay, so yesterday's column wasn't as spectacular as I would've liked it to be, but it couldn't be that lame, could it? Aww. Am I not edgy enough? Do I need to turn the Joe Rice dial up to 11? I'll do it! I will! Watch out, internet! (Christ, I am lamer than I thought.)

Anyway, today's column is about one of those indie cartoonists that only cool people like. If you are cool, click on through. If you're uncool, well... the first one's free. But then you gotta pay.


131. James Kochalka

James Kochalka, the American Elf, is the author and illustrator of such esteemed works as Monkey vs. Robot, Superf*ckers, Peanut Butter and Jeremy, and his online sketchbook diary, American Elf (didn't see that one coming, did you?).

The fun thing about James is that he shows an extreme diversity in content. He's created everything from lovely, all-ages works like Peanut Butter & Jeremy and Pinky & Stinky, to over-the-top and profane mature-readers-only works like Superf*ckers and Fancy Froglin's Sexy Forest. The best part is, everything's drawn in the same beautiful manner. Kochalka's art style is feathery and whimsical, perfect for children and adults who want to remind themselves of what it was like to be a child.

His most famous work, the daily autobiographical webcomic American Elf, is funny, charming, sad, poignant, and wonderful, containing observations and musings on the ordinary and extraordinary in daily life. I can't believe he's been doing it daily since 1998. I couldn't imagine writing this column for nine years. The man is a machine. A machine of awesomeness.

His other most famous work is Monkey vs. Robot, which is about a monkeys fighting robots. Why? Because everybody loves monkeys and robots.

Another acclaimed work of his is the Cute Manifesto, which is described thusly: "Just think of this as Kochalka's Dianetics. It's a powerful mixture of philosophy and comics, and it can literally change your life forever. In a dangerously uncertain world, Kochalka plots a theoretical path to happiness. Collecting some of his most intensely thoughtful work, this book struggles with all the big issues: comics and art, birth and death, technology and joy, and everything in between." Hot damn!

Mr. Kochalka is also the lead dude in a band, brilliantly titled James Kochalka Superstar. Some of their songs are pretty damn awesome. Click here to be shanghied to YouTube to watch their "Monkey vs. Robot" music video. It's hilarious and awesome. For an added bonus, here's the link to the "Wash Your Ass" video. Their website can be found this link. Bam.

James Kochalka is at the forefront of alternative, independent comics. His works touch the souls and tickle the fancies of many readers throughout the land. He could always use a bigger audience, though, so I hope you pick up one of his works. They're fun. Don't take it from me, though, take it from the man himself:

What've you got to say, readers? Is James Kochalka a suitable Reason to Love Comics?

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