A deluxe compilation of the first five years of James Kochalka's ground breaking daily diary comic strip.
Since October 1998, James Kochalka has kept a daily diary, drawn in comic strip form in his sketchbook. Drawn with relaxed and beautiful brushwork, these strips perfectly capture the rhythm of daily life. From the hilarious to the sad, from the poetic to the drunken, these strips offer a direct and intimate portrait of the life of one of America's most important alternative cartoonists. This ambitious and deluxe, perfect-bound volume collect the first five years of Kochalka's diary.
Contains a full-color section.
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This massive collection of Kochalka’s cartoon diaries covers five years of his life. Each day is represented by a cartoon capturing a single moment of the day. These moments range from a haircut to reflections on nature to funny exchanges with friends, with each moment getting just four panels. Kochalka has a facile, expressive line; his lush brushstrokes convey both emotional meaning and a real sense of place and season with minimal fuss. In fact, this is a minimal book packed with a tremendous amount of personal detail. As a cartoonist, Kochalka is a great reducer, conveying more in one or two panels than many cartoonists do in one or two pages. On top of that, he makes readers consider the simple pleasures of voyeurism—why do we want to read about his life? Why does he want to discuss it? It’s the tone of these reality-television times, and, frankly, Kochalka is entertaining. Unlike some autobiographical comics, whether readers personally like the James Kochalka depicted here is almost irrelevant, because half of the fun is simply engaging with his level of detail and day-to-day tribulations. Some of these are trite, others flaky, and still more are funny or touching. But, as they say, that’s life, and Kochalka does a solid job of capturing the roiling stream of everyday consciousness without straining our acceptance.
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Since October 26, 1998, independent comics creator Kochalka has kept a journal in comics. Each day's square of one, two, three, or the conventional four panels illustrates a nice or funny or pointed exchange between him and Amy, his wife; an encounter with their cat, Spandy; an interchange with a friend; recording or performing with his rock band; bike riding or driving; partying or traveling; attending a comics convention; appreciating, or not, the pleasures of the day; struggling with that day's entry. Utterly candid, the strips include nudity and bodily functions because, after all, they are everyday phenomena. Kochalka depicts himself as an elf, with buckteeth and long, pointed ears that lead many to mistake the representation as a rabbit. Only once is another comic mentioned: Peanuts, on the day Charles Schulz dies. That is indicative, for Kochalka's work is as graphically innocent as Schulz's, though less intellectual and far earthier in content. It's as if sweet gross-out filmmaker John Waters had reconstituted Schulz's classic with and for grown-ups: vulgar but lovable. Ray Olson
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