From 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Unlike autobiographical comics creators who string together passages of their lives to form a narrative, Kochalka works in miniature. For nearly 10 years, he has been drawing no more than four panels about his life that day and posting it online. The incidents he documents range from the mundane--he scares his cat, or finds that the blood on his knuckles is actually blueberry pie filling--to the, well, somewhat less mundane, such as visits with his parents, performances with his rock band, and navel-gazing about drawing the strip. Most installments involve exchanges with his wife or friends, and since his birth three years ago, his son, Eli, has come to dominate the proceedings, as kids are wont to do in real life, even a cartoonist's. Kochalka offsets feyness--he depicts himself as a pointy-eared elf--with an inordinate number of strips devoted to bodily functions, sex, and illness (Eli's cold sores are a recurring theme). His briskly simple cartooning and limited palette are ideal for his low-key, minimalist content. Gordon FlaggCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved