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American Elf Book 4: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries of James Kochalka: January 1 2008 - December 31 2011 Paperback – July 31, 2012


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Frequently Bought Together

American Elf Book 4: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries of James Kochalka: January 1 2008 - December 31 2011 + American Elf Volume 3: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries of James Kochalka: January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2007 (v. 3) + American Elf, Book Two, January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2005 : The Collected Sketchbook Diaries of James Kochalka, Vol. 2
Price for all three: $50.65

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"Crow Fair" by Thomas McGuane
Set in Thomas McGuane’s accustomed Big Sky country, with its mesmeric powers, these stories attest to the generous compass of his fellow feeling, as well as to his unique way with words and the comic genius. See more

Product Details

  • Series: American Elf
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (July 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160309265X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603092654
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #607,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* About halfway through this book, Kochalka wonders whether, since he’s heard nothing from Top Shelf about a third two-year gathering of his comics diary, the publisher has lost interest in American Elf. Fortunately for all concerned, that was needless fretting, for here are four years’ worth, rather than just two, of Kochalka’s daily, four-panel reports of his doings, and if Top Shelf didn’t pony up for color this time, well, you’d have to be the ultimate wet blanket to object. Not just because Kochalka remains the cheery, sentimental, earthy, creatively goofy guy—who yet confesses his doubts, regrets, anger, fearfulness, bad dreams, and booboos—that he has always been but also because his family of perfect-foil wife, Amy, and cute-as-the-dickens little sons, Eli and Oliver, grows more fascinating every day to followers of his strip as well as to him. Though like all parents he worries about being good enough, he must know that he presents himself as a kind of father-we-all-wish-we’d-had—even when we did! As he presents them, everyone in his family, not to mention the boys’ friends, is Dennis the Menace. Extremely good stuff—bad words, body functions, and all. --Ray Olson

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Scott VINE VOICE on August 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Kochalka has kept a diary of his personal life in comics form every single day since October 26, 1998. He is well known internationally as the prolific author of such comics bestsellers as Johnny Boo, Monkey vs. Robot, Dragon Puncher, and many more in addition to recording and performing highly creative original music with his band. Recently he was even named the first ever Cartoonist Laureate of his home state of Vermont. Kochalka is very busy and is very active in many pursuits, but for him each day begins and ends with his diary, American Elf. I have read all of James Kochalka's American Elf anthologies, and I must say that I am looking forward to many more.

James Kochalka publishes his daily American Elf comic strip on his website, but aside from an occasional glance when I just can't stand not knowing what's going on with his family I wait for his semi-annual anthologies to come out so I can follow the narrative flow of Kochalka's life several years at a time. Since American Elf began (Kochalka portrays himself as an Elf in the strip) we have seen Kochalka succeed and fail many times, get married and have kids, and we have even seen his children grow up right before our eyes. It is fascinating to see him at work and at play, and also to see how his own very unique and successful creative process works. Kochalka is many things, but first and foremost he is honest with us as readers, and that is what pulls the whole project together and makes it work.

Kochalka is not afraid to show us the bad as well as the good. He yells, he plays with abandon, is honest about his marriage almost to a fault, and he takes great pride in his children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alt on September 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
People are endlessly fascinated by their own lives. That doesn't mean anyone else needs to be. Graphic artists who feel the need to record their lives in a daily diary shouldn't expect to attract a readership unless their lives are interesting, or unless they have something interesting (or funny) to say. "Gee my baby is cute" isn't interesting. Angst about internet readers who hate a comic strip isn't interesting. The buzzing noise on your television isn't interesting. Making a mistake on your taxes isn't interesting. A picture of a hill isn't interesting. Peeing on your kid is moderately funny but you can only do that every so often if you don't want social services knocking on the door.

If it weren't for the frequent use of the f-word, this strip would be intolerably dull. The art is simple, the sort of thing you'd see on a gag strip on the funny pages. If this were on the funny pages, I'd probably skip over it, but trying to read through all of these strips in several sittings, mining for the occasional nugget of gold among the pyrite, is just too laborious. I can't recommend it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By hb on August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love AMERICAN ELF, but disappointed this latest volume is in black and white. The 1st volume and the first strips were B&W, but volumes 2 and 3 were in color, just as the strips appear on James Kolchaka's website [...]. All the strips in Volume 4 are also available in color there, but this collected volume regresses back to the black and white presentation. The content is great as usual - just feeling shortchanged, especially now that we fans are used to seeing the daily strips in color and the previous two volumes presented them in color. (For example, the July 18, 2008 strip was "drawn with black raspberry juice" and is shown in purple on the website, but in this collected volume, it is just grey, defeating the whole purpose of the panel.) With that being said, I hope AMERICAN ELF continues for many more years.
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American Elf Book 4: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries of James Kochalka: January 1 2008 - December 31 2011
This item: American Elf Book 4: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries of James Kochalka: January 1 2008 - December 31 2011
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