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Editorial Reviews Review

James Kochalka in Conversation with Tom Angleberger

James Kochalka is the first Cartoonist Laureate of Vermont. He's the author and illustrator of several popular children's book series, but he's also won the Harvey Award and four Ignatz Awards for his books for adults. The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza is his first book with a traditional publisher. Tom Angleberger is the author of the bestselling "Origami Yoda" series. He is also the author of Horton Halfpott and Fake Mustache, both Edgar Award nominees, and The Qwikpick Papers: Poop Fountain! Here, they chat about blowing minds, monsters, and magic robots.

The adventure begins. . . . .
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Stupid destiny, here we come!
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I like authors who are capable of blowing kids' minds and aren't afraid to do it. Did you have that amazing ending in sight when you started?

Honestly, it kind of blew my own mind too! It turned my light-hearted adventure into actual science fiction, which I thought was pretty cool. I definitely didn't know how it was going to end when I began scripting... but somewhere along the way I figured it out. Actually... near the end, when the Magic Robot pointed out the Glorkian Warrior's mistake, that was the first I knew about it. And then as I drafted the final chapters, I pieced together the reasons why. What's really great about the ending is that it will totally change your reading experience of the beginning if you go back and read the book a second time.

Did anyone say to you, "This is just too weird for a kids book?" or maybe "This is just too weird for an adult book?"

The biggest knock I've received so far was from myself. .. after finishing the final draft, I read the book to myself and was actually kinda overwhelmed and embarrassed by how relentlessly stupid the story is. When I first submitted it to First Second, the publisher brought the draft home to read to his kids. The kids declared it the "stupidest book ever written," but they absolutely loved it. I guess it's the kind of stupid kids like. Which makes sense because I drew the whole thing as a bedtime story to entertain my own sons.

What did you read as a kid that blew your mind?

The Bad Island by William Steig definitely blew my mind. It's like non-stop constantly escalating monster destruction. And in the end EVERYBODY DIES! It's since been republished as The Rotten Island... and the language has been altered a bit since the first edition. Almost all of Steig's books are more intense than your standard children's book, but this one in particular used complicated language and especially wild imagery. It has the best monsters ever drawn, for sure.

Will there be a Return of the Glorkian?

Oh yeah! I'm well into book two, but I haven't chosen a title yet. By the time The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza actually comes out I will already be finished drawing book two. It's probably even stupider than book one and will have an even more ridiculous ending.

James Kochalka & Tom Angleberger

From School Library Journal

Gr 1–4—The Glorkian Warrior, a three-eyed, amiable alien dunce with an overdeveloped sense of drama, and Super Backpack, his sentient portable weapon system with a yen for action, receive a mysterious call to deliver a pizza. "You say wrong number… I say… DESTINY!" the Warrior declares, and the book continues in this vein of tongue-in-cheek lunacy. The mild adversarial relationship between the Warrior and his backpack mimics the sibling dynamic found in Kochalka's other books-most obviously in the "Johnny Boo" series (Top Shelf, 2008)-and provides much of the humor and the engine with which most readers will find a recognizable hook amid the flights of fancy. The book is leisurely paced, featuring large panels with lots of breathing room padding out most of the surprising length, with zany miscommunication and humorous confusion slowing down the action. Kochalka uses this ambling storytelling style to have a gag with each turn of the page, thus ensuring engagement with readers. While the character renderings are rather staid, the expressiveness of their eyes and mouths is effectively dynamic, and the eight-bit, retro-aesthetic color palette helps establish the extraterrestrial bona fides of the setting. Quirky, funny, lighthearted, and interestingly subversive.—Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Series: The Glorkian Warrior (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: First Second (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596439173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596439177
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Very entertaining book.
Coralie McCormick
She missed some of the jokes but there is enough slap-stick in this book to make even a curmudgeon laugh.
L. Giaime
There was more than one time I thought this book was actually, honestly really funny.
E. R. Bird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 25, 2014
Format: Paperback
James Kochalka is an absolutely brilliant artist. I’ve been reading his work for years having been introduced to it via his online daily diary strip, American Elf, (which he unfortunately discontinued after 31 December 2011) where he recorded his day-to-day existence in one to four panels, drawing himself and his wife Amy with elf-ears. He’s written and performed some amazing music with his band James Kochalka Superstar and as a solo artist, releasing several records, but my favourite is his record, Spread Your Evil Wings And Fly, which contains some really great pop songs like “Britney’s Silver Can” (the chorus of which is simply “Justin Timberlake” over and over), Why Is The Sky Blue? and the title track.

He’s also a really prolific artist who has written and drawn numerous other comics besides American Elf like Pinky & Stinky, a comedy about two spacefaring pigs, Monkey Vs Robot, a silent deathmatch style comic between a monkey and a robot (which also spawned a sequel), and the hilariously expletive-filled superhero parody-turned-internet cartoon, Superf*ckers (google the Superf*ckers theme song for a catchy burst of sweary pop, which Kochalka also wrote and performed).

In recent years Kochalka’s turned primarily to comics for young readers producing his hit series of Johnny Boo books, Dragon Puncher (incorporating photos of his children and cat into the comic), and, most recently, Glorkian Warrior Delivers A Pizza.

Glorkian Warrior is a computer game character he came up with along with some game developers a while back for a retro platform game and here he is in his very own book. Glorkian Warrior is a cheerfully idiotic alien with a talking backpack who’s his best friend and can shoot lasers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 20, 2014
Format: Paperback
James Kochalka has always had a penchant for the outright silly. If nothing else his Johnny Boo series of books have said as much. He’s not afraid to go for the obvious gag, but at the same time his sheer willingness to get ridiculous sort of becomes his strength. I picked up "The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza" uncertain if it would be honestly funny or just trying too hard, and you know what? There was more than one time I thought this book was actually, honestly really funny. It’s the kind of funny best appreciated by younger kids too. Your Captain Underpants / June B. Jones crowd. Humor is, admittedly, so completely subjective that adults have a hard time remembering what it’s like to be a kid and to find just the most ridiculous thing in a story freakin’ hilarious. But reading about “The Glorkian Warrior” I couldn’t help but feel like this was one book where Kochalka really put his finger down firmly on the pulse of kid-humor. Nothing against Johnny Boo or any of his other funny books over the years but with “The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza” I feel like the man has finally hit his stride. His funniest and most ambitious bit of space-based lunacy to date.

It’s a slow day for The Glorkian Warrior. No amazing adventures on the horizon. Nothing much going on. And though his Super Backpack is bugging him to go out and do something heroic, until the Emergency Space Phone rings our hero is out of ideas. Turns out the phone call is from someone ordering a pepperoni pizza and, not one to back down from a challenge, our Warrior sets off to complete this mission. Granted, the only pizza he has in his possession is the partially eaten peanut butter and clam concoction in his fridge. And granted, nothing seems to go according to plan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James A. Thomason III on April 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked this up for my 6 year old son based off of a positive review from BoingBoing.

He wasn't interested at first (he's just starting to read on his own, a little bit) and needed some coaxing. But once I explained to him that it's supposed to be a pretty silly book and easy to read and another comic book (he's read one or two other easy ones), he reluctantly decided to start reading it.

That took about a chapter and a half of begrudging reading until he was hooked, and now he's just devouring it, plus pausing periodically to tell me the funny lines in it.

Really big hit with him. Definitely recommended.
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Format: Paperback
When trouble is near and there is much to fear who will we turn to, but the Glorkian Warrior and his mighty backpack! The heroes of the galaxy. Ok, ok...he isn't quite the brightest dude out there, but he's just gotten a new mission over the phone. Deliver a pepperoni pizza! The G Warrior has no idea what a pepperoni is, but figures that everyone will like like a peanut butter and clam pizza, mmmmmm good. Along the way of trying to deliver it the Warrior and his backpack make some new friends, travel in time a bit, improve the pizza along the way (ash and tears are great toppings!) and....but wait...who does the pizza belong to?

If you haven't heard of James Kochalka before, you really are missing out. His previous books have all been published by TopShelf and during that time period he's won an Eisner award, multiple Ignatz awards, and is Vermont's first ever Cartoonist Laureate. And while he hasn't always been my favorite writer/artist (he does get a bit goofy) he really, really does understand the sense of humor that a young kid has. His Dragon Puncher books from Top Shelf, are whimsical and funny and incorporate pictures of himself, his children, and his cats into them. And the Glorkian Warrior is of the same mold. Bright, cheerful, colorful, and a laugh a page at the quest that the Warrior takes and the weird adventures he has. And while James's writing style never takes itself too seriously, there is an excellent and well paced story in the books. In this one it feels like we're watching a master improv player at work as he takes suggestions from the audience on what the Glorkian Warrior should do next. It just makes for an interesting and enjoyable read.
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