Item description for American Elf Volume 2: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries Of James Kochalka by James Kochalka...
Kochalka invented the daily diary comic strip, spawning a grass roots comix movement that has swept across the globe. Every day Kochalka draws a little comic strip about something that happened to him that day. As simple as that concept might seem, in Kochalka's hands it becomes something astounding and surprising; wickedly funny at times and deeply moving at others. This volume prints all the strips from 2004 and 2005 in gorgeous full-color.
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Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 8.5" Height: 8.5" Weight: 1.2 lbs.
Release Date Mar 28, 2007
ISBN 1891830856 ISBN13 9781891830853
Availability 1 units. Availability accurate as of May 24, 2013 01:48.
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Reviews - What do customers think about American Elf Volume 2: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries Of James Kochalka?
Great cartoons Dec 16, 2007
I had no appreciation for this comic book artist before an instructor "forced" us to read it. Boy am I glad he did! This is the bomb... flowing, magical little stories. Gifted in drawing expressions!
A Beautiful Celebration Of Life Mar 15, 2007
James Kochalka draws his comics in a minimalist fashion. At the same time, it could be argued that his American Elf strip is therefore closer to the artistry of the form - each pen stroke is closer to the original eye-to-hand portrayal than the most refined comic strip panel ever could be. Or at least, that's the overwhelming impression upon the reader (who frequently feels as if the same task could easily be replicated by him/her, yet so rarely is able to capture any such essence present in a single Kochalka panel).
To those unfamiliar with American Elf, it is best described as a daily comic strip diary of James Kochalka's life as lived through his surrogate character, "Magic Boy." Magic Boy is an elf whose life parallels that of Mr. Kochalka, from shared homestead, occupation, family, and even name. Though fully aware of the strip's presence in their daily lives, the characters in American Elf live "outside" the realm of the strip. From day to day, the predictability of the strip's format never denigrates into predictability of content - a one-liner from Kochalka's wife is given the same treatment as a close friend's wedding, an acknowledgment that even the most special days in a life are comprised of exactly the same units of time, though that day's events and emotions aren't subject to the same rules.
In short, American Elf is a celebration of life - and not just the happy, memorable bits. Rather than a self-absorbed look into his own daily accomplishments and observations, Mr. Kochalka presents some of the less-than-glamorous moments as well; a chat over the coffeepot, or a trip to the toilet, or a stroll along Lake Champlain, or a display of temper.
American Elf Book 2 varies from the epic Book 1 in two ways: it is vastly thinner than the original, and it is in full colour on glossy paper stock. That is not to say that Book 2 is inferior in any way. The colour artwork featured in this second book highlights the emotions captured in each strip, subtly stimulating a kind of visual euphoria. Though the book is comprised primarily of previously-released material (on the author's website), in many ways American Elf Book 2 is the superior format. The primary reason is that the paper format directly involves the reader, drawing him/her much closer to the source material, and thereby the artist's original sketchbook, providing a small feeling of exhilaration not otherwise present in electronic form.
Familiarity with James Kochalka's prior work is not necessary for a full, satisfying read (though it does enhance the experience). A beautiful book all on its own, American Elf Book 2 does not provide an intricate story line, nor a resolution with the final panel on the final page. On finishing the book, the reader is simply concluding the last strip (drawn on December 31st, 2005). But that's the essence of a human life after all, isn't it?
Based on its merits and creativity alone, this is one of the most important comic books ever presented in the independent realm. As for the element of human spirit celebrated herein - there simply is no method by which to measure. And the gratification bestowed upon the reader is unlike that of any other comics experience.