Book Review: Readings
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., May 12, 2006
by Jeffrey Brown and James Kochalka
Top Shelf, 48 pp., $4.95 (paper)
Last time in this space we told you about Conversation #1, a drawn dialogue between cartoonists James Kochalka and Craig Thompson, and we called it a "thick slice of thin philosophizing, yakking about the meaning of life, the meaning of art, and what comics might have to do with any of it." That description will serve to cover this new, equally tiny (5"x5") tome, too. But this conversation the second of what we can only hope will be a continuing series from Top Shelf is still very different, as it occurs between James Kochalka and Jeffrey Brown.
If Kochalka is "Magic Boy," then Brown (of Bighead and Clumsy fame) is "Over-Analyze Lad." This plays out to great effect in 48 pages of clever graphic and textual interchange, our two would-be heroes' foibles and talents and drawing styles surprisingly complementary as they battle over semantics and sensibility with words and fists and a vomit-covered mop. Yes, a vomit-covered mop. You think life and art can't sometimes be as sloppy as that, then this isn't the comic for you. Also, fuck, you might as well go ahead and kill yourself now.