Book Review: Readings

James Kochalka

Conversation #2

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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Book Reviews
<i>Presidio</i> by Randy Kennedy
Presidio by Randy Kennedy
For his debut novel, Kennedy creates a road story that portrays the harsh West Texas terrain beautifully and fills it with sympathetic characters.

Jay Trachtenberg, Sept. 14, 2018

Hunting the Golden State Killer in <i>I'll Be Gone in the Dark</i>
Hunting the Golden State Killer in I'll Be Gone in the Dark
How Michelle McNamara tracked a killer before her untimely death

Jonelle Seitz, July 20, 2018

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
Carter Creek Wines are Light, Bright, and Make for a Perfect Night
Carter Creek Wines are Light, Bright, and Make for a Perfect Night
Hill Country winery offers a fine array of tipples for Texans

Jan. 15, 2021

PrintAustin 2021 Reproduces Community Online and Off
PrintAustin 2021 Reproduces Community Online and Off
At this celebration of printmaking it's gather, prints, repeat

Jan. 15, 2021


Conversation #2, James Kochalka, Jeffrey Brown, Top Shelf

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle