Who don’t love Christmas? Most of us, but as Wonderlick said, it’s nice to pretend. Here’s another hypothetical mix CD, and it’s all Christmas Songs, since it’s getting to be that time of year again (unless you’re reading this later, like, in January. In which case, well, I guess it’s still getting to be that time of year again, just much, much more slowly.), and there’s a lot of awful Christmas records out, so perhaps there will be some on here that people can actually enjoy, huh? (Also: I think there should be a moratorium on Xmas Mix CDs with the Pogues‘ “Fairytale Of New York”, just because it’s basically the One Good Song Everyone Knows About Already. Though it is basically my favorite Xmas song ever.)
The title comes from a piece not actually on here: “Yulenet (Christmas Dragnet)” by Stan Freberg. Honestly that and his single “Green Chri$tma$” are both must-hear records, so you should seek them out right away. They’re both wonderful.
From the printers of Top Shelf Productions and the field behind the author’s house in Vermont comes Superf*ckers, a compilation of the the craziest superhero parody you will ever read, all in inimitable Kochalka Quality.
James Kochalka, author of American Elf and frontman for the band James Kochalka Superstar, is the mastermind behind this expletive-laden gallery of gross-out humor, which boasts bright, attractive colors, inter-dimensional shower peeping and getting high off of unorthodox chemicals. Oh, and there’s a story in there somewhere, too, but who has time for a story when you’re so busy laughing at a dysfunctional team of superheroes verbally degrading each other?
Johnny Boo and the Mean Little Boy, James Kochalka
Dragon Puncher, James Kochalka
There’s really no doubt that one of the things that has always been admirable about Kochalka‘s work is the joyously childlike spirit inherent in it — whether that be the subject matter of many of his earlier graphic novels, the lyrics to his songs, or even the ease with which he has collaborated with his young children on drawings for his autobiographical comic, American Elf. From drawings to dialogue, it’s not difficult to imagine his work appealing to children.
I was staying in a hotel in New York, and James Kochalka was with me (though not sharing a room), and we were friends. Somehow James found a small frog, and was attempting to make it his pet, but the frog took more of a liking to me.
Actually, there were two Jameses, the standard one, and one that was James-At-About-10-Or-So. I think it was 10-James who found the frog, and Adult-James was sort of an observer. I was friends with both, although I think I ended up being a little bit more of a bully to 10-James — or not really a bully, more of an inadvertent one.
Here’s another hypothetical mix CD, this one called “Jeff Bridges… I Don’t Need No Jeff Bridges To Put Music To My Poem!” The title’s taken from one of my favorite Tom Goes To The Mayor episodes (though, really, they’re all pretty dang great), and the main idea of this mix is to expose people to bands or songs they might not know otherwise. None of the songs were chosen for ironic value; I tend to find all these songs very listenable, and hope others do as well. The songs worked themselves out into “sides” like an LP, although, length-wise, each “side” here would probably be about 2 sides of a real record, but since this is hypothetical, no one will mind.
When James Kochalka‘s original essay “Craft Is The Enemy” appeared in The Comics Journal, it generated quite a bit of controversy. People misunderstood his point and thought that Kochalka was saying that the ability to draw well was a hinderance. He then wrote a followup, “Craft Is Not A Friend”, which clarified his position — not that drawing well is a hinderance, but that NOT drawing well wasn’t necessarily a hinderance either. The point was to make the best art that you can given the skills you’ve got — and use the fact that the more you create, the more your skills will grow, but that the SKILL itself shouldn’t be the goal. Kochalka says the goal isn’t to make good DRAWINGS, but to make good COMICS. And if good drawings come out of that, so much the better; but being a particularly good draftsman isn’t the same as being a good cartoonist.