Written and drawn by: James Kochalka
Published by: Top Shelf
An unmitigated disaster, full of disingenuous surrealism and typical, almost derivative artwork and writing (think Matt Groening‘s Life in Hell)—that’s the very best praise I can give Magic Boy & the Robot Elf, the misconceived, misdelivered, and misreared brainchild of writer/artist James Kochalka.
Every humorless joke; every unironic exchange; every bit of witless, meaningless dialogue and monologue; every remote, disconnected dream sequence—these are the parts that most decidedly do not equal something greater than their sum.
Kochalka tries—he tries to be clever, to be contemplative, to be otherworldly.
And he fails. He fails in totality.
Nothing contained within the front and back covers of this delinquent, deficient mess can be celebrated, nor even passingly mentioned as acceptable. The artwork and writing in their completeness are a dramatic reminder of just how poorly a story can be narrated and rendered.
I imagine Kochalka is quite pleased with his abomination—he likely thinks it progressive, entertaining, imaginative, playful…it is none of these things.
Plagued by plot inconsistencies, static interactions, and an overwhelming sense of contextual shortcoming, this monstrosity gallops along like a wounded horse, and at the risk of being even less witty than Kochalka—or is that not possible?—I wonder whether Magic Boy & the Robot Elf deserves the same fate.
- James Kochalka’s Magic Boy & the Robot Elf – a series of psychedelic missteps (comicsforge.com)
- Top Shelf’s Kids Club family is about to get bigger! (graphicpolicy.com)
- 2 Must-Read Kid Comic Series From Top Shelf Productions (wired.com)
- Rethinking Elves 3 – Elves as an infection from Rolang’s Creeping Doom (rolang.com)