Johnny Boo Book 1: the Best Little Ghost in the World
by James Kochalka
James Kochalka has received much praise and almost every major award in the comics industry for his unique brand of magical realism. His innocent artwork and nonsensical (and sometimes crude) humor are deceptive, masking a personal philosophy as rich and developed as Charles Schultz’s; imagine a grown Charlie Brown with the assistance of alcohol to temper his nerves and you have a pretty good picture of Kochalka’s American Elf series.
This year Kochalka and Top Shelf have introduced a new children’s book entitled Johnny Boo: the Best Little Ghost in the World. If Kochalka’s American Elf diary series is Peanuts plus booze, Johnny Boo is Dr. Suess plus… well I don’t really know where this is going. It’s just a fun adventure without alphabets and counting and sermonizing. But don’t think there aren’t lessons to be learned. Heavy-handed parents wishing to brush up on their Socratic method may pose questions. Which is better: Squiggle power or Boo power? Can Johnny Boo’s ice cream really be considered ice cream if it’s buried underground? Wouldn’t it just be cream cream? And if it was just cream cream, would it really excite an ice cream monster? Personally, I see good arguments for all sides, but these questions are tough and cut right to the core of childhood logic. Or you could just enjoy the funny story, colorful pictures, and wide range of bodily sound effects. Either way is good. This book (and soon to be series) is highly recommended for all children and adults who don’t really want to act their age. Comic lovers should also check out American Elf online or any of Kochalka’s other work.