November 16, 2008

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Conversation #1

Written by James Kochalka and Craig Thompson
Illustrated by James Kochalka and Craig Thompson
Top Shelf

I think the best way to describe this one is to call it a zine. It's small, square, short, talks only of one thing, and of course features the authors very heavily. So if you're not really into the whole zine thing, just go ahead and pass.

Dually-drawn by Kochalka and Thompson, the conversation they have is akin to the book of drawn essays by Kochalka that I reviewed earlier. As such, its theme is quite positive, though Thompson counters with the same doubts I had when dealing with Kochalka's excessive positivism. (There's a great joking reference to Thompson looking "emo" in relation to his lack of belief in the positive force of art.)

As the pair debate the merits of art--does it help us to understand the world or is the exercise futile?--they walk through fanciful worlds, from facing an undersea god to barren trees, to a scorched earth leading to only one path. While Thompson argues man wrecks nature, Kochalka counters we *are* part of nature.

Is there any point to the discussion, then? And what happens if we discuss things? What do we risk? Should we even care? Part of the fun is that if you're looking for a definite answer, you're in the wrong place.

Kochalka's philosophy does show here a bit more than Thompson's, but with the tempering of a counter-balance, it plays out better than it did solo. In addition, the side jokes add to the fun and keep this from being too serious--or at least as serious as a comic zine can be. I liked this, and I think it's a good read.