I guess I entered into James Kochalka's work kind of backwards, being mostly familiar with his all ages work such as the tremendously popular Monkey vs. Robot. But, for years now, he's been working on an entire body of work exploring the idiosyncrasies of human relationships aimed at more mature audiences. From mini-comics to graphic novels, Kochalka has chronicled the adventures of Magic Boy, a buck-toothed floppy-haired elf who sometimes serves as an analog for his own real life experiences.
KISSERS is one of those graphic novels and through it, we find Magic Boy on the outs with his wife, Amy. He just doesn't always want to do the things that she wants to do and has trouble expressing himself in a manner befitting an adult. At the same time, his cat, Spandy, has developed a crush on a neighborhood bird and is torn between wanting to kiss it and wanting to bite it's head off, serving as a metaphor for Magic Boy's own struggles. Will love win out in the end for our love struck cast? Well, that's for you to find out.
What I found most intriguing about KISSERS, though, is how Kochalka is able to apply the same simple charm in his all ages work to these stories about decidedly more sophisticated issues. Without it, they could easily become commonplace, but it's that very charm that slips in a laugh or tugs at the heartstrings when you least expect it. And that's what makes these books work.
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.