News / James Kochalka ends the award-winning AMERICAN ELF after 14 years

James Kochalka ends the award-winning AMERICAN ELF after 14 years

December 31, 2012

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With a complicated blend of sadness, excitement, and awe, we are proud to celebrate James Kochalka's stunning achievement in American Elf, the daily diary comic strip that changed lives, inspired careers, and brought a daily dose of human connection and Kochalka magic to countless readers around the world. After over 14 years, James has decided to bring American Elf to a close, and tonight he posted the final strip.

Here's how our new editions of American Elf describe the series:

It's a simple idea -- every day, James draws a comic strip capturing a moment from his life-- but gathered all together, these moments take on rich new meanings. Both silly and profound, American Elf is a portrait of human life lived to the fullest, infused with the trademark passion and magic of Vermont's Cartoonist Laureate.

Click [MORE] to read some of our favorite praise for the series.

Meanwhile, we’re continuing to work with James to roll out the remastered digital editions of American Elf with new covers, for Comixology, Apple iBooks, ComicsPlus by iVerse, etc. - the latest one is American Elf 2005.

Beyond that... we don't know where James is going next, but we can't wait to find out!

The first and *sniff* last strips of American Elf.

Here are just some of the things people have said about American Elf:

"You might have thought that the daily strip was the oldest of the comics forms, the most conservative and convention-bound, with its ties to the daily newspaper and the formulas of international syndication. Well, Kochalka has rescued it from its moribundity and given it a reason to get out of bed every morning." -- Eddie Campbell (creator of Alec and co-creator of From Hell)

"James Kochalka is my autobiographical idol." -- Alison Bechdel (creator of Fun Home, Are You My Mother?, and Dykes to Watch Out For)

"James Kochalka draws beautiful music." -- Nicholas Gurewitch (creator of The Perry Bible Fellowship)

"What makes American Elf so good is that it's incredibly personal and it runs the full spectrum from super-sickening sweetness to gut-wrenching terror and sorrow. It's a funny and powerful window into a real person's mind." -- Tony Millionaire (creator of Maakies and Sock Monkey)

"James Kochalka’s American Elf is the reason I became a cartoonist more than any other work." -- Box Brown (publisher of Retrofit Comics, creator of Everything Dies and Andre the Giant)

"The point that I realized that American Elf is significant in the juxtaposition of banality and drama came when James opened up his archives. Alone in my apartment one day, I carved through entire years of this man's life, watching his children be conceived, born, and develop their own personalities. I watched his love for his wife lengthen and deepen through fights and sex and romance and rides around town. I watched his father get older and sicker. I watched, and smiled, and frowned, and finally a swelling in my heart made me realize that I had experienced a chunk of real, actual existence, a real life, told entirely through designs and colors." -- Kelly Tindall (freelance cartoonist)

"In this influential must-read, Kochalka collects... his daily diary comics. Each one appears quite simple -- most consist of just four panels that cover one basic action -- but together, they make up an extraordinary life. You'll stay up past your bedtime to read it, and his milestones (including the birth of his first child) may move you to tears." -- Whitney Matheson, USA Today

"Few people keep a diary as consistently and as entertainingly as James Kochalka. [His] tiny strips convey the personalities of him, his family and friends with astounding and impressive ease." -- Tom McLean, Variety

"Extremely good stuff... Not just because Kochalka remains the cheery, sentimental, earthy, creatively goofy guy -- who yet confesses his doubts, regrets, anger, fearfulness, bad dreams, and booboos -- that he has always been, but also because his family... grows more fascinating every day." -- Booklist

"American Elf is an enticing peephole into the household of its manically inventive author, James Kolchalka. Each day offers a real-time sample of the love, frustration, and learning that occurs between Kolchalka and his family. For more than 14 years, readers have watched the domestic ebb into the transcendental, immersed in Kolchalka’s lush colors and eccentric line work." -- Paste

"Although I was prepared not to like American Elf, I found it hypnotic the more I read, the more I began to live in Kochalka’s world... it's comforting and generous in spirit." -- Jeff VanderMeer, Bookslut

"American Elf is the great granddaddy of diary webcomics, and one of the many reasons why James Kochalka is awesome enough to be the first ever Cartoonist Laureate." -- ComicsAlliance

"I have no doubt that historians or alien civilizations will some day encounter Kochalka’s work and use it to study our era and culture, it’s that good. An entrancing writer as well as a great draftsman (and colorist, seriously), the artist’s comics chronicle every-day adventures with the eye and ear of a poet." -- Hyperallergenic

"A singular experience in the world of comics... In a medium where many creators find life unbearably and predictably painful, he finds the extraordinary in the ordinary." -- 4-Color Review

"Quirky, soulful, and surprising, James Kochalka's diary comic is a remarkable and singular achievement. No wonder it has influenced countless cartoonists!" -- James Sturm (director of the Center for Cartoon Studies)