Interview conducted by Alan David Doane in October of 2001; transcribed by Chris Hunter.

The second time I interviewed James Kochalka was in the weeks following the September, 2001 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City, among other horrors. The attacks were much on our minds, as you'll see, but James had other things in mind when we first began speaking over the phone...

James Kochalka: Guess what I'm doing right now.

Alan David Doane: What are you doing right now, James?

JK: I'm (laughs) flossing my teeth.

ADD: You are.

JK: Yup (laughing).

ADD: Well, I know from reading your comics that hygiene and taking care of your body is something that's very important to you.

JK: Yes, well, I would like to save my teeth for my whole life. (laughs)

ADD: Yes, because you may need them later on.

JK: Yes, I think I will. (laughs)

ADD: I'm not entirely certain what the mechanics of talking on the phone and flossing your teeth at the same time would entail, but --

JK: Well, do you hear the clicking sound?

ADD: Yeah, I wondered what that was.

JK: I'm all done now. (laughs)

ADD: James, the first thing I want to ask you about is the events of 11 September. I'm wondering, as a cartoonist whose work has often portrayed your interest in the world beyond yourself, has this had an effect on your work?

JK: Well, I do keep my daily diary in comic strip form, so it's had a direct effect on that.

ADD: Have those strips appeared anywhere yet?

JK: No, they haven't.

ADD: How many have you done that have involved these current events?

JK: Probably maybe seven. I don't know the exact number, I'm guessing. Usually no event occurs which is big enough to make it into my diary (laughs); I mean, usually it's just the minutiae of my daily life. Now, the minutiae of my daily life is affected by the terrorist attacks, so, it has made it into the diary.

ADD: Earlier this year you released the Sketchbook Diaries, which is a daily diary of your life, of what's on your mind on a given day. This is something you've been doing how long now?

JK: Since October, 1998.

ADD: And you've never missed a day?

JK: Well, during the second year, I missed like two months (laughs). I quit doing it. This was at a point where I couldn't find a publisher for the strips, they weren't appearing anywhere, they weren't running as a strip in the newspaper yet, and I was starting to get depressed about "Why was there any point in even doing them, no one was ever going to see them." So I quit for a month, and that just made me more depressed (laughs). So after a month or two I started doing them again. And I haven't missed a day since then.

ADD: When 11 September occurred, was that the topic of your strip for that day?

JK: Oh, yes, it was.

ADD: What were you doing when you found out what had happened?

JK: Well, I was actually making plans to go to the Small Press Expo, which is a comic book convention in Bethesda Maryland, which was gonna happen the following weekend. I was e-mailing a friend about our plans to meet up there, or something, and my wife called and said to turn on the television, and then of course all the plans were flushed down the toilet. (laughs)

ADD: What did you think when you first saw what was going on on TV? What went through your mind?

JK: I turned on the television, and the first thing I saw was the World Trade Center collapsing, so it was pretty shocking; to go from being completely innocent one second to seeing the World Trade Center's collapse the next second. I'm going to Portugal in two weeks for an exhibit of my artwork over there, at a comic festival, and I'm a little bit worried. Ordinarily, you travel to another country and people can't necessarily tell if you're an American or not, so you're kind of safe in that you're anonymous, but of course, they're going to be announcing to everyone on the news and everything that this American cartoonist is there, so it's making me kind of nervous.

ADD: It's fascinating to me the attention that comics gets in other places.

JK: Oh, yeah, that's true. If a cartoonist from Portugal came to Burlington for some comics festival, the newspapers, the television, they wouldn't care one bit.

ADD: How well are you known there in Burlington? Burlington is a fairly progressive community...I would imagine that there must be a certain level of people there who knows who you are and what you do?

JK: Yeah, well, I do have a weekly strip in the newspaper, and I've had a couple number one songs on the local radio station, so I think there's some -- popular understanding of who I am (laughs).

ADD: It's fascinating to me to go from being a cartoonist to being a rock star, because being a cartoonist, I think for many if not most cartoonists, is a fairly solitary endeavour, and yet, being a performer of music, especially of the type of performances that you give, is pretty exhibitionist in nature.

JK: That's true. Most cartoonists are much too shy to ever do anything like perform live on stage. And actually, I was incredibly shy when I was a kid. I didn't dare to get up in front of the class and do show and tell or anything like that. Somehow -- I got over it (laughs). I guess the thing is, when you get up on stage, you've got either two choices: You can either crumble, or you can just go for it. And once I learned that, if you just go for it, that things work out pretty well, people are impressed to see any level of confidence by someone on a stage.

ADD: When you get up in the morning, on the average morning, do you think to yourself "Today I'm gonna be a cartoonist," or "Today I'm gonna do music," or, how does that work?

JK: Oh, no, it's really both every day. I mean, probably the first thing I do is be a musician, because I sing in the shower. I often write new songs in the shower. Then I'll sit down and draw. And then maybe if I'm gonna record that day, I might go over to a friend's house to record. I draw every day and I make music every day.

ADD: What are you currently working on as far as your upcoming cartoon projects?

JK: I have several. I guess the most important right now is Pinky and Stinky, which is about two pigs exploring the moon. It's an all-ages graphic novel and I've been working on that all year. I thought I would be done by May, but here it is October and not done. (laughs)

ADD: How far along are in finishing that up?

JK: Well, I think I'm getting near the end, I have a pretty good idea of what the end will be at least and, I don't know, I might be more than one hundred pages into it.

ADD: Is that your longest work to date?

JK: Oh no, no. I think that most of my graphic novels tend to be about one-hundred-seventy-two pages, around there somewhere, so this one might end up being a little shorter than normal.

ADD: Oh, all right. It just seems like many of your books that have been packaged as graphic novels or individual stories that are sort of collected...or am I off base there?

JK: No, you're off base. (laughs)

ADD: How does that happen? Now, musically, you've got a new CD coming out. Can you tell us a little about that?

JK: Well, it's called Don't Trust Whitey..

ADD: Where does the title come from?

JK: Well, everyone knows you can't trust Whitey... (laughs)

ADD: And why is that, James?

JK: Cuz he's always trying to keep us down!

ADD: Yep...

JK: Uh...

ADD: The cover of the cd...

JK: Well, you know, the truth is that Don't Trust Whitey is, in itself, a racist statement, which nobody understands. So I'm kind of poking fun at it a little bit.

ADD: With the cover...?

JK: Yeah, the cover of the cd is a little white frog in the center, looking quite innocent, surrounded by many, many multi-colored frogs all around him, all staring at him accusingly.

ADD: Is that a visual metaphor for the racial tension?

JK: Oh God... (laughs)

ADD: Or am I putting too much into that?

JK: No, if anything, it's the visual metaphor for my own personal feelings. I don't think the white frog would necessarily symbolize all white people, but, like, for instance, when I went to graduate school, which was at the height of PC-dom, you couldn't turn around without being told that as a white male, you had some kind of strange privilege that no one else had or that your ideas didn't even matter because you were a white male.

ADD: So it was kind of a reverse prejudice then?

JK: Yeah, except I wouldn't say it's reverse, I'd just say it's prejudice.

ADD: That's true. All right. And would you say that this has continued to affect your career and what you've been trying to accomplish?

JK: No! (laughs)

ADD: I didn't think so...

JK: The institutional racism... that works just fine in my favor. (laughs)

ADD: Yeah, because your kind of working almost underneath the radar, wouldn't you say?

JK: Yeah, no really, yeah. Yeah, as a white man with no power, I'm not really necessarily discriminated against but I'm not really helped either. It's almost like the whole issue is a non-issue for me.

ADD: You've got, how well are your...now you've been a cartoonist for how long now? About ten years? Longer?

JK: Well, really, my whole life.

ADD: But in terms of actually having the work out there...

JK: Yeah, I think maybe '94 my first published comic came out, maybe '95.

ADD: And it seems, from checking the internet, that there's a real international audience for your work. How do you see that?

JK: That's true.

ADD: Why do you think that you're so appreciated in other places?

JK: Well, I decided a few years ago to, that one of my goals was to be published in Europe, so I just started from scratch, from the bottom. Most people wait until they're successful here and then people notice them and ask them to be published over there, but I just started sending out submissions to different publishers. I started at the bottom sending short submissions to various 'zines and comics magazines in Europe and built a career from scratch over there just like I did here. It's only beginning to sort of pay off now. I have a new graphic novel coming out in Portugal, it's a reprint of one of my earlier American ones called Paradise Sucks, and in France, the small publisher called EgocomX(?) is publishing my book Kissers. Both of those should be out this year, I think.

ADD: What's the reaction like when you go overseas to one of these comics festivals, something that really is..., although they do have comics conventions here in the United States, I'm imagining it's not not even really comparable to the much more inclusive festivals overseas...?

JK: Well, that's true. Where as comic book conventions here in the US seem to be mostly about...

ADD: Superheroes?

JK: Well, not only that, but retailers selling old comics, that's what comic conventions are here.

ADD: Flea markets.

JK: And the ones that I've been to over there, well, I guess I've only been to one, but it was...and the other ones, well, I've only been to one but I've had four exhibits of my comics artwork in Portugal...their conventions there tend to be more like art exhibits. They might have a couple of retailers but, for the most part, it's like waliking into a museum, except the artists are there so you can actually meet them.

ADD: How much on an audience have you built up here in the United States, and not so much in terms of numbers, but in terms of appreciating the work? Is it comparable to the appreciation that you get in other countries?

JK: Actually, I'd say that appreciation is stronger here. More people know who I am here. They're only just barely beginning to learn who I am in the other countries and only the very most intense comic afficianodos know who I am in other countries. I would say I haven't really broken the... I don't know. There's probably only like three thousand people on the face of the earth that know who I am, I don't know.

ADD: Talk a little bit about the synergy between your comics and your music, because many of your songs and the CD's, Monkey Vs. Robot or Carrot Boy, The Beautiful, you can enjoy either the CD or the comic book or both. I think it's kind of unique in the way you use both of those mediums to sort of complement and contrast each other.

JK: Thanks! (laughs) I think that, for me, music speaks more directly to my physical body. Music vibrates and you feel the vibrations and I think that that has a certain physical effect on you. Whereas comics, they seem to speak more directly to your mind. To fully communicate the full range of emotion, the two-pronged attack seems the best.

ADD: Not only communicating, but perhaps satisfying a need in you?

JK: Oh, yes. Absolutely. It's not really about communication at all, it's much more about satisfying an internal need of myself.

ADD: But don't you think that the best artists created for the entertainment or whatever purpose for the artist and the joy is in the fact that other people are able to appreciate that work?

JK: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. You know, there's a real trouble in... You shouldn't really make art for the audience and I find that it's a trap that happens to me, like, if I have a book, like my book Monkey Vs. Robot is probably my best selling book, but I find myself thinking, "What else can I draw that will sell as much as Monkey Vs. Robot did" which is a stupid way to think. I should just do whatever it is that I want to do and if the audience wants to come along, they can and if they don't, they won't.

ADD: Some of my favorite stories of yours are the Magic Boy stories because they're autobiographical, they're about you and your life, I mean, obviously often times fanciful interpretations of events, but I think that they are among the best things that you do. Are we going to be seeing more Magic Boy stories in the near future?

JK: Yes, I'm half done a new Magic Boy graphic novel. I was working on it last fall and I stopped in January to work on the Pinky and Stinky book, so there's a half done Magic Boy graphic novel that is yet to be finished and it will be finished someday, but I can't say when, I don't know.

ADD: How does that work? All of a sudden, were you hit with the Pinky and Stinky lightning bolt and had to get to that? A bolt from the blue?

JK: Well, yes, well, I wanted the Magic Boy graphic novel to come out this past summer and I talked to the publisher who was going to do it and he just knew that he didn't have time in his schedule for it, so I was thinking, "I don't want to finish this book now and then wait a year or two years until it's ready to come out. I'll just put it off until it's closer to a time that he can actually publish it."

ADD: Your work is so personal and visceral, oftentimes, it must be frustrating to have to take those business considerations into account...

JK: Yes, awful. (laughs)

ADD: Have you ever thought about utilizing a medium that might get you more immediate feedback, like doing an internet based comic strip?

JK: Well, I have thought about putting my, it'd be nice to put my daily strip up on a website everyday but it also feels like more trouble than it's worth. I travel a lot and everytime I travel, I wouldn't be able to put it up during that time. Also, I have no idea how to do it. (laughs) [Editor's note: This obviously later changed].

ADD: You mentioned that Pinky and Stinky is an all-ages graphic novel. One of the other all-ages works you've been doing the last couple of years is Peanut Butter and Jeremy comics...

JK: Yeah.

ADD: Anything new coming out with them?

JK: Yes, actually, I have in my local newspaper, seven days, I have started serializing a new Pinky and Stinky comic, which will be eventually collected either as an issue of Pinky and Stinky or in the eventual Pinky and Stinky book collection, but we working towards a book collection of Pinky and Stinky.

ADD: What's the reaction been like to that?

JK: People really seem to like it. Just a few comics creators have commented to me that they didn't understand why an artist such as myself would want to do that.

ADD: Really?

JK: Yeah. Why I would want to do a kid's comic, I don't know. They couldn't seem to see the value in it at all.

ADD: Number one, nobody ever seems to say that about Jaime Hernandez who does the Measles comic and also does some very adult work, and number two, it seems to me, a natural outgrowth of the things that you do with Spandy in your Magic Boy strips, your cat. In fact, I assume that Peanut Butter is pretty much a stand in for Spandy...?

JK: Well, Spandy doesn't actually act much like Peanut Butter, but I get all my information about cats from Spandy, it's true in that case. And also...

ADD: I'm picturing you sort of sitting there taking notes as the cat is explaining to you the secrets of the cat world...

JK: (laughs) Also, the human in Peanut Butter and Jeremy is me, I never show the face but...

ADD: That's kind of a Peanuts thing...

JK: I show the human sitting at a, well, in the most recent one, I do show the human sitting at my drawing table, although you can't tell that it's a drawing table from the cat's angle. The cat thinks that the human is her boss and that he works in an office, but it's just not the case.

ADD: I noticed, especially in the first one, but really with both of them, that, although it is an all-ages comic and certainly can be enjoyed by kids of all ages, I think that there are some pretty sophisticated themes that you could read into it without a whole lot of work, especially in the first one, the sort of manipulation by Jeremy of Peanut Butter, while it's sort of scandalous at a juvenile level, I think they can also be interpreted as sort of the small betrayals that adults visit upon each other...

JK: Absolutely. The first issue is particularly intense, I think, because it's a kid's comic that has a gun in it and kid's comics don't usually have guns in them

ADD: Did you go through any crisis of conscience in deciding to do that or...

JK: Yeah, well, no, afterwards, in my defense, I didn't know I was drawing a kid's comic when I drew it! (laughs)

ADD: Was there any thought about taking that out?

JK: No. And, actually, although parents freak about over it, kids seem to understand completely what it's all about. I mean, they know that guns are bad and they know that Jeremy's bad. They seem to understand the point of the story.

ADD: I think, a lot times, adults, especially adults talking about children that aren't their own, take it for granted that kids are nitwits, that they don't "get" a lot, and kids "get" a lot more than people give them credit for. And I would have to guess that most children have been exposed to, on TV or movies or cartoons, they know what a gun is when they open up Peanut Butter and Jeremy and they know that they can be dangerous.

JK: Right, and I think that the story makes it pretty clear just how dangerous they can be. I mean, the gun accidentally goes off in the story. Any kids that get shot, it's mostly due to guns accidentally going off, which reminds me, my nephew was shot throught the neck this summer by one of his friends. He's pretty much ok, but it's amazing. It missed all of the important things, it missed his spine, the jugular vein, voice box...

ADD: How did that happen? How did they come into possession of a gun?

JK: He was over at his friends house and his friend had, like, four or five guns that belonged to four or five different people in his bedroom and I don't know exactly why he had them, but he had them and he was tellinng my nephew about how he saw this skunk the other night and how he had pointed the gun at the skunk and he was saying, "I was as close to that skunk as I am to you..." and that's when he shot him through the neck. But he didn't do it on purpose, in fact, the safety was on, but apparently guns can sometimes go off when the safety is on.

ADD: There's an important lesson right there.

JK: Yeah.

ADD: Some of your other projects that are coming up, we talked about Pinky and Stinky and Don't Trust Whitey, which will be out, you said soon, what's the date that that will be available?

JK: Well, here's the thing with Don't Trust Whitey, I just got the orders from Diamond Comics today, which is the distributor that distributes to every comic book store in the country and Diamond ordered more copies of Don't Trust Whitey than I have, so I have to manufacture more, which, hopefully, will only take a week or two and then I'll send them off to Diamond, so...

ADD: Is that a good problem to have, James?

JK: Yes, it is! It's very good. (laughs)

ADD: I have this theory that there are good problems to have in life and it sounds like that would be one of them.

JK: Yeah. It's stressful though and I'm having a hard time actually getting the people from the CD manufacturing on the phone. They tend to not answer their phone, which is really frustrating, but it's an all right problem, to have to sell out of the CD.

ADD: We talked a little bit at the beginning about the events of 11 September and how they had affected your daily cartoon diary. Can you tell us a little bit, obviously we can't show the strip here on the radio, but can you tell us a little bit about what that first one looked like and maybe how you approached creating it?

JK: Well, l the first one was actually less important than some of the ones that came after because I was so shell shocked I couldn't really express what had happened. I'm actually looking for my diary right now so I can open it up and I can maybe explain to you better if I can actually see them in front of me.

ADD: Yeah, that's fine. Take all the time that you need.

JK: Well, in the first one, I just have a real simple, sort of elegant little drawing of the World Trade Towers and one's on fire and in the next panel, it's just a little tiny plane by itself in the sky, so it's at the point between when the first one hit and the second one was hit. And then the rest of the strip is me in the shower begging God to help us and the last panel says, "I don't even really believe in God" and I'm saying, "Please, please..." That's the first one...

ADD: I don't have a hard time picturing the people that did that, asking God to help them... That's what is really horrifying about it. I guess I don't understand how someone can turn something that can be as sublime and rewarding and helpful as spirituality and use that as an excuse for mass murder.

JK: Yeah, I don't understand that either, but everybody does it.

ADD: Can you tell us about some of the strips that followed that one? You seemed to think that there was one that was particularly relevant...?

JK: Oh, no, I guess not. (laughs) I guess that was pretty relevant. Actually, some of them get kind of silly after that. Well, the one I just described to you actually has a silly title, it's "A Day That Will Live In Super Infamy" because I was, well...

ADD: Well, that kind of points out the... There really are no words. No one has come up with a name that has stuck for this event, I don't really think that there are many people that have been able to eloquently express the feelings that this has filled them with. So you're searching, obviously, for a way to deal with this in words and I don't think that it's something can easily be dealt with in language.

JK: That's true, and I have got two fears. I can't imagine that I'm actually scared of terrorism, but I am. Like, I got a package yesterday and it was a strange package by someone I didn't know, which I get all of the time, but I was suddenly gripped with a fear that it was going to be a bomb...

ADD: And this is what they want, of course...

JK: Yeah, it was kind of amazing. I was very surprised to suddenly start to panic... I didn't even want to open it, but, you know, I did, and it was just a video tape from one of my fans.

ADD: How did you deal with, in the days that followed September 11th, did you find yourself watching the news a lot or did you avoid seeing it...

JK: Yeah, I was pretty much watching it non-stop. The hardest thing about being unemployed or self-employed or whatever it is that I am as a cartoonist, was that other people got to go to work, they could sort of maybe forget about it for a little bit, but I had to just stay at home and sit there and think about it all day long and I basically couldn't draw because I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I'd just cry, like, ten times a day...

ADD: You're not the only cartoonist to tell me that, by the way. Someone else of my acquaintance told me that he hasn't been able to work since this happened.

JK: Oh, that's terrible. I miraculously got better the Saturday following the attack and, for me, what really was the turning point was that we woke up in the morning, we turned on the TV, and we saw a commercial instead of just non-stop news. We were like, "Great! A commercial!" and we turned it on and we were happy for the rest of the day and since then I've been happy, except with occasional, short panic attacks about terrorism, it almost feels as if nothing ever happened.

ADD: Do you envision, at any point other than the daily dairy strips, do you envision addressing this in any way?

JK: Well, I did a strip for this book 9/11...

ADD: Who was publishing that?

JK: (laughs) Alternative Comics. They also publish my book Peanut Butter and Jeremy. But the strip that I did for that, it might be a little upsetting to people. It's about a about a candelight vigil that I went to and just how pathetic and uncomforting it was.

ADD: In what way?

JK: Well, nobody had any idea what to do and people would try to start singing patriotic songs but no one knew all of the words and there was a "redneck" element there that was trying to get people to chant "U-S-A" but nobody really was interested in chanting "U-S-A". Like, these two guys would chant "U-S-A" three times and then stop, then there would be an awkward pause... Nobody had any idea what to do.

ADD: It's funny you should mention a "redneck" element. I read an article in the New York Times magazine about the Taliban, written by someone who was in Afghanistan and met the Taliban members, the sort of "rank and file" Taliban. These are guys who run around in pick up trucks with machine guns, and all I was really struck with was "This is the Dukes of Hazzard gone Islam"...

JK: Yeah! (laughs) That's one of the things that scares me. I think that there's a fair number of people, that if given the chance, would actually like to setup a regime, sort of like the Taliban, here in the USA. I mean, I'm really pretty afraid that, in the name of fighting terrorists, we're going to see all of our freedoms stripped away...

ADD: Well, this is what concerns me when I see, for example, the President trying to demonize the people that did this by referring to them as "evil-doers." These aren't guys that got up that morning and said, "I'm going to be evil today." These are guys who justified what they were doing with religion and when we justify what we're doing with religion, that worries me a little.

JK: Yeah. Apparently, Egypt had did some studying to see what kind of people become terrorists and it's people who feel disenfranchised and cut out of the loop, and we've got those people here in the USA, too. For instance, like the rural, survivalist people that feel the government is wronging them in some way...

ADD: And God knows that the government does enough that is wrong...

JK: Yeah, it's not that the US government isn't doing bad things to people in Arab countries, I'm sure that they are, however, the people in the Arab countries, they're disenfranchised or whatever they feel, they blame everyone of their problems on the US, which is simply not true. A lot of their problems are their own country's fault.

ADD: It's bizarre to me, I don't know if you've ever watched King Of The Hill...

JK: Yeah.

ADD: The Dale character, who's sort of the militia type, constantly paranoid about the government... Since that show has been on, I can't tell you how many people like that I've met. It's astonishing. I never really realized that stereotype before until I saw that show.

JK: (laughs) Yeah, they're everywhere. I mean, that's why shows like The X-Files are popular because everyone believes that the government is doing something terrible. Conspiracy theories are very, very popular.

ADD: I'd like to ask you about, I don't know how much time you have left here, but if you have time for another question or two... Earlier this year, a story of yours, and I think that this was a first on any number of levels, a story of yours appeared in a Marvel comic book. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came to be?

JK: I did a Hulk comic, a black and white comic that was published by one of my publishers. It was sort of alternative cartoonists doing their takes on Marvel superhero comics, and it was obviously illegal and a copyright violation, but we just went ahead and did it anyhow, and then several years later, someone at Marvel saw it and really liked it and called me up and said instead of suing me, they'd like to buy the story, and I suggested that I redo it from scratch, in full color, and they said, "Sure." And it was in the Hulk annual that came out in September.

ADD: What was the response to that from Marvel fans? Did you hear anything?

JK: Well, I read on the Internet most people seemed to like it. Basically, in my story, the Hulk is caught in a rainstorm and he's slipping and falling down in the mud and getting angrier and angrier and angrier... Someone posted on a message board that that can't possibly have happened because Stan Lee says that the Hulk is a force of nature, more powerful than a hurricane, so a mere rainstorm isn't going to stop the Hulk...

ADD: I think you pretty much disproved that in four pages.

JK: Yeah, it was just such a silly thing to say. No matter how powerful you are, you can still slip and fall down in the mud.

ADD: See, this is the thing I love about your work, James, and I'll come right out and say that I love your work -- is that you can say, in a seemingly simply story, some of the most profound things and that four page Hulk story, you showed that the most powerful being on the planet can be undone by some rain and some mud.

JK: It's true. It's funny, I wasn't thinking of any deep meaning in that when I did it, I suppose, but you could apply that to all sorts of actual events in the real world. For instance, the Soviet Union fighting in Afghanistan, one of the most powerful contries in the world, basically slipping and falling down in the mud.

ADD: And look where that's gotten us now, you know, ten years after the fact, or twenty years after the fact...

JK: So hopefully, we're not going to slip and fall down in the mud, but it's certainly possible.

ADD: Is there any talk of any other future involvement with Marvel or any of the other mainstream publishers?

JK: Not really, although I'd love to do it. I actually proposed a new Hulk series to Marvel that they... It was kind of too way out there for them and I don't think that they completely understood what I was talking about. (laughs)

ADD: That's disappointing to hear, that they would go out on a limb to put that story in the annual and to not continue it out and see what happens.

JK: Oh, I know. I guess I can't expect them to understand what my work is really about, but...

ADD: Well, obviously that one reader didn't.

JK: Yeah (laughs), but I was a little disappointed, like when I called the guy I thought they would at least be able to listen to what I was saying, but they seemed to listen past me. They were already on to their 'no', you know, before I could even explain what the... They were more interested in telling me what their ideas for the Hulk were than they were in listening to what my ideas for the Hulk were. And their ideas for the Hulk were terrible! (laughs)

ADD: And generally have been have the last over the last thirty or forty years.

JK: I mean, there's no reason for me to call up to Marvel and listen to their pitch to me about what the Hulk should be like. I mean, it doesn't make any sense.

ADD: Well, it sounds like there may have been a little desparation there to try to..."I gotta convince somebody that this is a good idea! Kochalka! You!"

JK: Yeah (laughs), that's exactly what it was like.

ADD: That's pretty amazing.

JK: And then they swore me to secrecy. (laughs)

ADD: Oh, well, we won't tell anyone then. Shhhh! Alright then, so the next thing that people should be keeping an eye out for, I guess then, is Don't Trust Whitey?

JK: Yeah, that should be in comic book stores in a few weeks, end of October, beginning of November, I hope it should be in stores. Also, at the end of October, beginning of November, it will be at one-hundred-fifty or so college radio stations across the country, so it'd be a good time to call up and request it.

ADD: What are some of the songs that we can look forward to hearing on that CD?

JK: Frog On Top Of A Skyscraper...hard for me to remember, I'll have to look at the CD...

ADD: Do you have a favorite on this one?

JK: Nay-nay And Woo-Woo. (laughs)

ADD: Really?

JK: I think so. It's about two horses, well, it's about being lost in the desert looking for two horses. It's really crazy sounding. It's got a simple Casio drumbeat as the basis and then it's got layer and layer of bassoon and flute and all sorts of stuff like that on top of it. It's a crazy, crazy song.

ADD: I look forward to hearing it.

JK: Awesome! (laughs)

ADD: And maybe later...will Pinky and Stinky be this year?

JK: What's that?

ADD: Will Pinky and Stinky be out this year or is that next year?

JK: No, no, it'll be 2002.

ADD: Alright. Well, we look forward to seeing that and to hearing Don't Trust Whitey.

JK: Great! Thanks for calling!

ADD: Cartoonist James Kochalka has been our guest. Thanks for joining us.

JK: Thank you.

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