Monday 17 March 2014

The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza by James Kochalka, reviewed by Stephen Theaker

The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza (First Second, hb/pb, 112pp; Netgalley pdf) is another superb, hilarious comic for children by James Kochalka. Well, I say for children, but it made me laugh out loud enough times to attract the children to my office, concerned they were missing out on some fun. And they were. The Glorkian Warrior is happy to doze on his sofa until he is woken by the sound of the emergency space phone. Someone has called to order a pizza. A pepperoni pizza. His Super Backpack is keen for adventure, but not too impressed with this one: “I’m not SCARED. I just don’t think ‘heroic destiny’ is usually this STUPID.” There’s no pepperoni pizza in the fridge, but there are leftover peanut butter and clams slices, so that’ll have to do. On the way to deliver the pizza they’ll meet, battle and make friends with battle-suited Gonk, attempt Glorkian kung fu on a spaceship, adopt a space invader baby, and meet the Magic Robot!

I’ve read a lot of James Kochalka since his stuff began to appear on Comixology – for example I purchased each of his American Elf digital collections (one per year from 1997 to 2008, so far) the second I’ve seen them. Partly because they’re so cheap, because I do like a bargain, but mainly because they’re so good. His previous books for children, Dragon Puncher and Johnny Boo and their sequels, were excellent, but very short (making them good for bedtimes), and The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza is even better, and much longer. There’s a Groo-ish quality to it which was very appealing. The Glorkian warrior is a heroic, good-natured but idiotic warrior determined to complete his silly quest, with his Super Backpack (like Groo’s dog Rufferto) an adoring, slightly smarter companion who can’t do much to change their course. It’s appealingly colourful, good-natured and silly, and would make a super birthday present for any under-tens or reluctant readers. Don’t be surprised if older brothers and sisters take an interest too.

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