Laura Hudson talks to Kochalka about his latest book for kids from Top Shelf, Johnny Boo:
PW Comics Week: Why did you choose a ghost as the main character for a children’s book?
James Kochalka: I always liked Casper the Friendly Ghost, but I could never figure out how to draw him. [Now] Casper is kind of a goody two-shoes, and Johnny Boo is kind of self-centered and egotistical. He thinks everything he does is special and wonderful. It’s probably a comment on the artist in me and my own ego. No matter how crappy a thing I do, I think it’s special.
PWCW: Did you vet Johnny Boo with your two kids?
JK: I finished the two Johnny Boo books before Oliver was born, but Eli is four and a half, and I did test out the Johnny Boo stories on him. I’d do a rough draft of the chapter during the day while he was at preschool, and for a bedtime story I’d read it to him. And then based on his reaction—if he didn’t laugh at a page, I’d go back and rewrite it.