American Elf is the comic that, for me, set things into motion. I was at an impasse, confused if I was a painter or cartoonist, a fine artist or entertainer. I thought that for a comic to have merit it had to be grand, in the vein of Maus or Blankets or Jimmy Corrigan. And then my friend Gwen introduced me to James Kochalka’s daily diary comic, and I began to understand. If you have comics in you, you have to get them out. Today James posted his last American Elf comic after drawing them for 14 years (if that doesn’t qualify it as “grand” I’m not sure what does). I can’t imagine how strange that must feel for him, but as one of many who has been inspired by him — Easel Ain’t Easy comics began as a direct result of my Elf exposure — I can only say how thankful we are for all of the time, energy, and emotion that he put into it. Let’s all do the Elf proud!