cover image Monkey vs. Robot - New Edition

Monkey vs. Robot - New Edition

James Kochalka. Top Shelf Productions, $10 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-891830-15-0

Cartoonist and musician Kochalka strikes again, this time with a very simply illustrated black and white pictorial narrative about a battle between a monkey community and a self-run robot factory encroaching on the monkeys' unspoiled forest domain. The robot factory seems to operate all by itself, spitting out parts that self-assemble--a robot fits itself with a newly minted head and declares, ""The future is now,"" echoing years of Wired magazine headlines. The territorial but sensitive little monkeys spend their time making music and chasing butterflies until the waste material from the robot factory contaminates their forest playground. The robots are equally ticked off after finding monkey poop near the carcass of a robot comrade, done in by the outraged monkeys. In the end, the monkey/robot war destroys the factory and the forest, too. But interpreting Kochalka's witty, charming little fable as a social-political metaphor for the struggle between man (or monkey) and machine probably reads too much into it--not to mention taking all the fun out of it. (Sept.)