The Zine Collection

…at Jacksonville’s Main Library

Zine of the Week: The Amish Elf by Chris Kerr

Posted by Matthew Moyer on February 8, 2011

The Amish Elf
by Chris Kerr

You could be forgiven for taking a look at the cover and title of Chris Kerr’s minicomic and think it a one-note joke. C’mon an Amish Elf? There’s gotta be a bad standup routine in there somewhere about oversize buggies? And yet, to his eternal credit, artist Kerr takes this limited concept and weaves a touching and bewitching mythos around it.

The plot is oblique and impossible to sum up in a brief manner to anyone’s satisfaction. Let’s just say that it’s a travelogue the likes of which you’d never read in a Disney story or Piers novel. Surreal phantasmagoria contrasts nicely with the more Spartan reality of an Amish village in a very entertaining manner.

No dialogue, bereft of any text, the weight of the storytelling falls on Kerr’s simple pen-and-ink line drawings. His art style is very familiar (I’m thinking of Magnus¬†Carisson’s Robin and Russian dolls for some reason) and very individual at the same time. Whereas the lead characters–the Elf, the Wizard, and the Amish–are drawn in a very naive, cartoonish style, suddenly he’ll throw you for a curve by drawing, say, an alligator or an opossum in stunning photo-realist detail. Yet it’s the cartoons that pack the emotional punch, a page where a squirrel triumphantly teaches the Amish Elf to throw nuts at targets blindfolded is uplifting, and a shot of stoic Amish parents fighting back tears over the supposed death of their son is wrenching.¬† And that last page? Man…

Read it, give it to your friends to read, and then argue over the plot more than you did with Twin Peaks!

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One Response to “Zine of the Week: The Amish Elf by Chris Kerr”

  1. Dahlia Duran said

    I have been a fan of Chris Kerr’s art for a few years. I have a been collecting his books, prints, anything I can get my hands on. Love his elf Amish humor.

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