September 12, 2012

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SPX Spotlight 2012: John Porcellino

Welcome to another entry in my Rob's SPX Spotlight 2012!  You can find all of my Rob's SPX Spotlight posts, including those from past years, by clicking here.


Erica here! Rob asked me to write up an SPX Spotlight or two in preparation for the comics festival that we've come to call "his Christmas." As I've been a fan of John Porcellino's comics for years, and even carried a few issues in my now-defunct distro, he seemed the obvious choice for my return to comics blogging.

Porcellino is the author of King-Cat Comics & Stories, one of the longest-running minicomics series of all time. Since the late 1980s, Porcellino has chronicled everything from the punk scene, to the wonders of nature, to his forays into Zen philosophy, to the lives of his various cats. His simple-yet-evocative sketches involving the minutiae of everyday life are an obvious precursor for later artists like Jeffrey Brown and James Kochalka. Selections from early issues of King-Cat are also reprinted in two anthologies published by Drawn and Quarterly. The newest issue, #73 (and I don't need to tell you that such a high number is almost unheard of in the world of mini-comics and zines), is hot off the copier and will be available at SPX.


While early issues of King-Cat often skewed toward the fantastic, within the past decade the subject matter has become almost completely autobiographical, which I feel fits his storytelling and artistic style very well. Porcellino's art is completely linework, with no shading, which can give it almost a woodcut-like effect on the covers and more detailed pieces. The simple art complements the quiet stories, allowing them to speak for themselves.


In addition to King-Cat, Porcellino also lends his artistic talent to album covers and art for graphic novels written by others, most recently The Next Day, four stories of suicide survivors. His stand-alone graphic novels include Thoreau at Walden and the Ignatz winner Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man, an entertaining tale about working as an exterminator. He also runs a comics distro, Spit and a Half, which carries a very wide variety of alternative comics. His blog can be found here.


Can't see John Porcellino at SPX? You can check the linked websites, or see him at the other dates on his fall tour:

Weds. 9/19, 7:00 PM -- Reading at Quimby's with Noah Van Sciver (Chicago, IL)
Sat. 9/22 -- Twin Cities Zine Fest (Minneapolis, MN)
Sat. 10/06 -- Handmade and Bound Festival (Nashville, TN)