Updated weakly.

John P. has a PATREON. / King-Cat 76 is OUT.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

AFFIRM (STRANGE GROWTHS FUNDRAISER #1)




Dear Everyone,

Back in 2005 I did a nice letterpress print with Alvin Buenaventura. A few of these went out into the world, but for the most part the project was lost to time. With Alvin's passing last year I got in contact with his family to see about the fate of some of his Pigeon Press publications and pick them up for the Spit and a Half distro (Sir Alfred #3 by Tim Hensley, Worst Behaviour by Simon Hanselmann, Facility Integrity by Nick Maandag, etc). At the time it was also confirmed that the family had located a stash of my 2005 prints.

They generously donated these to me, and now I'd like to offer them to King-Cat fans as part of a fundraising drive to help with the publication of the Jenny Zervakis Strange Growths collection this summer.


Jenny Zervakis is one of the great unsung creators of 1990's DIY comics. Her zine Strange Growths was gentle and sincere at a time when most alt-comics were loud and sarcastic. They were poetic and allusive, delving into the heart of the human experience and they were one of my biggest influences as a cartoonist.

In 1997 as the original distro grew, I had plans to begin publishing a series of nice but simple book collections of some of my favorite underground cartoonists, and Jenny was at the top of that short list. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter I fell seriously ill and spent the next 10 or 12 years focusing on my health issues, and this publishing venture had to be delayed. For twenty years!

The Complete Strange Growths 1990-1997 will be approximately 224 pages, and collect the entirety of Strange Growths 1-13, plus bonus comics and a new interview with Jenny conducted by Robert Clough. The book will debut at CAKE in Chicago this June.

In the meantime we're beginning to raise funds for publication. If you buy one of these Buenaventura prints, proceeds will go directly to the Strange Growths fund. A bit further down the line I'll be offering a preorder book sale, which will include some premiums from Jenny (color prints, drawings etc).

Supplies of the print are very limited, so please email me at johnp_kingcat AT hotmail DOT com before sending money. Thank you!

John P.

AFFIRM letterpress print by John Porcellino and Buenaventura Press, 2005
Edition of 100 plus artist's proofs
Approx. 9 inches x 8 inches

SOLD OUT! THANKS EVERYONE!
Please write to confirm availability before sending payment!




COST, INCLUDING SHIPPING:
USA: $35.00
CANADA: $42.00 USD
REST OF WORLD: $46.00 USD

Payable via PayPal to kingcat_paypal AT hotmail DOT com






Tuesday, February 14, 2017

DAHLOV IPCAR: 1917-2017



Word has come that the great children's book artist and writer Dahlov Ipcar has passed away, seven months short of her 100th birthday.

She was one of my favorite artists as a child. The cover of the forthcoming King-Cat #77 was drawn in tribute to her, and in working on it I pulled out some of the old Scholastic Books editions of her work that I’ve owned since I was a kid… I was surprised and delighted to see how big of an almost unconscious influence she’d had on my own work. I had no idea she was still alive while I was drawing it.


Tucker Stone of No Brow Books has shared the following remembrance (via Facebook and The Comics Journal), and posted a short video made a few years back in her studio. A treasure.


"A few years ago, pretty soon after I started at Nobrow, my friend Jason and I drove to Georgetown Maine and interviewed Dahlov Ipcar, who was 96 at the time, about her children’s books that we were getting ready to re-issue via Flying Eye. She was electric: 96 years old, living alone (it was her elderly son’s job to supply her with groceries), very direct, funny and acerbic as hell. I loved her. I wrote her letters afterwards (that was her preferred method of contact with me) whenever I had something of note to tell her about my work on her books, and I spoke to her a few times on the phone to set up some interviews and assist her with supplying books for events she would do at a local children’s hospital. She was always on top of it, and funny in a crusty, tough way that belied decades of commitment to craft and hardcore farmhouse living.
She just passed away, which was expected. I am sorry to her family for that, but I know how incredibly proud her sons were to work with her, and how much she loved and missed her husband, who passed away himself decades ago. Her life was lived as fully as one could dream of –a family she loved, and an art she devoted herself too. One of the first things that she told Jason and I when we arrived to make the attached video was that she had no interest in living to be 100 years old–as she put it, she was tired of spending so much of her morning going to the bathroom–and that was only the first of many things that made us laugh.
I just checked. Her 100th birthday would have been this November. Nice work, Dahlov."
 --Tucker Stone


Thank you Mrs. Ipcar.

 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

(Some of my) FAVORITE COMICS OF 2015

They say that timing is everything, and in this age of nanosecond attention spans and constantly refreshing newsfeeds that's more true than ever. So it's with great delight that I present here a brief and certainly incomplete list of Some of My Favorite Comics of 2015.

Every year more and more cool comics are released in droves, and every year I have less time to read them. But I buy them, and they stack up in boxes and overflowing shelves waiting for that moment when I can retire from the daily grind and sit down and read all those DeForge books. And mark my words, friends -- That day shall come.

---

Extra Good Stuff by Dennis Eichhorn and Various (Last Gasp) More from the genius storyteller Dennis P. Eichhorn, released shortly before his death. Extra Good Stuff (like 2014's Real Good Stuff) teams Eichhorn up with some of the hottest, brightest cartoonists going today (Noah Van Sciver, Max Clotfelter, Tom Van Deusen, Aaron Lange) as well as old time favorites like Mary Fleener and Triangle Slash. A blast from the past blowing open the doors of today! Or something. Excellent.

The Complete Hairy Who Publications edited by Dan Nadel (Matthew Marks Gallery) It's hard to wrap my mind around the sudden increase in interest, or at least in publication, of the Hairy Who, some of the most influential but underappreciated artists of the late 20th Century. Decidedly unhip at a time when conceptual and minimalist art was in fashion, in the late 60's and early 70's this Chicago based artists group produced work that was funky, emotional, bright, weird and graphic, drawing inspiration from everyday life, including comic books. For each of their exhibitions, they produced a catalog that was more of a comic, featuring work from each of the members, Jim Nutt, Karl Wirsum, Gladys Nillson, and this books collects 'em all in ravishing full color.

Big Pussy by Gina Wynbrandt (2D Cloud) A hilariously self-abasing and brilliantly acerbic comic from young wunderkind Wynbrandt depicts the artist negotiating life, lust, and love in the Internet Age. Smart, wickedly funny, and transgressive. More comics like this, please!

Remember This by Disa Wallander (KUŠ) This funny and gently sardonic story examines our memories: why do we have them, why don't we have them, what do they mean? How does art encapsulate time? That sounds stuffy, but this comic is anything but. A delight.

My Hot Date by Noah Van Sciver (Kilgore Books) This one could just as easily have been Noah's St. Cole or Fante Bukowski (Fantagraphics), I Don't Hate Your Guts (2D Cloud) or Blammo #8.5 (Kilgore). The fact is, no one in comics right now is blasting away skill-wise as breathlessly as Noah Van Sciver. His writing continues to get even better, his drawing effortlessly depicts a real, tangible, livable world with ease and understated power, and now that he's figured out his secret coloring technique, in which colors pop and ebb with distinct and beautiful shadowing and tonal effects, he's simply unstoppable. Noah will bury us all, but at least we get to come along for the ride.

Ikebana by (Retrofit/Big Planet Comics) The silent protagonist of Ikebana guides us through a humorous look at the foibles of art school and then moves into the "real world" with a ruthless clarity before climaxing in wonder and surreal ambiguity. This short comic is endlessly surprising and deeply affecting, and stayed with me long after I read it.

Terror Assaulter: OMWOT: One Man War On Terror by Benjamin Marra (Fantagraphics) Marra's ridiculous and pitch perfect satire of masculinity and violence is odd, funny, disturbing, idiotic, and brilliant.

Hey America! Wake the Fuck Up! by Ron Regé Jr. (Self-published online) As Amerika® descends deeper into cruel stupidity and vacuous self-absorption Art can still remind us of who we really are, and who we want to be. Regé's brief response to modern life does not mince words or ideas, but is still full of compassion and heart. Fantastic, powerful, and much-needed. Link

Stroppy by Marc Bell (Drawn and Quarterly) Marc Bell's first extended foray into comix storytelling in some time is a savagely funny and absurd look at hyper-capitalism and corporate control. Poor Sap Stroppy unwittingly gets mixed up in a Capitalist Poetry scheme, while his evil boss Monsieur Moustache plots his fiendish creative coup. All with Bell's trademark nuttiness and surreal good humor, natch.
 

Recidivist IV by Zak Sally (La Mano 21) Harkening back to the fuck all days of alternative comics, when the integrity of one's personal expression was the all-consuming goal of our art, Recidivist IV is a deeply intense, dense, and difficult guide to one person's battle with his life and art. Reading the book requires that you sweat it out in the trenches with the author, and when you finally come out the other side you've had an undeniable taste of his struggle. A real achievement in a world where many cartoonists actually seek mediocrity, and ho-hum is often the most one can expect.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

KING-CAT 76 IS AVAILABLE!



Hey Folks,

The moment we have all possibly been waiting for is upon us: King-Cat #76 is shipping NOW! This new issue features A Trip to the Confluence, Dreaming, Old People in Restaurants, Sports Radio, Fall Signs, Winter Signs, Radishes, Birds, and 9 pages of fascinating Letters to the Editor; plus more. A Weird One — (But Not Bad). (32 digest pages, black and white throughout.)

To order a single issue of King-Cat #76, costs (including shipping/handling) are as follows:

USA: $6.50
CANADA: $7.20 USD
REST OF WORLD: $8.75 USD

Via PayPal to kingcat_paypal AT hotmail DOT com

If you're in the US you can also send cash/check/mo payable to:

"John Porcellino"
PO Box 142
South Beloit, IL 61080

If you would like to order KC 76 along with other items, please use the convenient online shopping cart at SPIT AND A HALF

Thank you!
John P.







Thursday, June 23, 2016

A WALK IN THE WOODS AND LIFE


It's been a rough, weird spring, with health problems knocking me out and dropping me behind on everything and always trying to catch up and feeling like I'm never getting anywhere. So lately, I've been trying to keep things in balance, and that means getting outside and working in our yard, or going for walks in the woods and fields around Beloit.

As always, whatever state of turmoil I may find myself in, a walk outdoors usually relieves it. Recently I've been out hiking in the Stateline Restoration Prairie, where the June blooms are rockin', or out at the J. Norman Jensen Forest Preserve, where I keep looking for Pileated Woodpeckers, but only find beautiful Orioles or Goldfinches or Red-headed Woodpeckers etc.


One of my favorite bends in the Rock River.

Path into the woods.

Ruins of old fireplace, out in the woods.

Sometimes the world is so beautiful, it almost seems like I'm hallucinating.

Can you find the Great Blue Heron in this picture?

Can you find the muskrat in this picture? 

Keep runnin' up that hill.

Just another day in Paradise.

Otherwise, I woke up the Sunday of CAKE with more hearing problems. Not as bad as following DINK, when I went wholly deaf in my right ear, but bad enough that it got me thinking. As you surely know, I went though about a decade of very serious illness, during which time I became somewhat of a recluse. My health was not good enough to travel, except in the most emergency type situations. Finally circa 2007 or so, I finally began to feel well enough to get out on the road again. At first it was difficult, but then in 2009 I turned into a road dawg. I hit every show, festival, signing and event I could reasonably or even not-so-reasonably attend. It felt great after 10 years of solitude to get out into the world, meet people again, visit new places, etc. But I'm now beginning to feel like the energy and health I'd saved up in those ten years has dissipated again. Like it's time for me to pull back once more.

I've canceled my table at SPX 2016, my one remaining long-distance show of the year. The Jenny Zervakis Strange Growths book, which we'd hoped to debut at SPX, will now debut at CAKE 2017. I'll still attend the remaining few very-local shows left (Madison Print and Resist and Milwaukee Zine Fest, both in the fall), but otherwise I'm staying put.

Clearing my slate like this is a huge relief.  Summer is here, and I'm looking forward to spending it outdoors, or drawing my own comics, or watching the Honeymooners, digging in the yard or painting the shed. Planting some real roots.

King-Cat #76 is at the printers, and #77 is partway drawn, with all the pages allotted for. I wanna have that out before the end of the year. I wanna dig down inside myself again. I promise to bring out whatever I find there.

LOVE YOU ALL,
John P.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

CAKE PATTER


So, last weekend was CAKE, the beloved and well-appreciated Chicago Alt-Comics festival. In a last minute push I managed to overcome my inertia and got a small print run of the new King-Cat printed for the show. (The main run, which goes out to stores and subscribers etc, will be coming soon.) 


If you read my previous post, you know that I've been approaching if not reaching Maximum Burnout­® as far as the convention circuit is concerned. But CAKE is my hometown show, and I think the best alt-comics show in the country right now. It's well attended, well-organized, and has an extremely high quality level. It feels like an old-tyme comics show, where the focus is back on creative individuality and risk taking, versus Adventure Time wannabee clones and trendhopping, intentional mediocrity. Almost every table at CAKE is primo, with some of the best and most interesting cartoonists of our time in attendance.

 The view from the Spit and a Half table, Saturday.

The Hon. Zak R. Sally, my next door neighbor and best bud.

 
British writer Dean Simons and Kilgore Books impresario, Dan Stafford.

 
Sgt. Huizenga of the Lake County Sheriff's Police.

 
Mardou interviews Zak for Comics Workbook.

 
My other neighbors were Keiler and Scott Roberts and their daughter Xia, who drew a picture of a groundhog and a beaver dancing for me. 

So anyhow, the show was great. And then. Somehow I made it through the entire day Sunday, from 11-6, at one of the biggest LGBTQ Centers in Chicago, without ever hearing about the shooting in Orlando. As I was loading out that evening, I noticed all the security in bullet proof vests everywhere, and I asked what was going on. It was then that I found out what had happened.

Walking out then onto Halsted Street, the historic heart of Chicago's LGBTQ community, I was stunned into speechlessness and heartbreak. The people moving down the street, rainbow flags draped over their shoulders, it all seemed like an eerie, terrible dream.

Let me just say out loud that I treasure my many gay, lesbian, bi, trans and otherwise queer friends. I can't imagine-- if I felt as stunned, scared, and furious as I did-- how you all must feel. For whatever it's worth, my love is here with you, along with the love of all your millions of supporters.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

DENVER and MY "COME TO JESUS" MOMENT

Hey gang,

It's been a million years since I posted here. Just running out of energy I guess. Which will likely be the theme of this post.

Been working on King-Cat 76, and got so much done in January that I went ahead and inked the indicia page with a "February" publishing date. Ha! I got exactly nothing done in the month of February. March rolled around, and all I could think about was how I was supposed to go to Denver for the inaugural DINK show at the end of the month, and how there was going to be a blizzard that weekend, because in Colorado there's ALWAYS a blizzard the last week of March.

So, I tricked my bestie Noah Van Sciver into flying into Milwaukee so we could drive out together. Sure enough the day before we left 15" of snow fell on the Front Range and was moving east at quite a clip. So we got in the car and drove towards it. It turned out fine, but a lotta people freaked out.

Here's a pic of me and Noah having a steak brunch just before heading out on the road.

Where's all the blizzard at?

Noah sketching in bed at the Howard Johnson's in Lincoln, NE.

This was my breakfast/lunch, outside of Denver. You may not be able to tell, but that serving of guacamole is approximately one tablespoon. Thus begins our descent into madness.

Thursday Night we had a "meet and greet" at our beloved Kilgore Books, where I mostly hid in the corner. I was already brutally tired from two days of driving and not eating well. Back in the day, when I occasionally worked a Sunday shift at Kilgore, I made some of these Shelf Markers. Here's US History.

And they still have my window sign up!

View of Denver from Jason and Angie's place, where I caught a last minute couch ride Thursday night.

DINK was held at what was once known as the El Jebel Ballroom. During the many years I lived in Denver this remarkable building was continuously boarded up, but I always heard old-timers describe the ornate impossibilities it held within. Having walked past it hundreds of times, only imagining the jewels inside, it was pretty great to not only finally get to go in, but to go inside because there was a comics show taking place!

View from the mezzanine, during setup hours.



All of this "wallpaper," which covered every square inch of space, is actually HANDPAINTED. Imagine that, and try to determine the precise moment this country took a long walk off a short pier.

Saturday night was the first annual DINKy Awards, and I was getting a very nice "Industry Achievement Award." At the event where my old pal Jason Heller interviewed me before the awards, a handful of people showed up. When we began, there were maybe three people in attendance. The absurdity of the moment prompted me to rig up some alternative nameplates for the interview.

Here's the award. Again, I thought it was ironic that I got such a special award at a show where I sold maybe nine copies of King-Cat, but such is comics.

Saturday night, walking past the Capitol Building.

Visiting Denver was rough for me. I lived there off and on for 12 years or so, from the time downtown had an 80% vacancy rate in its apartment units, to the arrival of Medical Marijuana in 2010. By that time the rents had become impossible for me to deal with. Now of course, it's only gotten worse. All every single Denverite I spoke to over the weekend, who hadn't had the good luck or resources to buy property at some point, could talk about was how sad they were that they were going to have to find a new city to live in.

The city itself has given itself over to pot and blogging. Now I'm not a teetotaler (sorta) and I do believe pot causes about as much damage as alcohol, and that shit's legal, but there was no denying the downward spiral Denver has taken since legalization. I'm sure in terms of tourism and money and real estate values things are great. In terms of a decent city where regular people can live and work, I was heartbroken to see what's happened.

So maybe this stuff was getting to me. A cranky week on the road with poor sleep, exhaustion, bad food, incredible stress. When we got back home I dropped Noah off at O'Hare and slept for two days before crawling out of bed to finally face my responsibilities. After a classroom talk in Madison that Wednesday night, I went to bed and woke up in the morning with intense pain and swelling in my right ear. If you've read The Hospital Suite or Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man or Map of My Heart, you know about my struggles with Hyperacusis. This felt similar, but different. The pain continued to grow worse, and by Saturday night I had started to lose hearing in the ear. Sunday morning when I woke up I was completely deaf on the right side.

At my exam Monday, the audiologist looked grim. With this amount of hearing loss, the likelihood of a full recovery was slim, he said. I was put on Prednisone for swelling and Valtrax in case the problems were viral in nature. But it could be anything. It could have been caused by a mild stroke, a tumor pressing on the nerve, MS, or it might be one of those things where I may never know what happened. We shall see.

Day by day there has been some improvement. I can hear faint sounds now when I touch my ear. I've been seeing an acupuncturist, and she's hopeful I will improve. And I am too. I don't want to jump the gun. Many cases like mine resolve themselves within a few weeks. But when I tried to listen to my favorite Carpenters album with one ear, I felt a wave of fear and sadness roll over me.

I've been through enough stuff in my life to know it's not the end of the world. Hell, Brian Wilson wrote Pet Sounds with one ear, right? And I may very well come through this all right (I hope!). But the whole thing feels like a "Come to Jesus" moment for me.

Since 2007, right after Maisie died, I've been hauling ass around this country, attending every comics show and zine show and book signing and etc I could do. It was fun, and it helped me overcome the decade of isolation I felt during the really bad OCD years. But a few years back I started to notice the toll it all was talking on me. I couldn't spring back like I used to. I was tired all the time. Beyond tired. When I was setting up the Spit and a Half table in Denver all I could keep thinking was "I'm getting too old for this."

Each year I tell myself this is the year I'm going to cut back on travel, and each year before I know it I'm scheduled for 10 or 12 shows. I remember last year, when my pal the amazing cartoonist (and fellow Road Dawg) Nate Powell got shingles following the SPACE show in Columbus. His Facebook post about it, and how it made him realize he could no longer keep up the pace he was on, affected me deeply at the time. I've now had the same type of experience.

Last week with some sadness, but to be honest, some relief, I canceled my SPACE visit, as well as a trip to Durham for what I'm sure will be an awesome event: Zine Machine. I just can't do it anymore. Maybe in a year or two I'll be rested up and feel different. I will still attend CAKE and Chicago Zine Fest and the other more local shows (Madison, Milwaukee), and the day before I lost my hearing I paid for my SPX 2016 table, so I'll likely be at that show (we're hoping to debut the Jenny Zervakis collection there!).

Meanwhile I'm going to try to stay home and draw, volunteer at the Bird Banding Station, spend time with my family, and concentrate on healing up, on the things that lower my stress level rather than add to it.

King-Cat 76 is almost done. It should ship in May. If you have a subscription and have moved since last time (May 2015), please drop me a line with your new address. Additionally, I have four pages for KC 77 already drawn and inked! I'm hoping to pull off a release of that one before the end of the year. I'd love to get back on a two-issue per year schedule.

Some raw pages for King-Cat #76.

I don't want to end on a total downer, but the last few months have been heartbreaking. Steph and I have seen the death of her stepmom, our beloved cat Ninny, Alvin Buenaventura, Jess Johnson, and there are more family related traumas going on behind the scenes. We're getting older. Let's take care of ourselves and each other. I love you all.

Prince Ninny (2006-2016)

Princess Michi, the Secret Cat, who's just getting to know everybody.