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King-Cat Comics and Stories #69
posted December 10, 2008
 

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Creator: John Porcellino
Publishing Information: Spit-and-a-Half, mini-comic, 28 pages, September 2008, $3
Ordering Numbers:

The great John Porcellino's latest missive covers all the expected bases in terms of plot and approach. There is a feature about a moment John spends contemplating nature. There's a haircut. We meet Porcellino's new pets and follow him through some youthful shenanigans, anchored in time through cultural specificity. There are one-pagers that work to a single, poetic effect. We see a few of those wonderful panels were Porcellino indicates someone's location by showing their head as if floating in space. Prose-wise, we get a few paragraphs on a new, favorite tree; we get to enjoy another list of things he's experiencing and we're allowed to read a poem. Even the letters are appropriately rueful and stuffed with information. It's like reading a tryout book from someone who wanted to show they could do everything Porcellino does and just as well.

Porcellino's comics have always represented a clash between immediacy and nostalgia. I wonder if immediacy is winning. I found many of the works in issue #69 to be more concerned with the present than the past. Porcellino seems to be moving further away from being pulled backwards, if that makes any sense, less given over to extended rumination. While some people might see those very specific and oddly-observed stories of youth and teenaged years as the greatest and most poignant of the many King-Cat pleasures, I'd argue they're generally the least skillful and the most like other folks' work that you're like to get from this mostly idiosyncratic cartoonist. We remember differently when we get older, and with luck we become more ourselves than the accumulation of our experiences. Few people pine for 37. I hope as King-Cat continues we continue to see John Porcellino surge and fade, connect and let go.