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August 23, 2010

King-Cat Comics & Stories #71

imageCreator: John Porcellino
Publishing Information: Spit And A Half, mini-comic, 28 pages, 2010, $3.
Ordering Numbers:

On the cover of the new King-Cat, a cartoon version of Noah Van Sciver admonishes the more familiar depiction of mini-comics legend and tour-mate John Porcellino for his recent choice of covers. "It doesn't matter, man," Cartoon Van Sciver says when asked what should go on the cover, "Just, please -- no more buildings or plants." The great thing about the cover as executed is that Porcellino is both following Van Sciver's advice (the two of them are front and center) and not following it at all (there are both buildings and plants in view). It's a lively cover, however, much different in tone than the recent pieces Van Sciver criticizes.

The reason for the energy in that cover and throughout the mini entire may be that Porcellino, famously having split time in his adult life between suburban Chicago and Denver, has relocated to Gainesville, Florida, the one-man advance squad for Tom Hart's forthcoming comics school. He talks in plain language about the move, and even draws the new critters he comes across. This newfound enthusiasm balances nicely against a few ruminative, sad and slightly obtuse one-pagers as well as a pair of very funny stories about Porcellino coming to terms with putting in evidence the fruits of his class. You know it's a brand new day\when John P. starts making the equivalent of white trash jokes – class doesn't seem to come up a whole lot in King-Cat and even a written essay about Denver then and now fails to address why someone in the arts might not wish to see a city gentrify. It becomes more expensive to live there.

My initial reaction to the issue was as all over the place as the mini itself. I enjoyed the variety of material, and I thought it looked lovely, like it was even printed with more care. And yet by concentrating on the here and now, and letting the past seep in around the edges, Porcellino has created a comic I could see him doing 20 years from now. In the parlance of mainstream comics, King-Cat #71 is a good jumping-on point: most of what Porcellino does well is in evidence, and you can share with him any comics coming out of this new experience just as readers in the past have explored Denver and Hoffman Estates through his eyes.
posted 11:00 pm PST | Permalink

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