Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > CR Reviews

King-Cat Comics And Stories #75
posted May 18, 2015

imageCreator: John Porcellino
Publishing Information: Spit And A Half, mini-comic, 44 pages, 2015, $5
Ordering Information: This Post Contains Ordering Information

I'm a total sucker for John Porcellino and I may have given up being a reliable critic of his work years ago. I look forward to every issue of King-Cat that comes out. It's the only comic I have left that I'm comptelled to read the moment I receive it; I have memories of soft-panicking looking for a chair to set in when I realize the package has arrived. I only know the author in passing enough to kind of lock in place how valuable the comic is as an expression of what he believes and how he experiences the world -- there's not break with the reality presented in the comic. I thought his book Hospital Suite was one of the five best and by far the most under-appreciated of the major works that came out in 2014. When I wish for Porcellino a bigger audience I do so knowing that there are people out there that have never bothered that could be deeply affected by his work. I think a mini-comic issue of King-Cat is one of the perfect comics objects.

King Cat Comics And Stories #75 is out a bit late for the 25th anniversary and King-Cat became what it has been for the last several years after a period of more light-hearted work and experimentation. This issue tells the story of Porcellino's oft referred-to cat, Maisie Kukoc. It feels like fan service; that cat was a favorite for I'm guessing all that have followed the cartoonist's life through these comics. What's nice about this choice is that it basically gives Porcellino a chance to re-tell his own life story in broad terms, for the parts for which the cat was his companion. It also forces him into some of the more affecting things he does with art. The physicality of Maisie in Porcellino's spare style works far better than it has any right to, and reminds you what a solid, expressive artist Porcellino's become. His elegant drawings allow for a pretty focused narrative -- Porcellino can daw anything; he just draws it his way. There are several pages about the cat's passing as Porcellino negotiates what that means and his own physical relationship to the cat that are as good as anything he's put into King-Cat in years.

Mostly, though, I thought this a solid inventory of Porcellino's virtues. If you see John, or if you let yourself indulge in the amazing opportunity of getting comics in the mail, I hope you'll strongly consider buying one. Porcellino's a real hero of comics, it's true, but he's also like any first-time comics maker in his desire to connect. There are things in my life I appreciate more for having Porcellino's perspective, and I'm very grateful he's made it to this anniversary issue.