Beef Knuckles

John Porcellino + King-Cat Comics

Posted in Uncategorized by roburt on March 28, 2010

I don’t quite remember when I first started reading John Porcellino but I do remember that the first time I read his mini-comic “Sam” (King-Cat Comics & Stories #38), I cried more than I did the first time I watched In The Name Of The Father (that’s a lot of crying). What basically starts off as a story about the death of his childhood dog turns into an amazing Ozu-like meditation on the passing of time and things lost. I’d love to scan some pages for you to have a look at, but I lent the comic to someone a few years ago and they’ve never given it back to me (I forgive them).

Porcellino’s been self-publishing King-Cat for over 20 years now. His comics are steeped in his punk roots and DIY aesthetics. His style is minimal, his stories revel in the mundane, and there’s some kid wearing a Husker Du shirt in about 40-50% of what’s he drawn. There’s a warm and humanist tone that runs throughout Porcellino’s work – stemming mainly from his simple style and focus on the personal – which makes him seem like he’s probably a nice dude to hang out with, too.

His most recent collection, Map Of My Heart,  was created during a tough span in his life (severe physical illness, divorce, mental breakdown), and while the overall tone is depressing as heck, he still manages to remain positively focused on his most beloved themes and subjects – adolescence, nature (spotlight on woodchucks!) and Zen literature.

My favourite comic in this collection is called “Punt No Tell” (King-Cat Comics #56). It’s set during his formative years and features some great panels of him playing football with friends, fighting with friends, dancing to The Beatles and going trick-or-treating with his sister dressed as a hobo. There’s a nice meditative pace to it all, which is amazing since Porcellino apparently drew and inked the whole thing (21 pages) in one epic sitting after a manic bout of OCD.

(Apologies to all for the terrible scanning).

I wrote a comic in Beef Knuckles #3 about my dead cat Whiskey, but it’s as much a tribute to John Porcellino as it is to my cat. In fact, I’m pretty sure I just copied his style and mood as directly as possible, but with shitter drawings. I hope he doesn’t mind.

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