#339 “King-Cat”: The Mundane, Re-observed

kingcatIf you’re old enough to remember pre-Internet days (like us geezers who make this podcast), you remember how new comics creators used to get known. No Web comics, Tumbler, podcasts, etc. Like John Porcellino, they hit the “zine” scene, announcing themselves through Factsheet Five and getting placement in a few comics shops. Porcellino’s King-Cat, with its accounts of his pets, his dreams (the sleeping kind), amusing anecdotes, and occasional fiction, drew notice in the comics world for the way it eloquently fed the reader’s life back to him, making note of things the reader might have missed. Drawn & Quarterly is releasing selected King-Cat comics in hardcover; Tim, Kumar, and special guest Tom Spurgeon discuss the first collection, King-Cat Classix.

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Resident of Japan since 1989, creator of "The Crazing Spider-Hag"

5 thoughts on “#339 “King-Cat”: The Mundane, Re-observed”

  1. I often wonder (& have not quite figured it out) why King-Cat strikes me as so much better than most auto-bio books. I guess I’ll have to keep reading until I figure it out….

  2. I think the key is how *subtle* KC is compared to many other “in your face” auto-bio comics. Notice that JP did almost no strips about his hearing issues or his near crippling OCD. Even his struggles with depression only creep in around the edges of the strips. All that stuff would make for ripe subject matter for many other cartoonists.

  3. For roughly 15 years or so I was fortunate enough to be one of, if not the first person (other than John himself) to read each issue of King-Cat as he finished them. I worked at the copy chop where he had the books made and was responsible for scanning and printing them – we would talk comics every now and then but I never delved too deeply into his personal stuff as every time he’d come back to pick up the finished product I was up to date, as his readers were soon to be. If a particular story moved me I’d point it out and as time went on I did confide in him some of my own hang-ups and mental issues. Although my art style and interests were miles away from his I always felt very connected to his work.

    One thing John knew he could count on was my understanding of his need for perfection in the printed books, in spite of their low budget production values. While I never pegged it as OCD at the time he would often call me midway into the scanning process to say that he needed to bring in new pages because he had found errors in the art. As our shop became all-digital I started making some of those changes for him over the phone – many times it was simply to move a single letter up 1/32 of an inch or to center a panel. I never charged him for this as I felt I was getting so much in return by being able to read the work so early.

    One time I felt conflicted after finding a factual error in one of his stories – he had made mention of a friend who loved the guitarist Don Dokken and I called to let him know that George Lynch was actually the guitar player for the band. I knew he’d be freaked out but John was grateful and got me a new page the next day.

    All this to say that I love the man’s work and consider him a huge inspiration and a friend. His success makes me extremely pleased.

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