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Monday, January 12, 2015

AU REVOIR Part Two



I feel like something has snapped, and I really need to rethink the way I'm interacting with the internet, or the world, or comics, or something.

Friday, January 9, 2015

AU REVOIR


In honor of France’s national day of mourning, bye-bye. 24 hours away from the internet is the least I can do.

From Tom Spurgeon’s Comics Reporter:

"Taking someone’s life because they expressed an idea or were in proximity to the expression of an idea someone finds objectionable is an astonishing thing. Murder is an astonishing thing. As many friends that I have in the comics world that speak so eloquently on being affirmed in one’s identity or how one expresses oneself, let me suggest that murder is someone deciding the exact opposite of those things for you. Every possibility of you is now denied. When death comes upon you suddenly, my experience is you become acutely aware of what is being taken away. Seeing your dog? You don’t get to do that anymore. Making art? You’re done making art. That blissful five minutes just sitting on your couch getting your head together? Gone. Every possible thing you can express in term of wanting to do it, you don’t get to do now. Reading a big stack of comics from six months before you started reading those particular titles? Never again. Helping your Mom out with her computer even though it drives you nuts? She won’t be able to ask you to do that anymore and your absence will be a chasm in her heart. Loving and being loved in return? You’re separated from at least your earthly conception of it and in many world views that’s over, too. I felt this yesterday for the people where this decision was made for them and even in a different way for the one of those apparently three lost souls who lost his life acting out on principles and ideas and values that I don’t understand at all and wonder how he came to them. Murder deserves a period." — Tom Spurgeon

http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/a_few_notes_on_yesterdays_charlie_hebdo_coverage/

Drawing by the great Laurent Lolmède

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2015: YEAR IN PREVIEW


King Crayon!  Photo by Olive Booger.

2014 was a long, busy year for ol' John P., and in 2015 I'm looking forward to hunkering down a bit more and getting a lot of drawing done.

First thing on my plate is King-Cat #75, the All-Maisie Issue, which I'm aiming to have out by TCAF or at least CAKE.  It will be a double-sized issue.

Following that I plan on finally releasing South Beloit Journal, my daily diary comics from 2011.  And working on the Strange Growths collection by Jenny Zervakis, which I hope to have out in 2016 -- the first non- John P. Spit and a Half release since 1997!

Travel-wise, I'm cutting way down, with my longest trip likely being TCAF in May, where I hope to table with Zak Sally and Noah Van Sciver.  Otherwise I'm concentrating on more local, easy-to-get-to events, like CAKE, the various Midwestern zine fests, and Autoptic in Minneapolis.

I also hope to spend less time online in the coming months, which paradoxically means (I hope) I can keep this blog updated more regularly with full-length entries.  I have a lot of stuff backed up that I just haven't had the time to post, including bird-banding adventures, two (TWO!) trips to Okefenokee Swamp, the Pierre Feuille Ciseaux event, and a travel diary from my recently completed 25th Anniversary Tour.  So.

Thanks everyone for all your support in 2014 and beyond!  It was wonderful getting out and meeting so many people, both new friends and old.  My best to you--  see you soon!

John P.

Monday, December 8, 2014

RAPPORT DE BELOIT

Santoro rocks the mike, Cleveland: 11/30/14

Hey dudes and dudettes,

I'm back at last from tour-- 31 dates in 74 days.  Now I'm home for good through the long cold winter.  I'll be drawing King-Cat #75 (in hopes of an April/May release), revamping my distro site, and otherwise cuddling with a variety of mammals.

Look for my tour diary to appear here sometime in the next week week or two, and then lots of pictures of birds and alligators.

ALSO, King-Cat tee-shirts, books, and zines make GREAT GIFTS™.

Thanks everyone!
John P.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

WEST COAST OR BUST



So, I'm heading out to the west coast in a few days, for the third and final leg of my Hospital Suite/Root Hog or Die/25th Anniversary Tour.  I'll be traveling via Minneapolis, and, apparently, about 9"-13" worth of snowstorm, so wish me luck.

I don't want to sound alarmist, but if you're on the West Coast and want to see me, have me sign books etc (and you don't make it out to the Midwest or Northeast often), please come out and say hello on this tour.  I really don't know when or if I'll be making it out to the Pacific Coast again anytime soon.  It's just too much travel, and I'm getting old.

Meanwhile, here are my tour dates; PORTLANDERS please note that the venue for my event has recently been changed from the Hollywood Theatre to the Q Center (event time stays the same):

TUES 11/11: MINNEAPOLISMN, Boneshaker Books* – 7 PM
SAT 11/15: SEATTLEWA, Short Run Festival – 11 AM -6 PM
SUN 11/16: SEATTLEWA, Short Run @ Central Cinema* - NOON
M 11/17: PORTLAND: Reading Frenzy @ Q Center* - 7 PM SHARP
W 11/19 SAN FRANCISCOCartoon Art Museum* - 6 PM
TH 11/20: LOS ANGELES, CA, Giant Robot* – 7:30 PM
SUN 11/23: DENVERCO, Cowtown Comix Fest - 11 AM -5 PM
SUN 11/23: DENVER, CO, Wax Trax/Kilgore Books* - 6:30 PM
M 11/24: LAWRENCEKS: Wonder Fair* - 6 PM
T 11/25: ST. LOUISMO, Enamel Gallery* - 7 PM
SAT 11/29: CLEVELAND OH, Mahall's 20 Lanes* - 7 PM
SUN 11/30: CLEVELAND OH, Genghis Con - 2-7 PM


*Includes screening of Root Hog or Die, the King-Cat documentary 



Thanks everyone!  See you on the road...
John P.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

THE KINKS' MUSWELL HILLBILLIES ALBUM



The famously clichéd answer to the question "Beatles or Stones?" is "The Kinks," right?  It's one of those clichés that's really kinda true.  The Kinks had both the songwriting chops of the Beatles and the ragged edge of the Stones, and created a body of work that stood on its own, transcending the limitations of those other two groups.  I started listening to the Kinks when my pal Mr. Mike played their entire Singles A+B collection on the newfangled CD jukebox at a tiki bar in San Francisco once, on a west coast road trip.  Of course I'd heard "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night" on oldies radio, but hearing all their early 45's, in order, was an ear-opening experience.  Brilliant slashes of melodic, smart rock and roll.

Sometime later I heard the Kinks Kronikles record and was stunned by the breadth and depth of the songwriting on display.  Not just the songwriting, but the shambling attitude they took with their music, and the brilliant, sometimes viciously applied humor.  This was something that the Beatles and Stones lacked.  Ray Davies wasn't joking around in his music, but used sarcasm and wit to lash out at a world gone evil and stupid, and I could relate.

There's another thing the Beatles and Stones lacked -- a real sense of social justice.  The Beatles were rich from the time they were young and never really dived into political, class-conscious critique; The Stones were too jaded to care, and songs like "Street Fighting Man," no matter how menacing, felt a bit phony.  The Kinks, on the other hand, took pains to side with the working class, even going so far as to break with party lines in criticism of union bosses who lorded over the workers below them that they'd ostensibly sworn to serve.  Songs like "Get Back in Line" broke through political gamesmanship to focus on the actual, living, breathing workers who were exploited on all sides from birth to death.

Somehow, I'd never heard the Kinks' Muswell Hillbillies album until a few months ago.  Even Lola, its underappreciated predecessor, had the hit title track to guide listeners through its tales of hope and resignation.  Muswell Hillbillies, though, never seemed to gain much traction, especially in the States, where its weird mix of British music hall tunes and American country must have sent a lot of people head scratching.

What Muswell is though, is the Kinks most distinctive and perfect record of their long career.  On it, Ray Davies' disgust with the modern world, and its mistreatment of the "ordinary man" is grim, funny, dark, and powerful, and the nuance and misdirection is beautiful.  In "Have a Cuppa Tea," a rollicking ode to the English Pastime, he cuts suddenly to the bone with the refrain, "For Christ's sake, have a cuppa tea."  In that one line there lies all the hidden suffering and latent anger of the working class.

In "Uncle Son," he paints a portrait of a working man who's faced exploitation on all sides from day one-- Unionists, socialists, conservatives, and preachers have all had their way with him, using him for the symbolic power his authentic life stands for.  When Davies sings "Bless you, Uncle Son-- They won't forget you when the revolution comes" you know damn well that this ordinary working stiff, who just strove to get by, will simply be dumped on the pile of those who came before him, who were used, abused, misled and wrung dry, for one selfish purpose or another.

The other songs on Muswell are equally fine.  From start to finish it’s the Kinks' greatest accomplishment.  Give it a listen, for old Uncle Son's sake, if nothing else.

--John Porcellino




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ROOT HOG DVDs FOR SALE!



Hey everyone, the long-awaited King Cat documentary, ROOT HOG OR DIE, will debut at this weekend's SPX Festival in Bethesda, MD, where DVDs will also be available for purchase.  After that I'm taking the show on the road with combo screenings of the movie and signings for my new D+Q book THE HOSPITAL SUITE.  Tour dates are here.  Can't make it out?  ORDER the DVD now direct from ol' John P. or stream it online for only $5 at www.gumroad.com/kilgorebooks.

The DVD includes the entire full-length 100 minute documentary, plus outtakes, bloopers (!), and an all-new exclusive 8 page comic book!

Prices for mailorder (INCLUDING postage and packing) are as follows:

USA: $18.00 via cash/check/mo OR $18.82 via PayPal
CANADA: $24.19 USD via PayPal
REST OF WORLD: $26.22 USD via PayPal

Checks, cash, money order payable to:

John Porcellino
PO Box 142
South Beloit, IL 61080

OR PayPal to:

kingcat_paypal AT hotmail DOT com

Thanks!
John P.