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Wednesday, October 15, 2014


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


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

John P.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Hey Gang -- we're printing up these nifty tee shirts to sell on tour!  If you're not going to be able to make it out to any of the tour stops, we're making them available for pre-order too -- order now and we'll ship them right to your door once they're available!

Shirts come in S, M, L, and XL and are two-color black and cream prints on 100% ORGANIC RED COTTON! Nice.

Prices (including shipping and handling charges) are as follows:

USA: $25.00 via cash/check/mo OR $26.00 via PayPal
CANADA: $29.00 USD via PayPal
REST OF WORLD: $33.00 USD via PayPal

Send well-concealed cash/check/mo payable to:

John Porcellino
PO Box 142
South Beloit, IL 61080

Or PayPal to kingcat_paypal AT hotmail DOT com


PLEASE NOTE:  I'll be on tour until the end of September, so pre-ordered shirts will ship in OCTOBER. Rest assured we'll get them out to you as soon as possible!

Thank you!  All proceeds go to the Gibby Dog Fund.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Just got this photo from Julia Pohl-Miranda in San Diego:  The Hospital Suite exists!

Thursday, July 17, 2014


I'll be tabling at this event in Elgin Saturday, with loads of Kool Komix. Come on by and meet Clifford the Big Red Dog!

"Comic Book Mania Convention will be held on July 19 at Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Avenue, Elgin, IL. Hours are 10am-5pm; admission is FREE! Meet in person the artists and writers of your favorite comics. Thousands of comics for sale. Free facepainting for the kids. Wear a costume and automatically win a prize! A Prize Drawing will be held on the hour; winners must be present to win.

At 11:00, writer Russell Lissau and artist Justin Castaneda will present "How to Make Comics". Learn all about the comics making process.

Also at 11:00, our Manga and Anime Club will be meeting. Both of these events will be on the second floor at the library.

Bring the kids to see our library-wide exhibit "Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog". If you are lucky, you may get to meet Clifford himself!

Bring your cameras and get your picture taken with your favorite super-heroes! Brought to you by We Are Cosplay!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Hi everyone,

Here's the trailer for the upcoming King-Cat movie, directed by Kilgore Books' Dan Stafford:

The movie will debut at SPX in September, and then I'll be traveling around the country screening it.  Some of the tour dates have already been confirmed, and are listed here.  Otherwise, check back for more info as it becomes available!

Also, check Dan's Blog, where he posts updates, outtakes, and other fun stuff.

John P.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

CAKE 2014

Tablemates Zak Sally and Noah Van Sciver

So, my last big show until the fall -- CAKE 2014.  In only its third year, CAKE feels like a well oiled and FUN comics festival.  So many people make the trip out, and Chicago itself has such a remarkable comics scene, that the whole thing feels like a family reunion.  Add to that the laid back Midwestern vibe and you've got a winner.

Saturday I spent a bunch of time wandering around and saying hi to people; Sunday I stayed at my table and when I was away I ran around quickly picking up great comics.

Noah with the illustrious Tony Millionaire

Victor "Bald Eagles" Cayro and Becca Kacanda

Millionaire, JP, and Mt. Baldy

When Tony stood up he kept going.  Dude's like eight feet tall.

View of downtown from the rooftop deck

Mssrs. Chris Cilla and Onsmith

Lizz Hickey and Bill Kartalopoulos

Nils Balls

Nicole J. Georges earns her Comic Book Merit Badge

The great Keiler Roberts

Just a friendly tap on the horn from Aaron "#4" Renier and Jeremy Tinder

JP, Jessica Campbell, and a smilier AR

Billy Ireland's Sooper Awesome Caitlin McGurk

CAKE organizer and all-around bon vivant Max Morris

Greg Means (R) reminds Alec Longstreth what it felt like when the Blazers made it past the first round

The always charming MariNaomi

Nicole models the new King-Cat brand Muumuu

And last but not least, my roommate Twiggy