Updated weakly.

John P. has a PATREON. / King-Cat 76 is OUT.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

A WALK IN THE WOODS AND LIFE


It's been a rough, weird spring, with health problems knocking me out and dropping me behind on everything and always trying to catch up and feeling like I'm never getting anywhere. So lately, I've been trying to keep things in balance, and that means getting outside and working in our yard, or going for walks in the woods and fields around Beloit.

As always, whatever state of turmoil I may find myself in, a walk outdoors usually relieves it. Recently I've been out hiking in the Stateline Restoration Prairie, where the June blooms are rockin', or out at the J. Norman Jensen Forest Preserve, where I keep looking for Pileated Woodpeckers, but only find beautiful Orioles or Goldfinches or Red-headed Woodpeckers etc.


One of my favorite bends in the Rock River.

Path into the woods.

Ruins of old fireplace, out in the woods.

Sometimes the world is so beautiful, it almost seems like I'm hallucinating.

Can you find the Great Blue Heron in this picture?

Can you find the muskrat in this picture? 

Keep runnin' up that hill.

Just another day in Paradise.

Otherwise, I woke up the Sunday of CAKE with more hearing problems. Not as bad as following DINK, when I went wholly deaf in my right ear, but bad enough that it got me thinking. As you surely know, I went though about a decade of very serious illness, during which time I became somewhat of a recluse. My health was not good enough to travel, except in the most emergency type situations. Finally circa 2007 or so, I finally began to feel well enough to get out on the road again. At first it was difficult, but then in 2009 I turned into a road dawg. I hit every show, festival, signing and event I could reasonably or even not-so-reasonably attend. It felt great after 10 years of solitude to get out into the world, meet people again, visit new places, etc. But I'm now beginning to feel like the energy and health I'd saved up in those ten years has dissipated again. Like it's time for me to pull back once more.

I've canceled my table at SPX 2016, my one remaining long-distance show of the year. The Jenny Zervakis Strange Growths book, which we'd hoped to debut at SPX, will now debut at CAKE 2017. I'll still attend the remaining few very-local shows left (Madison Print and Resist and Milwaukee Zine Fest, both in the fall), but otherwise I'm staying put.

Clearing my slate like this is a huge relief.  Summer is here, and I'm looking forward to spending it outdoors, or drawing my own comics, or watching the Honeymooners, digging in the yard or painting the shed. Planting some real roots.

King-Cat #76 is at the printers, and #77 is partway drawn, with all the pages allotted for. I wanna have that out before the end of the year. I wanna dig down inside myself again. I promise to bring out whatever I find there.

LOVE YOU ALL,
John P.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

CAKE PATTER


So, last weekend was CAKE, the beloved and well-appreciated Chicago Alt-Comics festival. In a last minute push I managed to overcome my inertia and got a small print run of the new King-Cat printed for the show. (The main run, which goes out to stores and subscribers etc, will be coming soon.) 


If you read my previous post, you know that I've been approaching if not reaching Maximum Burnout­® as far as the convention circuit is concerned. But CAKE is my hometown show, and I think the best alt-comics show in the country right now. It's well attended, well-organized, and has an extremely high quality level. It feels like an old-tyme comics show, where the focus is back on creative individuality and risk taking, versus Adventure Time wannabee clones and trendhopping, intentional mediocrity. Almost every table at CAKE is primo, with some of the best and most interesting cartoonists of our time in attendance.

 The view from the Spit and a Half table, Saturday.

The Hon. Zak R. Sally, my next door neighbor and best bud.

 
British writer Dean Simons and Kilgore Books impresario, Dan Stafford.

 
Sgt. Huizenga of the Lake County Sheriff's Police.

 
Mardou interviews Zak for Comics Workbook.

 
My other neighbors were Keiler and Scott Roberts and their daughter Xia, who drew a picture of a groundhog and a beaver dancing for me. 

So anyhow, the show was great. And then. Somehow I made it through the entire day Sunday, from 11-6, at one of the biggest LGBTQ Centers in Chicago, without ever hearing about the shooting in Orlando. As I was loading out that evening, I noticed all the security in bullet proof vests everywhere, and I asked what was going on. It was then that I found out what had happened.

Walking out then onto Halsted Street, the historic heart of Chicago's LGBTQ community, I was stunned into speechlessness and heartbreak. The people moving down the street, rainbow flags draped over their shoulders, it all seemed like an eerie, terrible dream.

Let me just say out loud that I treasure my many gay, lesbian, bi, trans and otherwise queer friends. I can't imagine-- if I felt as stunned, scared, and furious as I did-- how you all must feel. For whatever it's worth, my love is here with you, along with the love of all your millions of supporters.