Updated weakly.

John P. has a PATREON. / King-Cat 78 is OUT.



Monday, September 17, 2018

ZINE NOT DEAD X


Oftentimes when people look at me sideways upon hearing that I live in a smallish town on the Wisconsin border, I half-jokingly explain that "I live as close to Chicago as I can afford to." Even though it drives me crazy, the City of Chicago is my hometown, where I grew up as a kid, and will always be a special place to me. So, I feel lucky that I get to live in an affordable, peaceful place, surrounded by nature and open space, yet am only a quick drive to "The City." A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in the tenth iteration of ZINE NOT DEAD, a Chicago zine/comix reading organized by Matt Davis of Perfectly Acceptable and Brad Rohloff of Bred Press.



View from the back porch of the event space, Ballroom Projects.

Steph and I headed into the city, and Google Maps took us in on Ogden Avenue. So we got to drive through Lagrange ("They gotta lotta nice girls there"), Lyons, Brookfield, Stickney, and other mysterious suburbs that I never really go to. We arrived early and had dinner, then took seats at what we called "The Grown Ups' Table" in the kitchen area of the event space. We got to chat with a succession of the Most Awesomest™ Cartoonists in Chicago. Max Morris cuddled for a bit;  Nick Drnaso and his wife Sarah discussed house plants; Aaron Renier and Jessica Campbell went dog crazy; and Raighne Hogan, Maggie Umber, and Iona Fox all said hi. Presently the room filled with people. I was like "Where were all these folks when I was 24???"­


Genius poster from the World's Greatest Cartoonist, Anna Haifisch, hanging in the bathroom, Ballroom Projects.


Soon the show started. Brad and Matt had the crowd in stitches as they work through their usual "technical difficulties."

I spoke third (out of six) so Stephanie and I could make it back home to Beloit before midnight. (Our usual bedtime is about 9 pm.) I read from King-Cat 78, mostly comics about our cats and dogs, so it was fun. People seemed to dig it, and I felt overwhelmed by the warmth and support this community has for one another. It was very moving.

After I read I stuck around for the intermission, which featured a hilarious roast of the hosts by special guests  Gina Wynbrandt and Sarah Squirm. The crowd was howling. I felt kinda sad to have to split early, but I'm old.


Gina as Matt, Sarah as Brad, killing it.

There were, I would guess, well over 100 people in the audience. On the way home I was telling Steph how when I first started making King-Cat you could count the number of US cartoonists making artful, literary comics on two hands. WE'VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY!

Friday, August 24, 2018

AUTOPTIC REPORPTIC



Hey it's been a long time since I've posted regularly on Ye Olde Blogge®. Partially it's because now that I've achieved Total and Complete Domination of Social Media™ I spend most of my time posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Myspace. Also, I write a monthly recap for my Patreon supporters (hint hint) and that takes up a lot of what was once known as My Blogging Energy®.

That said, we all know how sinister Social Media is, and how inescapable Corporate Culture™ is nowadays... so I would like to focus more energy here going forward. I know Blooger is a wholly owned subsidiary of some Mega-Corp or another, but at least this is something with my name on it and there's no ads...

So without further ado, here's my report from the Autoptic Festival, which I attended this last weekend in Minneapolis.

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I have to admit I'm burned out on shows. I'm burned out on a lot of things (watch for upcoming Blogge Posts on this subject), but I'm burned out on shows. It used to be that after a weekend of traveling, tabling, dehydration, not eating well, and not sleeping well, I felt awful, and it took me sometimes close to a week to recover. Nowadays I feel that way before I leave for a show. Also, after two decades of utter chaos and upheaval, I'm in love with my current domesticated, backyardish life, and I'm usually loathe to leave even for short trips of a few days.

Prior to leaving for Minneapolis, though, I'd been fried out by several months of six-and-a-half day workweeks at the distro and I was kinda looking forward to seeing friends. Plus, Minneapolis in the summertime is never a bad idea. So off I went.

View from atop the lookout.

Traffic was bad through the Dells, as usual, but then it opened up into some of the prettiest interstate driving in the Midwest. I stopped at a rest area I'd never visited before, that promised a "scenic overlook." Sure enough, across the parking lot was a nicely maintained path into the trees. It wound up a hillside, onto a meandering boardwalk that spanned some nice gullies, and out onto a platform. The view was beautiful, with hills and woodland green spreading out to the horizon. I took some deep breaths and headed back down. I had to be in Minneapolis that evening for a panel discussion.

I was hungry and tired, and looking for a Burger King (don't judge me), and finally found one across the river in Minnesota. I parked and went in. It was grimy and dark. A few lonely people milled about at tables, nursing coffees. At the counter, ordering problems ensued, and the guy couldn't get the register open to make change; they made my gluten free burger with a bun, then they gave me a burger with no vegetables or condiments. When the guy was unable to give me a receipt I felt so sad that I couldn't even broach the subject with him.* The staff was clearly unhappy with each other, the management was bugging people about extra shifts etc etc. As I ate, I thought "Is this the World's Saddest Burger King?" I had my phone out and was about to tweet that, when a young woman and three little kids came in, bought frozen Cokes and proceeded to run into the Indoor PlayGround, laughing and smiling. No way it could be the World's Saddest anything anymore. So I put my phone away.**

A few minutes later I was in town, pulling up at Moon Palace Books, where Autoptic events were being held. Lots of Comix-looking people milled about, and one of the panels was in progress when I arrived. Soon it was time for me to get up there. It was a panel on "Destigmatizing Vulnerability in Comics," hosted by Aaron King, with Sage Coffey, Alexis Cooke, and me. It went well. Afterwards people hung out in the bookstore café talking about comics, salami, and exhaustion.

Vulnerability panel. Photo by Melanie Gillman.

That night I stayed with Uncivilized publisher Jordan, his wife Jess, and Shoe the Cat. BFF Ben Sears was there too. We stayed up late talking about My Bloody Valentine and Gluyas Williams. Then off to Dreamland.

In the morning I drove Ben to the Autoptic venue. When we got there he realized he'd left a box of books back at Jordan's. He apologized profusely, but I assured him it was no big deal, and we headed back. On the way, he kept apologizing and beating himself up over it. Ironically, we had earlier been discussing whether Louisville (where he's from, and still lives) is the Midwest or not. I have to say, after his impressive display of self-deprecation and apologetics, even if it's not, I hereby ordain him an Honorary Midwesterner. (Sorry!)

Anyhow, we went in and did the show. Autoptic is in an amazing space, some kind of massive vaulted former warehouse. In that way alone it feels very different than most comics shows. It doesn't feel claustrophobic or oppressive. It also attracts a slightly different crowd than your average comics con. There were a lot of older people attending, as well as families and groups of friends. A number of people came to my table and told me they had just happened to be in town for the weekend and saw the show listed in the paper, and decided to check it out. So there was a kind of openness and curiosity to the attendees that I usually only feel at a zine show. (It should be noted, Autoptic has a somewhat larger scope that just a "comics show," featuring zines, printmaking, and other small press publications as well.)

Ye Olde Spit and a Half table.

I was located between my old buddies Kevin H. and Zak Sally, so it was nice to get to hang during the show and make fun of each other etc. I had a great time tabling, even though I had the usual con-related dehydration and blood sugar problems (nobody's fault but my own, folks!). In the afternoon I moseyed on over to a nearby Whole Foods and got something hot and non-sugary to eat and then it was smooth sailing through the end. All in all, sales were wonderful, I saw a bunch of old friends, met a bunch of new ones, and got to pick up some awesome comics.

Help! I'm trapped inside a comics festival with no protein!

Afterwards a group of us walked over the bridge to the official restaurant/afterparty location. I shared a table with Gabrielle Bell, Hannah and Anna from Philly, Jesse McManus, Zak, Ben, Iona Fox, and Kevin. Wow. I kinda hate comics sometimes, but I love cartoonists! God Bless 'Em All.

After having a lengthy discussion with Gabrielle about spontaneous kundalini awakening, and a mutual apology session with Nick Drnaso, and chatting with Ted Intorcio, and eating a few of Aaron Renier's gigantic Potato Chips, it was time to go.

Aaron Renier illustrates the Wisconsin Food Pyramid: Beer and something deep-fried.

Zak and I met up at his house where I was leapt upon by the bundle of nervous, unbridled energy known as Polly the Dog, or as I came to call her, Lynette. We stayed up til 2 AM talking about drugs, Buddhism, relationships, money, noise, dogs, and life. I had the choice of either the couch or Zak's son's bed. It was determined that if I chose the bed, Polly could join me. So I got in bed, slapped the sheets and exchanged slobbery dog kisses for belly-rubs all night long.

Miss Lynette "Da Lovebug" Sally.

And there you have it, kids: comics will break your heart, but they'll also lead to lifelong friendships, big laughs, and, possibly, tongue baths.

Next morning -- coffee, gas, and on the road. Through rain so intense outside of Madison that I ended up on an off-ramp because the roadsigns were unreadable. It was slow going, but I was home. Gibby gave me jazz hands and Iris snorked my arm... I took a shower to wash the road off of me, and got into bed. I turn fifty in three weeks.


*Cartoonists and Comics Industry Peeps: Always, ALWAYS, get your receipts and write this shit off your taxes. The less money you pay in taxes the less bombs they can drop on innocent brown people.

**I should mention that I would never hold it against a fast food worker for any seeming unruliness, exasperation, sadness, anger, or despair. That's a tough life, folks. Cut 'em some slack.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

KING-CAT 78 AVAILABLE NOW!!!


Hey everyone, King-Cat 78 is at the printer! Subscriber/Patreon copies will be going out ASAP. If you would otherwise like to (pre)order just one copy of this issue, the best way is to PayPal the money to me directly, as follows:

USA: $6.50
CANADA: $7.20 USD
REST OF WORLD: $8.75 USD

Payable via PayPal to: kingcat_paypal AT Hotmail DOT com

If you want to order KC 78 along with other books, please visit www.spitandahalf.com.

Thank you!
John P.
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King-Cat 78 features lots of funny animal stories like “A Story About Ninny,” “Lady Tuff ‘n’ Tender,” and “Nighttime Encounter with the Void”; tons of Nature Notes featuring Monarch Butterfly Lifecycle and “Shrews Thru History”; an extensive letters section with notes from T.E. Bak, Megan Kelso, and more; plus poetry, Top 40, a Zen Story, and the Usual Gang of Schtuff. 40 digest pages in eye-catching black and white. (Spit and a Half)

(Click images to enlarge)






Saturday, March 31, 2018

FROM LONE MOUNTAIN Available Now!


Hey everyone, my latest KCat collection from D+Q is out now!

FROM LONE MOUNTAIN compiles issues 62-68 of King-Cat (2003-2007), along with a selection of previously unpublished strips and detailed commentary. It features such classic stories as “Trombones No. 1,” “Great Western Sky,” The Sound of the Birds,” “Like a Pigeon,” “Iowa City,” “Las Hojas/Football Weather,” “Freeman Kame,” and the first batch of Diogenes comics. Every page of the original zines is reproduced in order including front and back covers, letters columns, Snornose pages, and Top 40’s. Also includes the standalone zines 3 Poems About Fog and The Ones That Everybody Knows. 308 pages, 6″ x 9″, two color cover, black and white interiors.

You can purchase it from your favorite bookseller, Amazon, D+Q, or even directly from me at Spit and a Half. I'll also of course have copies with me at my upcoming festival appearances.

D+Q's Tom Devlin writes about FLM here and Charles Hatfield has an extensive review up at TCJ.

Thank you! And don't forget I'll be on the road a bit reading from the book. Full tour dates can be found here.

LOVE - John P.







Monday, February 5, 2018

FROM LONE MOUNTAIN Tour Dates

Hi all, I'm old and tired and will only be doing a small tour in support of my new D+Q book, From Lone Mountain (available March 20!). Please see below for dates. I would love to see you if you're able to come out and say hi!

LOVE, John P.


(Click to enlarge!)




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2017/2018 YEAR IN P/REVIEW


2017 was a hell of a year, and we all know it. On the personal side I spent much of it dealing with family health issues, which was hard too. I was always an idealist, but never an optimist. I don't know what this new year will bring, but let's hope somehow it's better than the last one.



Comics-wise, it was busy for me. In the spring I published King-Cat 77 and Jenny Zervakis' Complete Strange Growths book in quick succession. Then in the fall I put out a new edition of Pascal Girard's sweet and funny Apartment Number Three. Additionally, the fine folks at Uncivilized Books published my South Beloit Journal. These can all be purchased online at the Spit and a Half distro site.




Speaking of the distro, it continues to grow not only in size, but in the time it requires of me. I'll turn 50 this year and at some point I will need to refocus my attention on my own comics. But the distro is also such a big part of who I am, and how I want to function in this world. It's tough to balance.

Balance may be my key word of 2018. Things are out of hand -- in the world, in my head -- and I'm looking to restore some steadiness. On my Patreon page I wrote recently about the three things that have never let me down in this life: Zines, Nature, and Zen. As the world outside rumbles off its axis, I'm finding myself in retreat towards these grounding forces in my life. I also have the feeling that I'm running out of time. Fifty is young in most terms, but not for Porcellinos. I'm hoping I have fifteen more years. Anything beyond that will be gravy. If I'm looking at the limits of life in the suddenly foreseeable future, I need to make some serious decisions about what that life is going to entail. I feel like I'm on the cusp of change again.

One of the changes I plan to make is to limit my time spent on social media. In many ways social media was made for me as an artist. I love to share, to communicate, and especially in the form of small tidbits and little asides. But the rise of anti-rationality, argumentativeness, and snark on social media is depressing to me. I'll still be online on Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, etc etc, but in a less interactive way. If I can swing it. Addictions are hard to kick.

Meanwhile, this blog has languished somewhat. I hope to come back to it again this year and begin posting more things here rather than on other more corporate platforms. Look for my "Fave Comics of 2016" (!) list shortly, and then my 2017 List soon after.

I have King-Cat 78 in its wrapping-up phase, and hope to publish it in February. After that, the next two issues are already conceived and I should be able to get a lot of work done on them quickly, with at least one of them also being published in 2018. And my next D+Q book, From Lone Mountain, will be published in March, collecting King-Cats no. 62-68, plus bonus material.



So, we'll see. Thanks for all your support this last year, and all these years. It means the world to me.

Talk soon,
John P.


Friday, September 22, 2017

SOUTH BELOIT JOURNAL (2017)



HEY FOLKS!

It's out! -- You can order my "new" comic SOUTH BELOIT JOURNAL now, at the Spit and a Half site:


If you're a Patreon supporter at $5+ per month you'll be receiving a copy via mail in several weeks, along with the Spit and a Half edition of Pascal Girard's APARTMENT NUMBER THREE. If you'd like to sign up for my Patreon, you can do so here: www.patreon.com/johnporcellino

Thanks!
John P.

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"Over the winter of 2010-2011 I found myself at the lowest point of my life: Twice divorced, heartbroken, mentally insane, and living in poverty and isolation in a cold, grey cinderblock apartment in a small, gritty town in Northern Illinois… South Beloit.

One of my projects at the time was illustrating a book about suicide, The Next Day, for the Canadian publisher Pop Sandbox. As I trimmed the pages to size, I found myself with ninety-one 2” x 6” scraps of Bristol board. They looked perfect for a comic strip, so I began drawing upon them one little diary comic per day. I tried not to censor myself (though sometimes I still did), but to just let the ink spill without preconception or prejudice. South Beloit Journal collects these strips."

40 pages, 6.5″ x 8″, two color covers, black and white interiors. (Uncivilized Books)

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(Apartment Number Three, Pascal Girard's lovely, funny comic from 2011, will be back in print soon!)