King-Cat Classix (Drawn & Quarterly)

kcc-headerJohn Porcellino's long-running minicomic has always had its enjoyable moments, but this massive collection is greater than just the sum of its parts.

 

 

382 pgs. B&W; $29.95
(W/A: John Porcellino)

John Porcellino's King-Cat Comix don't really stand out very much on the mini comic rack. You might pick one up for its simple, charming drawings but the same could probably be said for a dozen other books around it. And there's a good chance they'll all contain a similiar mix of self-deprecating autobiography, humorous short stories, and…sigh…dream comics. But if you've ever bought mini-comics before, then you might pick it up because you recognize the logo that's graced its covers for nearly past 20 years. Now at 67 issues, Porcellino's commitment to the self-published zine seems to go beyond integrity, into a wonderfully stubborn pride. Like a smaller press Dave Sim, he's doing it his way, and if you don't like it, eh, so what?

The cover to King-Cat Classix by John Porcellino. Click thumbnail for a larger image.Two small collections of his work have been published previously: Perfect Example, collecting troubled youth stories that took place in 1986 and Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man, true tales of extermination that earned him an Ignatz Award in 2005. Now Drawn & Quarterly is publishing a nice, thick, hardcover titled King-Cat Classix, the most complete collection you're likely to get without a major eBay stakeout.

Its strange how you can take a lot of shitty comics and put them together to make a pretty good one. Not to undersell him too much: Porcellino is a good storyteller and there are a lot of memorable moments, like his love story with Madonna (told from her perspective) or the much truer story of Ed, the retired truck driver that's glad to be working again, if only for a day. But a large body of his work is one or two page stories about road trips or neighborhood animals or going on a road trip and telling someone a story about neighborhood animals. Individually, the stories are cute and enjoyable, sometimes insightful. But taken as a whole, King-Cat Classix gains depth that only his most loyal fans have really seen until now. Over the course of two decades, Porcellino and his work grow up at a nearly imperceptible rate, but they do grow up. His lines stay simple, but more confident. His subject matter slowly loses silliness to sincerity. And a typically angst-ridden teenager, desperate for a creative outlet, turns into a man with a full treasury of nice little comics. Anyone could enjoy this book, but its highly recommended if you've ever listed Kinko's as a publisher. | Nick Main

 

Click here to read a 10-page preview of King-Cat Comix, courtesy of Drawn & Quarterly! For more from John Porcellino, visit http://www.king-cat.net/.

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