Thursday, March 15, 2012

Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man by John Porcellino

The above comic is by John Porcellino. I wanted to start with it just because I think the man and his art stand on its own -- but read on and delve deeper into this cartoonist whose art carves deep into the experience of living.

John has been writing and drawing his mini-comic King Cat Comics for over twenty years now, documenting his daily life in deceptively simple lines and poetic phrases, each short piece of a few pages building over time into a monumental acheivement of personal exploration and deep thought about the moments that make a life, from the small to the enormous, from the painful to the sublime.

There are several books available that collect his work-- his King Cat Classix comprises most of his work from the beginning of his career up to issue 50, and Map of My Heart is pretty much all the material from the next several issues after that. Perfect Example is a graphic novel comprised of several linked stories about the year he graduated from high school. Drawn & Quarterly, a fantastic comics publisher out of Canada, has issued these great works. However, my favorite collection of his work is his Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man from the small press La Mano.

His first real job was doing mosquito abatement where he lived, and he did the job for nearly ten years, writing comics about his experiences all the way through the health issues he had and the crisis of conscience that forced him to quit. This compact collection of stories takes you from some of the early, raw stories he did as he discovered himself as an artist, all the way up through the point at which he developed his spare style and piercing exploration of his experiences. There are stories here that you will laugh at, and stories here that will break your heart.

If only we could all explore our own lives with the same unflinching, fierce, stark, yet ultimately warm and generous lines that John Porcellino has.

By the way, if you happen to be near any of these spots (including the Triangle area of N.C. today!) you can catch John on his current tour.

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