It's time for a new week of TCJ, people. What better way to start it off than a meaty interview with influential cartoonist John Porcellino? Wait--how about if this was only the first part of said meaty interview? It's time to get your long read pants on, pal. John and Rob have a lot to talk about!
Your style underwent a dramatic change from the beginning of your career to your more mature style. What led you to decide to strip down your individual images?
It was never a conscious choice or decision, it was just how things organically developed. That was something that I emphasized to myself from the beginning of King-Cat -- I wanted it to be what it wanted to be. I didn't want to have a preconceived notion of what my comics, my zine, should be. I tried to get out of the way of my creativity, to allow what was inside to come out unobstructed.
Always, I saw the comics in my head and tried to put that down on paper as accurately as I could. Over time, the way I saw them in my head changed. They became pared down, I tried to let go of lines that were inessential. At some point when I was drawing a night scene it became redundant to me to fill in that black night sky with ink. It was already night, night is dark, why do I have to draw it? That black sky was inherent in the act of drawing “night.”
Did I say meat? Then I guess we have a theme going here, because we've also got a Monday surprise for ya: Joe McCulloch is here, and he's brought a fascinating dive into Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon, which, as Joe points out, has been consistently showing up for a quarter of century. Here's one of the many factoids Joe tracked down for you:
*Various real Toronto locations are introduced, climaxing in a bit where much of the incidental characters' scene-setting dialogue is copy-pasted directly from Wikipedia; Malcolm is confused by this. He also fights a series of monster-of-the-month-type villains, all of them with sympathetic backstories: a toxic sludge monster out to kill its wealthy boss; a group of hacked, possibly sentient sex dolls who rip off men's cocks during coitus (the sound effect for a severed penis hitting the ground is also "SQUIT!") before taking their money; a teleportation vigilante who murders the prominent man who molested him and his sister. This last villain also informs Malcolm during their fight that Americans lack moral authority to lecture foreign people on matters of justice, given their own state of affairs; he is killed when one of his teleportations abruptly terminates inside of Malcolm's body, leaving his cadaver lodged inside the hero's torso. (#229-232)
On the crowdfunding front, Women Write About Comics is prepping to move their site to a hosting service that can handle their expanding size and popularity and they've issued a call for financial help to assist in the transition.
While my favorite Joe Kubert comic is currently an issue of Punisher where he inked his son so well I achieved self-actualization, it's going to be very difficult to keep maintaining that claim now that Diversions of the Groovy Kind has rounded up of a bunch of his Unknown Soldier covers. Look at the way the Soldier presses his right hand into his face, the bend at the wrist, the delicate balance between depicting the pressure of his fingers to his face and allowing for the it to appear like the hand is about to get yanked away to reveal what was to be hidden by bandages. I've never wanted to be a cartoonist, but goddamn, if I could draw like that!
While I should probably do some more research before proclaiming my whole hearted support for the group of Columbia students demanind that they get a tuition refund for their Visual Arts MFA program, I'm just going to go ahead and nod my head vigorously until somebody tells me otherwise.
Sometimes life is a meritocracy, but that's rarely true in comics, where champions die blind & impoverished while greedy liars die rich and unpunished. So let me follow that terrible prelude by recommending that we celebrate Ruben Bolling, who won the 2018 Robert F. Kennedy Book & Journalism in the Cartoon category for Tom the Dancing Bug, a comic that has maintained a consistent level of ferocious quality that's really remarkable.