John Porcellino at Chapel Hill Comics (Includes Detours)
March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Yesterday, I took a fun comics-related day trip. About midday, I drove to Winston-Salem, picked up uber-cartoonist and good friend Ben Towle, and together we went to Chapel Hill for a presentation and signing by John Porcellino at Chapel Hill Comics. Here’s a little photographic record of our trip.
Anybody who reads Ben’s blog knows that he’s a music guy–note how many bands made it into his “Year of Weekly Portraits” project–so we got to Chapel Hill early so Ben could visit a CD/vinyl shop across the street from Chapel Hill Comics. Above: Ben looking like he wants to kick my ass (and maybe I deserve it?) while holding up a Dame Darcy 45 he found and bought at the record store.
Chapel Hill Comics is absolutely in the highest echelon of comic shops—great environment, great selection, a great presence in one of America’s coolest college towns. Below: the exterior and interior.
I had met John Porcellino at a conference in Iowa last October, so I introduced Ben to John and we all had a nice talk before John’s presentation. (John and Ben both drew books for the Center for Cartoon Studies biographical series—John on Thoreau, Ben on Amelia Earhart—but weirdly enough, I don’t think this came up in our conversation.) John then spoke to a small but appreciative audience in the back room of the store, projecting images and stories from the first fifty issues of King-Cat Comix and leap-frogging through topics important to his life and art: punk rock, zine culture, Kirby and Ditko monster comics, the sacredness of everyday experience, and writing and drawing an entire issue of King-Cat on company time. As a speaker, John is humble, attentive to audience questions, charming: everything you’d expect the man to be based on his work.
I didn’t want to take any pictures of John during his presentation, because I was afraid that the camera flash would be distracting. But here he is after his talk, signing books and comics at the front of the store.
Ben and I bought King-Cats from John and prowled through the rest of the store. Below is another shot of Ben on the rampage, while Chapel Hill Comics owner (and artist and Alphabeasts moderator) Andrew Neal looks admiringly on.
The obligatory “stuff I bought” list: Fatale #2, the fourth and final Planetary trade collection (“Spacetime Archaeology,” ooh), and the oversized, Paul Lyons-edited Monster, featuring the art of several Fort Thunderers (Drain, Ralph, Chippendale, Goldberg, Brinkman) and others (DeForge, Kolchalka, C.F., Rugg). A cover detail from Monster, just because it’s cool:
Mr. Andrew Neal will have an eight-page strip in the next Monster. North Carolina represent!
I also bought King-Cats #71 and #72 (the most recent issues), both of which I read when I got home, and both of which I found poignant and moving, given that John made them in what he calls “the lowest point of [his] life so far.” Best wishes to John as he continues his “March 2012 Tour”–he’ll be at Duke University tonight (3/15/12), in a Q and A session hosted by the mighty Rob Clough, and you really need to go.
Despite Ben Towle’s uncontrollable anger, and despite the fact it snowed and killed off half the crops, it was a good day at Chapel Hill Comics.