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John Porcellino P4

John Porcellino talks about production and distribution of his minicomic King-Cat Comics and Stories...

READERSVOICE.COM: How did you print the comics then and now? Did you phone comics shops and handle disribution yourself?

JOHN PORCELLINO: I still print them the same way, at the copy shop. But now the copy shop is a huge digital printing place out by the Denver airport, and they’re run on million-dollar room-size machines! And I always did the distribution myself, or, in lesser part, through small-press distributors like Microcosm and Last Gasp. When I started there were only a few stores in the country that would selll comic zines… Comic Relief in the Bay Area, St. Mark’s Comix in NYC, then Quimby’s in Chicago. So most of my distribution was through direct orders from customers, or subscriptions. Now it’s reversed, there are so many stores that are willing to stock this kind of work, and sell it, get behind it. But I still do it mostly myself, contacting stores, filling orders. When I travel I’m obsessed with checking out each new place, and I’m notorious for picking people’s brains about the places they live: What kind of comics shops are there? Weird bookstores, record stores??? So over the years I’ve developed a pretty good network of people, stores, etc. It’s great, I feel like we’re all in it together.

RV: How did some of the translations come about and how do you distribute comics overseas (apart from Drawn and Quarterly and like publishers)?

JP: Most of the translations were just someone in some other country found my comics and contacted me. I feel grateful when that stuff comes my way. Connecting with cartoonists and publishers in other parts of the world is really exciting to me. Like I said, I really feel like we’re all in it together, whether we’re in Paris or South Beloit.

For overseas distribution of the zine, I have friends all over Europe, and they help me out a lot. I’ll send a package of stuff to my friend Jonathan in France, for instance, and he’ll get it out to the zine-friendly shops for me. There’s a fellow in Sweden who does the same thing for me. And I have a lot of international subscribers. Probably a good third to half of my orders are international nowadays.

RV: What are some of your plans, with going to conventions for appearances, publications and drawing comics?

JP: I’m currently working on a few projects: Illustrating a graphic novel called The Next Day, which is part of a large project being put together by Pop Sandbox in Toronto; a new novella-length book for D+Q called The Hospital Suite; and of course the new King-Cat. I’m always working on the new King-Cat.

I did so much touring over the last year or so (I went to 43 states!) that now I’m kind of looking forward to staying put for awhile and drawing a lot. But I’ll be at a couple events in the spring for sure, SPACE in Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago Zine Fest. And it looks like I’ll be heading up to Toronto for TCAF, as The Next Day will be debuting there. Beyond that I don’t know. I’d love to make it to MOCCA or the Brooklyn Comix Festival if I can. I’ll definitely be at Minneapolis Indie Expo again this year, I love that city!

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– copyright Simon Sandall