The Hospital Suite

John Porcellino, Author
John Porcellino. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-1-77046-164-2
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Best-known for his long-running King-Cat mini-comics, Porcellino’s memoir is sometimes brutal but exceptionally honest. The illnesses that plague Porcellino—chronic pain from an unknown cause and OCD—are exhausting and endless. The toll these various health challenges ultimately take on Porcellino’s life range from minor irritations—the avoidance of certain foods, worries about “contamination”—to major disruptions, including stress on his marriage. Porcellino is well aware of his quirks, but like many OCD sufferers, unable to resist them; he’s already a victim of anxiety and a rare disorder called hyperacusis before the afflictions detailed here begin. The ups and downs of his largely undiagnosed ailments and the endless parade of doctors, specialists, and hospitals only heighten his paralyzing anxiety. In King Cat, Porcellino excels at peaceful Zen moments of observation. Here, his simple, black lines and bare-bones drawings have a powerful economy that present the story cleanly, without flourish, detailing a frightening and inescapable spiral into dysfunction without hyperbole. The result is a clear-eyed, penetrating book about the helplessness of illness which should bring Porcellino a wider audience beyond his cult following. (Sept.)
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