cover image Perfect Example

Perfect Example

John Porcellino, . . Drawn & Quarterly, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-896597-75-1

Porcellino, the longtime and, one imagines, long-suffering publisher of the zine King-Cat Comics and Stories , has come out with an autobiography covering his final days of high school and the following summer in Hoffman Estates, a Chicago suburb. Porcellino has a deliberately simple style of drawing. His childish images are emotional almost without effort. It's 1986, and Porcellino is a severely depressed teen who doesn't know what to do with his life. He hangs out with friends, chases two girls, goes out to the lake and finally falls into suicidal thoughts: the world feels bland and dead. The story suffers when Porcellino abandons the sweet, meandering plot to discuss his state of mind. These interior episodes feel tacked on: "I was a little boy. Now I'm grown. People—places... things come and go. But they're no more real than shadows on a wall." With the work of Dan Clowes, Harvey Pekar and French artist David B., the graphic novel is proving to be an excellent venue for describing the 20th-century everyman. Porcellino's work is a minor, flawed but still worthy example of this rising genre. (Oct.)