John Porcellino is one of my comics heroes and major inspiration when I started drawing. His cartoons done in black lines are direct, uncluttered, achingly beautiful simple. His style is perfectly matched to the directness of his narratives, thinkings, observations, and poetry. He’s known for his King Cat Comics, which he has self-published since 1989 and have been reissued as collections. Among these pages are gems of poetry comics, many evoking haiku.

In an April 2018 interview with The Herald, Porcellino talks about the connection between poetry and comics: Comics, especially self-published comics, broke down the barriers between artist and audience the way punk rock did. It allowed for a more direct connection. / Many cartoonists note the similarities between comics and music, which I agree with. In the same way, there are similarities between comics and poetry. As I mentioned, I’ve studied and written poetry throughout my life – it has always been a creative part of me. / Somewhere around the late nineties I started to more consciously begin to integrate my comics with my poetry. Around this time, many of my comics began life as straight poems – text on a page in poetic form – that I adapted into comics.

There are way too many to share all my favorites, so here are just two of his poetry comics:

“Busy Bee” collected in “Map of My Heart – Best of King Cat Comics & Stories 1996-2002” (Drawn and Quarterly 2009)
“3 Poems about Fog – San Francisco” collected in “From Lone Mountain – King Cat Comics and Stories 2003-2007” (Drawn and Quarterly 2018)

Both of these poetry comics perfectly capture small moments – just enough words with the right accompanying drawings – balanced – leaving us simply to hear the bee and feel the fog.

Porcellino’s website KING CAT COMICS is where you’ll find more about his world. Check it out!

Timeline: 1989-Present

Warning: This incomplete history maps my journey as a poet learning about comics and doesn’t follow a strict chronological order.


1977 is here! It’s my new book, a collage of poems and charts and maps that re-creates the feeling I had when I first heard punk music.

You can be first to have a copy by heading over the Ravenna Press and buy online here. Or …

Those of you who can make it to the release party 4/21 may want to wait … the first 77 get a bonus cassette and poster that evening when you buy a copy from the author.  #merchandising

Thanks for supporting small presses and independent bookstores!

Mr Wonderful


no arc nor halo

no narrative defined

scars from past cuts

no longer pink

they reported he took

a lot less than usual

there is only one way

this can end—

next time you ask

I’ll say “Yes”

from 1977, forthcoming from Ravenna Press

As my artist friend David says: “The internet is magic.”


The catalyst: “Gimme Your Heart” 45 by the Subs (Stiff Records 1978).

How it happened: 1) I posted a newspaper clipping my Grandma C sent me in the waning days of first-wave punk. It told the story of a punk band that saved a couple trapped in their car during a snowstorm. (See story here.)

2) David added a comment linking to the song “Gimme Your Heart” by the Subs, the punk band mentioned in the newspaper clipping.

3) David’s friend Mike added a comment linking to Discogs with the Subs record (shown above) for sale.

4) I bought the 45 (made in Scotland) off the internet that evening. It arrived about a week later.

The result: The internet is indeed magic!