Notables 2010: John Porcellino’s Silent Birds

John Porcellino, Silent Birds. King Cat, no. 69, 2008.

John Porcellino stories are always minimal: minimally drawn, minimally told. His great gift is to make that spare approach deeply evocative. Silent Birds is among the most Zen of Porcellino stories: minimal even compared to his own ouvre. Two pages, four panels, twenty words. Beautiful.

I’m only running one panel here because the issue of King Cat is easily available and John hasn’t posted this anywhere. I encourage him to do so, however. I think this is a fantastic introduction to what his comics are about, and it also fits well in a curriculum on comics poetry.

Age: teen, for sophistication, not content. Could go younger, and be great as part of a unit on dreams or poetry in middle school.

What is this “Notable” thing all about? Matt and Jessica are the series editors for the Best American Comics, and are responsible for the Notable Comics list at the back of the book, which is comprised of virtually all the comics we sent to the guest editor that weren’t picked, as well as a number of others that we think are noteworthy for various reasons, but that we didn’t send to the guest editor.

We’ve always hoped readers will delve a bit into the list to find more great stories once they finish reading BAC. Realistically, though, we know that’s tough. What can you know about a story from a title and author? So this is one of a series of posts focusing on each of the Notables from the 2010 Best American Comics.

Have or know of a comic we should look at? Find submission info here.

The “age” suggestion is what we think might be the minimum age for reading and appreciating a work. All works on the list, though, should appeal to older audiences too. It’s a minimum suggestion only.



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