This month D&Q brings the latest gem of John Porcellino, the creator of the seminal underground King-Cat Comics. It's an epic narrative of sickness and suffering told in typical Porcellinian fashion. The Hospital Suite is comprised of three autobiographical comic novellas chronicling Porcellino's bout with physical and mental illness, the dissolution of his marriage and his journey to health.
Beginning with a diagnosis of hyperacusis - a super painful hypersensitive hearing condition - John is faced with mysteriously and drastically worsening health. With the discovery of a tumour, he faces emergency surgery. In the aftermath of the operation physical trauma and anxiety materialize as obsessive compulsive disorder which steadily begins to take over his life.
There is a lucid clarity in his depictions of solitude, a stillness that infuses many panels with peacefulness and beauty despite his suffering, and a characteristic dose of comedy.
In The Hospital Suite, Porcellino is able to reflect with humour and hindsight on an ordeal which started in his college days and lasted for numerous ensuing years. A cathartically introspective journey, this slice of life-with-OCD is subtly optimistic and quietly uplifting.