Recap: John Porcellino launches The Hospital Suite

On September 17th, we hosted Drawn and Quarterly cartoonist John Porcellino for the launch of his latest graphic novel, The Hospital Suite, a stunning autobiographical collection detailing his struggles with (multiple) illnesses in the late '90s and early 00's.

First up, we were treated to a special, shortened-for-the-purpose-of-the-event screening of the new documentary by Dan Stafford (of Kilgore Books and Comics), Root Hog or Die, which tells the story of John's life and his twenty-five years of working on King-Cat Comics. The movie is really neat because you get to see the real-life places in John's drawings, and you get to hear a little about the instances surrounding the moments in them. See for yourself- we have copies of the DVD in store!

After the credits rolled, D+Q creative director Tom Devlin took the stage to introduce John, whom he has worked with and been friends with for twenty years. Tom shared a story about working in a comics shop in Boston and wanting to bring together a bunch of cartoonists. He convinced John to visit- on his honeymoon!- and prepared a big, noisy breakfast for him, not knowing how badly he was hurting John's ears. Not many people were aware of the magnitude of John's illnesses while he was suffering through them, making The Hospital Suite all the more remarkable.

Next, John read a selection from each of the three parts in The Hospital Suite, complete with slideshow visuals. I have to say, John's sound effects are the best I've ever heard, hands down. Watching his presentation while listening to his reading animated the story in a wonderful way.

While The Hospital Suite's subject matter can be difficult, John still managed to infuse moments of subtle beauty and yes, straight-up humour, into his recounting of suffering. His presentation reflected that, and I think this smile on Kira's face is proof!

After his presentation, John welcomed questions from the audience and stayed to talk and sign books.

The night was doubly special: it was both an evening celebrating a tremendous book that's been twenty years in the making, and John's birthday! While he was busy sharing stories with fans, Tracy and Julia readied two beautiful cakes (thank you, Cocoa Locale!)

And, despite his protests, John blew out his candles while the crowd sang. A big thank you to all who attended! And for those of you who couldn't make it out, we've still got a few signed copies of The Hospital Suite left in store. Come by and get one!

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