I was recently given the opportunity to review cartoonist Keith Knight's new book The Knight Life: Chivalry Ain't Dead (ARV $17.99), a 211-page library of Knight's weekly comic strip "The K Chronicles".
From the Hachette Book Group website:
The Knight Life is a hilariously twisted view of life through the eyes and pen of its creator, community-oriented urban hipster and award-winning cartoonist Keith Knight. The Knight LifeThe Knight Life
An unabashedly provocative political and social satire, The Knight Life tackles contemporary issues like consumer culture, bacon, the media, race, family and everything else, gently mocking the minutiae of daily life with self-deprecating humor, honesty and goofiness-a combination that's perfect for the comics. And The Knight Life's energetic style reminds readers that comics can look funny as well as read funny. The result is accessible yet edgy, compassionate and political-and never preachy. Cartoonist and comic historian R.C. Harvey said, "The Knight Life is undeniably the best new laugh- and thought-provoker on the comics page. Not since Calvin and Hobbes has there been so novel an entertainment in the funnies." deftly blends political insight and neurotic humor in a uniquely fluid and dynamic style, offering a comic strip that's fresh, sharp, topical and funny. Designed for daily newspapers, follows Knight's long-running, 2007 Harvey Award-winning weekly comic strip "The K Chronicles," which appears on salon.com.
In a nutshell, The Knight Life touches on political, racial, socioeconomic, and pop culture topics in a critical, honest and entertaining way while all the while maintaining a strange sense of sweetness and innocence to it. While most writers fail while working with this volatile combo, Knight possesses the ability to express these ideas with a striking ease. Partially, this is the result of Knight's very apparent skill in two areas in which many other writers fail:
(1) Knight manages to not be pretentious although he throws around references which most comic writers would likely avoid. References to Joy Division, Andy Warhol, Suicidal Tendencies, and trend hopping dwellers are passed off nonchalantly and without great amounts of attention. Readers who overlook these references won't feel like they are missing anything, nor will they even notice they have overlooked them in the first place.
(2) Knight is able to throw some well meaning self deprecation into the mix without making it seem forced or ironic. Think of it as the Conan O'Brien effect.
Another thing I found striking about the book is that sketching style is much more expressive than in most daily comics. I found myself chuckling several times at the pictures themselves without having even read any of the text. (Kind of weird side note: I really like the bags Knight draws under his own eyes in conjunction with his ever-worried expression...a look I'm sure we can all relate to.)
Overall, this comic is a great read for those in their late teens or early twenties and upward. The comic is slightly biting, slightly angsty but overall pretty cute. The comic manages to avoid the popular current blend of crudeness, vulgarity and humor and is instead a welcome mix of political and social commentary along with a good laugh.
Hachette Book Group was generous enough to offer TWO of my readers their very own copy of The Knight Life: Chivalry Ain't Dead by Keith Knight!
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Giveaway winners: TiffsPixieDust, Randominities
**I was sent a copy of The Knight Life for review purposes and allowed to post my thoughts at my discretion. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions expressed here are mine.**