Daily Archives: May 17, 2008

Keith Knight Brings Autobio to the Dailies

Knight Life May 10, 2008
Click to see the full scale image.

I’m no comics historian, but I believe Knight Life, the new daily strip by fellow Cartoonist With Attitude Keith Knight may be the first appearance of an autobiographical comic strip syndicated on a daily basis. Sure, other strips and panels derive from the personal lives of their creators – For Better or For Worse, Dennis the Menace, and Family Circus being prime examples – but I think Knight’s may be the first to actually inject the creator directly into the strip, featuring stories and gags based on the creator’s experiences, personality, whims and whatnot. If anyone was to break that barrier, it would be – and should be – Keith.

Knight Life May 6, 2008
Click to see the full scale image.

Like the K Chronicles, Keith’s popular weekly strip, his daily strip is irreverent, self-parodying, silly, yet quite smart and always very funny. When I first heard Keith was creating a daily strip, I had wondered if he would carry over my favorite of the K Chronicles’ running gags, jokes about sheep buggery. So far, nothing yet; and I have doubts about their ever making the dailies. That’s okay, because so far, Knight Life succeeds in bringing in the other elements that have made the K Chronicles a classic among weekly alternative comics – especially the sensibility informing the occasional “Life’s Little Victories” theme. And as a bonus, it diversifies the white middle class suburbia of the funny papers by depicting the urban lives of a bi-racial couple (Keith and his wife Kerstin) seeking happiness through creativity and risk.

Another bonus – Keith’s work in color:

Knight Life May 11, 2008
Click to see full scale image.

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Will Elder is Dead

I just learned the news from The Daily Cartoonist that Will Elder has died. Alan Gardner links to a great tribute by MAD cartoonist Tom Richmond. Tom links to Mark Evanier, as well as some great stories about Elder at Journalista!.

For those who don’t know, Elder was among the original stable of MAD Magazine cartoonists and a frequent collaborator with Mad founder Harvey Kurtzman. As a kid of the 1970s, I grew up reading MAD, absorbing stylistic tics from Mort Drucker, Sergio Aragones, Al Jaffee, George Woodbridge and, of course, Don Martin. Then one day, I picked up one of MAD’s anniversary issues that had a bonus reprint of one of the original incarnations of the magazine from the 1950s – the Kurtzman era. It was like a whole other world, a completely different take on a magazine I had known so well. It was wilder, more anarchic, more irreverent, and screamingly funnier. I loved this MAD. I wanted more of this MAD. At the time, I didn’t know where to look, so I re-read that one issue, trying to suck in through my eyeballs all the drawing lessons I could absorb from both Elder and Wally Wood. To this day, as I draw I consciously and sometimes unconsciously ape elements of the detailed, gorgeously rendered yet highly energetic style Elder pioneered.

Keith Knight Brings Autobio to the Dailies

Knight Life May 10, 2008
Click to see the full scale image.

I’m no comics historian, but I believe Knight Life, the new daily strip by fellow Cartoonist With Attitude Keith Knight may be the first appearance of an autobiographical comic strip syndicated on a daily basis. Sure, other strips and panels derive from the personal lives of their creators – For Better or For Worse, Dennis the Menace, and Family Circus being prime examples – but I think Knight’s may be the first to actually inject the creator directly into the strip, featuring stories and gags based on the creator’s experiences, personality, whims and whatnot. If anyone was to break that barrier, it would be – and should be – Keith.

Knight Life May 6, 2008
Click to see the full scale image.

Like the K Chronicles, Keith’s popular weekly strip, his daily strip is irreverent, self-parodying, silly, yet quite smart and always very funny. When I first heard Keith was creating a daily strip, I had wondered if he would carry over my favorite of the K Chronicles’ running gags, jokes about sheep buggery. So far, nothing yet; and I have doubts about their ever making the dailies. That’s okay, because so far, Knight Life succeeds in bringing in the other elements that have made the K Chronicles a classic among weekly alternative comics – especially the sensibility informing the occasional “Life’s Little Victories” theme. And as a bonus, it diversifies the white middle class suburbia of the funny papers by depicting the urban lives of a bi-racial couple (Keith and his wife Kerstin) seeking happiness through creativity and risk.

Another bonus – Keith’s work in color:
Knight Life May 11, 2008
Click to see full scale image.