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Keith Knight launches “Knight Life”

Knight Life Comic by Keith Knight

United Media is launching a few feature by Keith Knight entitled The Knight Life on May 5th. The political and satirical feature is described as tackling “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.”

“Keith Knight became one of the most successful alternative weekly cartoonists in America by drawing honest stories in an honest style everyone can enjoy,” says Ted Rall, Acquisitions Editor for United Media. “The Knight Life moves his amusing take on the autobio genre to the next logical level-a daily strip that hearkens back to the days when the comics were funny, but updated for 21st century weirdness. Lively, smart, relevant, personal and witty, The Knight Life is an essential addition to any comics page in need of more laughs.”

Keith has twice been awarded a Glyph Award (2006, 2007) and the 2007 Harvey Award for Best Comic Strip (for “The K Chronicles”). He creates “(Th)ink,” a weekly comic panel, and is a frequent contributor to Mad Magazine and ESPN The Magazine.

Community Comments

#1 josh shalek
April/8/2008
@ 10:21 am

I enjoy Keith’s comics, and am looking forward to more of this.

Has anybody else noticed how generic the descriptions of new comics have been lately?

â??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.â?

If they want people to be interested in new comics, they need to promote them interestingly. If I read that blurb on the back of a book, I would never open that book. If that was pitched as a movie, it would never have sold.

Cartoonists are asked to create vibrant, funny, well-defined characters and situations. The syndicates should work just as hard to promote them.

#2 Kelly Ferguson
April/8/2008
@ 10:22 am

Congrats on the new feature Keith! I’ve always been a big fan of “The K Chronicles.” The new strip looks good; it’ll definitely be a daily read of mine when it launches.

#3 Charles Brubaker
April/8/2008
@ 2:52 pm

As a fan of just about anything Keith Knight draws, I hope this one will be a success. Time to write to my paper(s).

#4 Mike
April/8/2008
@ 5:15 pm

That’s great news! I love his stuff, and will track it down online as I’m betting the Wash Post won’t carry the strip. I bought his latest collection which is only available from his website and it’s great. Also Dark Horse Comics is collecting his earlier out of print K Chronicle books this summer.

#5 Robert Gidley
April/8/2008
@ 5:26 pm

Woohoo! This is great–a daily dose of Keith Knight! I just hope he has enough of a life left after drawing the strip to have something to write about.

#6 Robert 'higgy' Higdem
April/8/2008
@ 5:31 pm

Keith Knight is being picked up by United Media??!! WOW! This is great news for a great artist. The new outlets and (hopefully) all their readers will not be disappointed. I have enjoyed the fruits of Keith’s talent and labor for years. He not only captures the humor and irony in today’s life with his siple drawings, he does it by making you think. Being raised on B.C., Peanuts, Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes and the rest of the greats, I believe that Keith ranks right up there. Yup, his is one of the rare strips that is actually funny. Congratulations to United Media for their wise choice and congrats to Keith. You deserve it man! (Sorry, but I just can’t call him “Mr. Knight.”)

#7 Josh McDonald
April/8/2008
@ 5:48 pm

“Has anybody else noticed how generic the descriptions of new comics have been lately?”

I wonder if it’s because these descriptions are for selling the comic to newspaper editors, not to the general public? In which case, drab and generic might be a selling point…?

#8 tom beland
April/8/2008
@ 9:32 pm

Look, as a former newspaper person, who worked in the editorial department for nearly 11 years, I have something to say on this topic.

For too long now, the comics page has been this territory of fear for editors. This territory has been ladened with over-the-hill strips that have passed their prime ages ago. Most of the strips on that page were created by talented people who’ve passed on, with their works cranked out by faceless cartoonists who cannot hope to capture the voice of said strip. Or the strips end up in the limbo of reruns.

The reason for this is simple. Editors are too afraid of their phones ringing when a dated strip is removed from the page, giving room for something new and fresh. And it’s just not fair. The point of a newspaper is to challenge its readers with different points of views and getting everyone to see the world from a new and exciting perspective.

It’s the only section of the newspaper that is locked in a vacuum and it’s become an embarrassment. Especially when you watch them brag about their online achievements and how in with the times they are… while presenting a dinosaur of choices on the comics page. I’ve always told editors that if our readers wish to still read Peanuts, they have to look no further than the endless supply of reprints available in paperback form in any bookstore. Same with Garfield or Shoe or B.C.

But because the editors of today are too terrified to tell a reader that it’s time to move on and experience something new… it has become nearly impossible to get a new strip into print. And that’s a shame. Because they would still rather reprint a comic of a irish guy who gets drunk and beats his wife, rather than take it off the page and face the wrath of one reader.

There is a chance here for newspapers to expose their readers to something as unbelievably wonderful as Keith Knight. It’s not a great strip. It’s a classic. You do more than laugh… you actually learn something about the world we live in, in the process. And that’s such a rare thing in today’s world of newspapers. Even rarer in comics.

This is not about bringing diversity to the comics page. Because I’m as white as they come and yet I see myself in every story Keith tells. His words are my words and I sometimes swear that dude is me. So, get past this, already. I’m so tired of editors basing their decisions on whether or not there’s a strong enough demographic in their town for works like this. Quality is quality and that transcends race.

Here’s how much I love Keith’s work. I used to drive from Napa Valley to Mill Valley every Wednesday to read Keith’s work when it appeared in the Pacific Sun. That’s about thirty minutes of driving… just for a comic strip. That’s how great it is. I’ve never driven anywhere to read Family Circus.

And it’s also so great… that it inspired me to pursue a career in cartooning, one which I enjoy immensely to this day. And y’know what..? I know there are countless other readers out there who may be inspired by his work as well, some enough so to the same leap of faith that I did. And isn’t that a reason enough to print a comic strip? Isn’t the chance of inspiring a young artist to pick a pencil and draw a comic strip of their own what the comics page is all about?

It certainly is to me.

#9 Malc McGookin
April/9/2008
@ 12:38 am

Tom, PUH-LEEEEEAAASE!

I’ve never read so much hype over what is at best a capable strip. I like the loose style, but I’ve only seen one example of it, and I’m basing my views on the other stuff from the same creator.

As for the new Knight feature, Mr Knight has been around a while, is very well known in comic nerd circles, and has a very solid web presence. There’s nothing new, vibrant or exciting about this acquisition, just a lot of PR hooey.

Incidentally, I don’t believe editors sit quaking in fear of anything, I think they just can’t be bothered with the comics pages. This attitude is a boon to syndicates and lame-o features who have been the beneficiaries of editorial indolence for decades.

#10 Eric Burke
April/9/2008
@ 7:26 am

Because they would still rather reprint a comic of a irish guy who gets drunk and beats his wife, rather than take it off the page and face the wrath of one reader.

Are they bringing back Happy Hooligan? This strip sounds like a knee slapper!

What strip is it?? Seriously…when has a strip like this ever appeared in papers? Was it definately an irish character?

I need a name. Don’t just go Jose Canseco on us here with nameless allegations. Give us the strips name!

#11 Malc McGookin
April/9/2008
@ 8:50 am

I think he means Andy Capp, who isn’t Irish, he’s a character whose world is set in the North East of England.
Reg Smythe was from the town of Hartlepool, Teesside.

#12 steve s
April/9/2008
@ 9:57 am

Tom, Love your work. Thanks for your insight into this subject……

You said ” Editors are too afraid of their phones ringing when a dated strip is removed from the page, giving room for something new and fresh.”

That’s just bad!!!! That is YOUR JOB!! That Is what editors do for crying out loud. Too afraid to answer the phone? That’s like saying “I am a cook but I don’t like food.”

While granted, stability on the comics pages is important. You can’t just go changing your lineup on a whim, as readers do get used to their favorites. But nothing peeves me more than someone in a position to make tough decisions not being able to because they don’t like making tough decisions.

#13 josh shalek
April/9/2008
@ 10:09 am

Tom, thanks for your input. I appreciate hearing from someone on the other side of publishing.

I’ve been astounded at the reactions I get from newspaper editors when I bring in my strips to local papers. Their knee-jerk response is “well, we just had a comics poll, so we won’t be changing anything soon.” This, to me, is just passing the buck.

A second response I’ve gotten (this from alt weeklies) is, “we already have a staff cartoonist”, or, “we already run ___ comics.” So there’s a limit to how many comics you’ve run?

Keep in mind, this is before they’ve even looked at my samples.

I’m not sure where this fear, or whatever you want to call it, comes from. I’ve taken my share of angry phone calls in the jobs I’ve had, so have many of my friends. It stinks. But you move on. Besides, if you’re a newspaper editor, you’ve got interns! Let them take the heat. Just kidding.

Seriously, though, my original point was that we cartoonists are expected to be funny and NEW. I would expect nothing less from the rest of the chain of publishing.

#14 Larry Levine
April/9/2008
@ 10:27 am

Congrats, Keith!

#15 Mike Peterson
April/9/2008
@ 5:28 pm

One of the real problems facing not just cartoons but newspapers in general is a refusal to face the issues. Whistling by the graveyard may be comforting, but it’s hardly productive. As someone who has championed cartoons from within the newspaper industry for decades, I would suggest that maybe listening to what you’re being told might perhaps be a productive activity. You don’t have to like what you’re hearing, but if someone says the barn is on fire, well, maybe you should think about getting out the hose rather than screaming at him that fire is not nice and we don’t like fires. Frankly, I’m sick of dealing with newspaper people who refuse to face the facts and deal with the issues in front of them realistically, and I really don’t like seeing the same “la-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” denial among people who claim to like comics.

#16 David Reddick
April/9/2008
@ 7:40 pm

I am SO excited for Keith – his comics are awesome!! Yay, Keith!

#17 tom beland
April/9/2008
@ 9:52 pm

All I can say is, I’ve been in that room with editors. And yes, the strip is Andy Capp. I may have the nationality wrong, but to me, the dialogue came off as Irish. Sorry if that ruffled feathers, but it was frustrating to hear editors at two different newspapers question the number of black readers to justify running a strip created by a black cartoonist. It got old quick.

#18 Malc McGookin
April/9/2008
@ 10:25 pm

Tom, my opinion has never changed regarding the black cartoonists debate:
As an editor, if you have a preponderance of colored readers in your constituency, I can understand why you would carry a strip which features colored people, no matter how lame it is.

However, an editor with a racially balanced or reasonably diverse set of readers should never be persuaded to take on a strip purely because of the colour of its characters, no matter what’s already there in his/her funnies pages.

It’s got to be about quality, and the reason so few people of quality get into the cartoon strip game is the money.

Black people are not taller than other races, nor more inherently gifted at dribbling basketballs, so why are there so many black basketball players in the US?

It’s the money. Black kids see basketball as a way out and up.
If strip cartooning was a paying gig, more funny and talented black kids would be interested in taking it up, simple as that.

Strip cartooning is, generally speaking, not a paying gig. For new people it takes too long and it involves far too much hard work for little chance of reward. Even some top names have thrown in the towel recently, it just wasn’t worth their time, they could make more money doing other things.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the present system, with only three or four gatekeepers to the industry and 1970s wages, only benefits lazy editors and the major syndicates.

The system is the enemy of cartooning and cartoonists, black OR white.

#19 Allan Holtz
April/10/2008
@ 7:07 am

My question is whether Keith plans to continue his self-syndicated work, which I’m crazy for. I worry that mainstream papers will mostly ignore him (like it does Zippy, Diesel Sweeties, and most other slightly oddball and unique features) and that the new strip will go down the drain. Is he putting all his eggs in one basket, or will he (and we) have his weekly cartoons continue as a fallback position?

Sorry to be negative. Way to go Keith and I hope your new feature gets the recognition and success that you so richly deserve!

#20 Charles Brubaker
April/10/2008
@ 8:52 am

Allan,

Keith will continue “K Chron.” and “(th)ink” while doing this strip.

#21 Greg Hansen
April/12/2008
@ 9:17 am

I thought about this for awhile, because I don’t want to be dismissed as being melodramatic, but really there is no other way to say it. Being a fan of Keith Knight’s work, really makes you a better person! His passion for challenging his audiences perceptions about issues such as racism, politics, & Star Wars, etc., sometimes with humor, other times with emotion so strong, it seems like it’s going to pop out of the comic strip like the Incredible Hulk. Keith’s work is multi dynamic though, it isn’t just about any one issue it’s about life. I always tell anybody I can about his strip, and will definitely tell even more about the upcoming daily, when it launches.

I look forward to seeing the Daily becoming a daily part of more and more peoples lives, as it stretches out into more and more publications. It’s made my life better, and I am sure it will make each new fan’s life better too!

#22 Quint Nelson
April/12/2008
@ 8:55 pm

Keith, you’re a solid comics’ talent, despite the negative comments from Mr McGookin. I hope The Knight Life is a great success.

#23 Armour Thornen
April/12/2008
@ 10:32 pm

Being told that Keith Knight’s work will make me a better person reminds me of those trendy bracelets and magnetic ribbons designed to say, “I care a little more than you.”

I don’t need a magnet to say I care, and I certainly don’t need a comic strip to make me a “better person”.

#24 Malc McGookin
April/13/2008
@ 6:32 am

I find Keith’s little cheer squad of ridiculous suck-ups creepy. I mean scientologist creepy. Ugh.

#25 Armour Thornen
April/13/2008
@ 10:05 am

Why do these guys need rescue squads?

Other creepy suck-ups were first to the fire not so long ago with a thread in defense of “The Argyle Rip-off”.

#26 Malc McGookin
April/13/2008
@ 4:18 pm

Is Keith aware of these people and how they’re talking his work up? I don’t know the guy, maybe he’s embarrassed by them.

#27 Armour Thornen
April/14/2008
@ 4:31 am

I recently ran across this sucky comment at timesunion.com. Geez, these guys are hitting all the blogs:

‘Since weâ??re making suggestions, may I suggest â??The K Chroniclesâ? by Keith Knight? Heâ??s wayyyyyy funnier and just as â??introspectiveâ? as Non Sequitur. In fact, he just won some big award. Why not check him out?’

#28 Eric Burke
April/14/2008
@ 5:16 am

I saw the image of the Virgin Mary in Keith’s ink work.

#29 Wiley Miller
April/14/2008
@ 7:19 am

Ok… how did I get dragged into this?

#30 Rick Stromoski
April/14/2008
@ 7:43 am

“I donâ??t want to be dismissed as being melodramatic, but really there is no other way to say it. Being a fan of Keith Knightâ??s work, really makes you a better person!

If I was Keith and I heard you say this I would just b!tch slap you into next Tuesday. Get a freaking life man, it’s just a comic strip….

#31 Stacy Curtis
April/14/2008
@ 10:03 am

Being around Rick Stromoski makes you a better person!

#32 Garey Mckee
April/14/2008
@ 2:37 pm

“Okâ?¦ how did I get dragged into this?”

Wiley, didn’t you know? It’s all your fault.

#33 Wiley Miller
April/14/2008
@ 2:47 pm

Oh, yeah. I keep forgetting that.

#34 Greg Hansen
April/14/2008
@ 2:59 pm

Whoaa, let’s all just take a deep breath and relax folks. I never would have guessed some people would be so upset by my comments, I think what happened was, I upset their perception of what a comic can mean to someone. What’s ironic about that is, the criticism seems to be coming the loudest from other comic book artists. Keith presents topics such as racism, politics, who shot first, etc. ( topics that interest me) in a format that provokes thought, sometimes he does it with humor, other times with raw emotion. I appreciate his work, because it has made me aware of prejudices, bias’s, attitudes about other people I have, that I wasn’t aware of. An awareness that makes me want to change those characteristics. I think that awareness and aspiration to change makes me a better person.

I also appreciate his work, because it’s funny! sometimes I will think about one of his strips and laugh about it, years after I read it.

Thru being a fan of his work, I have found that a comic doesn’t have to be “just a comic”. It can be a forum for examining societies ills, where sometimes you can laugh about it, other times you might be taken aback, and seriously consider what does it mean to discriminate against somebody, or live in a society that discriminates against you.

I realize of course, that the above probably won’t budge these cynics from their position, that a comic can never be more than just a comic, but I am going to hold onto a little faith, and hope that they will reconsider.

If on the other hand, this has upset them even more, than please take your best shot. I am learning a lot about the world of comics, that I never would have been aware of otherwise.

#35 Mike Lester
April/14/2008
@ 3:25 pm

Are you sure you don’t have this guy confused w/ Barack Hussein Obama?

#36 Malc McGookin
April/14/2008
@ 7:45 pm

Greg, no-one is interested in taking their “best shot”, as no-one is interested in what you’re selling, just the way you’re selling it.

#37 Greg Hansen
April/15/2008
@ 9:54 am

Looks like somebody is still upset. I am going to hold out hope for him though, as I have a feeling he too will eventually become a fan, and hence a better person.

#38 Armour Thornen
April/15/2008
@ 12:28 pm

Let’s all pray for Malc (until there is no skin left on our knees), hoping that he will become a better person.

How many strips must Malc read before he’s transformed? One? Twenty-eight? One hundred and twenty-eight?

#39 Greg Hansen
April/15/2008
@ 2:19 pm

There’s no magic #, but the more of us that pray for him, the better his chances are. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s spotted soon, buying KK’s latest, and establishing a link to the kchronicles on his website.

#40 Malc McGookin
April/15/2008
@ 3:46 pm

Not buying, sorry. Take your samples and stick them back in your bag. I’ll have my butler show you the way out.

#41 Dave Strom
April/16/2008
@ 5:48 pm

Advice for newspaper comics page editors.

As a Keef fanboy, I did my duty and I put (with permission) a few fliers for one of his books into one of my favorite coffee shops. One of the servers there, a tattooed, kilt-wearing guy, later told me that he had looked up and liked Keef’s work. And then he said to me, “And he’s black!” Taken aback slightly, I said, “Uh, yeah.” Later, I realized that at first glance, it can be hard to tell the race of a black and white comic strip character.

So for all you newspaper editors who say that you already have a quote black unquote cartoonist on your newspaper’s comics page, don’t worry. Like Stephen Colbert, your readers won’t see color. Not right away. And later, Keef will be entrenched and it will be too late, BWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Hey, it happens.
http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur40476.cfm

P.S. I am Keef’s biggest Northern California fanboy! But then, I can stand to lose a few pounds.

P.P.S. Keef is the only guy I know who has commented on the craziness of orange-flavored dried cranberries.

#42 Al Mikal
June/9/2008
@ 10:36 am

Sorry, but the comic strip is not funny. Each one seems to be making a social comment on politics or race from the regressive point of view. Not what most are interested in comics for.

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