The K Chronicles: I Left My Arse in San Francisco
The newest K Chronicles compendium, as artist Keith Knight labels his strip collections, is now available. It’s completely self-published and only available through his website, but that means it comes signed and numbered.
The first strip in the book gives an indication that this is a new, more mature Knight, as he announces that he’s turning 40 and suffering from pneumonia. There are a couple of guest strips (from Nina Paley and Steve Notley) before he’s off to visit his in-laws in Germany.
The same subjects are here — travel, daily life, family concerns, making comics — but they’re approached from a more adult point of view. He’s less into partying and mischief-making and more concerned with married life and mentoring the next generation. I like it. I think his early books are hilarious, but in a more anthropological way. “Look at those wacky bits of urban living!” This one is still funny, but in a way I could better relate to.
There are also more editorial-style political strips. I find them depressing, solely due to the subject matter, which is inarguable but overwhelming. (I’ve gotten to the point where I hate to be reminded of the stupid criminals we’ve had running the country since 2000.) At least the “Life’s Little Victories” strips provide an optimistic counter. And the strips near the end, about moving to LA, indicate another life change (as well as providing the title).
Most indicative of the mature Knight is the sequence about his wife’s cancer scare. It’s something most adults will face in their lives, and it’s reassuring to see it expressed here. But just when things get heavy, he switches to his love of various elements of pop culture. It’s a great balance, especially with the undertone of making fun of people who think “things were better when” — Knight’s message is that memories are great, but enjoy the present day.