cover image The Complete K Chronicles

The Complete K Chronicles

Keith Knight, . . Dark Horse, $24.95 (510pp) ISBN 978-1-59307-943-7

Like an urban Life in Hell, rapper/cartoonist Knight's ink-heavy strip is big on sight gags, inventive panel layouts and exaggerated gestures—and this omnibus volume shows a revealing arc in the strip's tone. The first part of the book, which begins in the early 1990s, sees Knight riffing on food, family, music and the life of a comic book artist in a scratchy, expressive style. As the strips progress and move into the 21st century, real-world events start to intrude, and the topic veers toward the political more often than not. Knight is at his best when he's in more lighthearted territory, and the second half of the book is more preachy than it ought to be. On the whole, though, it's time well spent with a very intelligent and percpetive writer, and also serves as an insightful historical document of the movement of the American zeitgeist over the past decade. (Aug.)