Keith Knight's 'Dances With Sheep' and a lot of other things
Oct 2, 1999
Pros: Diverse diversity, uniquely 'clean' for rather subversive humour, intelligent and very, very funny
Cons: Some strips seem weak when placed next to the rest
Keith Knight's Harvey-Pekar-introduced 'Dances With Sheep' is, for once, an 'alternative comix' book that actually suffers from too little buzz; Knight doesn't pigeonhole himself as a Gen X spokesperson like some of his contemporaries, or similarly limit himself. So few people seem very excited over his 'The K Chronicles' strip. This is a sorry mistake.
Web junky types can read the weekly strip at www.salon.com, while also buying a copy ($11.95 CHEAP! as 'Mad' would say) of the 'Dances With Sheep' collection. Target audiences include:
* disinterested members of bands * urban types with dodgy income levels and strange roommates * people in San Francisco * people who have a twin * young black men * Californians * drug users * educated people * people in or from Boston * gays * parents * Americans who visit Europe * users of public transportation * &c
There isn't much 'narrowcasting' here, which is a relief -- I like everything from early 'Peanuts' to 'Dykes to Watch Out For,' but a diversified strip is a great relief. The drawing is similarly refreshing; it seems talented but unpretentious -- characters are 'cartoony' but somehow recognizable, true-to-life renditions. Since I don't _quite_ fit well in any of the above categories, my finding this book smart and riotously funny is a sort of triumph, like when urbane hipsters confess a fondness for 'For Better or For Worse.' Knight is neither bitter (qv Ted Rall) nor schmaltzy (qv most 'mainstream' strips).
I don't know if my favourite strip is the one dealing with the 1996 church burnings (Kirkus Reviews would call it "poignant" or similar), or the one about the author's fear of water (just because he at least enjoys farting in it). _This_ sort of topic-ranging makes it impossible to summarize, which is why this review seems a tad scattered. Somehow the whole thing works even in book format, though.
Pekar is quoted as saying "You need to buy this book!" You do. (Manic Press, available via Amazon et al.)
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K. Mennie (kmennie)
Oct 27, 2010
Nov 23, 2010 02:45 PM UTC
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