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Too Small To Fail: A (Th)ink Anthology by Keith Knight

When I think of Keith Knight, I think of The K Chronicles, a multi-panel weekly look at culture and politics which ran forever in Salon before that website foolishly abandoned several series it had long featured.  But he's been creating the single panel comic (Th)ink for just about as long.  I reviewed (Th)ink way back in 2004 (although sadly all of the links to individual comics I embedded in that review no longer work).  (He's also the creator of The Knight Life which is syndicated in newspapers.)  He has a new collection of (Th)ink out called Too Small To Fail.

At the time I called (Th)ink "a better than average strip and it works when Knight really uses the single panel structure to nail an image or joke or just some bit of insightful commentary on an event. It doesn't work when Knight falls into the trap of simply representing some controversy or event without adding much original to it."  There's still a lot of truth to that.  It's worth disclosing my bias upfront here -- I'm not much of a fan of the editorial comics found on most newspaper opinion pages and I'm always dubious about the one-panel format until convinced otherwise.  (Th)ink is a single panel comic and gets a little too close to Tom Toles territory for me to love it, but Keith Knight's exuberant sense of humor and ability to distill his sharp point of view into a single image makes it an interesting, entertaining read.

Knight's website lists Too Small To Fail as 120 pages of comics from the "post-Bush" era with "biting editorial commentary on the economy, New Orleans, police brutality, corporate corruption, the first African American U.S. president, and much, much more!"  It is a wide ranging tour through Knight's opinions on public events throughout the last couple of years.  He does hit some obvious targets, politicians, war, the economy, but he also covers music, pop culture, and other news items that you may have missed.  Knight also focuses some of the series on important, but perhaps lesser-known African-American figures from history such as Bayard Rustin, Henrietta Lacks and Vonetta Flowers.  (Th)ink is a tour through the topics Knight thinks are important or interesting and there's a lot there to learn from and react to.

If you're a fan of Knight's work I think you would enjoy picking up Too Small To Fail which is nicely done paperback.  If you're not familiar with Knight's work, definitely check out (Th)ink for a fresh perspective on public events and pop culture and his other comics for more personal stories.  Also while you're at it be sure to check a GREAT interview with Keith that Tom Spurgeon just posted to his site that you should check out.

 

ComixTalk received a free copy of Too Small To Fail for review purposes.