WOKE Exclusive: Creator Keith Knight Discusses Comic Strip Inspirations As Hulu Orders A Second Season

WOKE <font color=red>Exclusive:</font> Creator Keith Knight Discusses Comic Strip Inspirations As Hulu Orders A Second Season

Hulu recently announced a second season for its comic adaptation television series Woke. We spoke with creator Keef Knight about what inspired his unique style as a comic book artist. Check it out below!

Woke has been in production for years now, and Hulu recently dropped the first season. Now, fans of the comic adaptation can officially rejoice as the series has finally been renewed for a second season.

For those unfamiliar with the premise, Woke is a semi-autobiographical story about the life of cartoonist and comic creator Keith "Keef" Knight (The K Chronicles). The show features animated characters voiced by comedians like J.B. Smoove (Spider-Man: Far From Home), Cedric the Entertainer (Madagascar), Jack McBrayer (Wreck-It Ralph, 30 Rock), and Keith David (Gargoyles, Community).

Lamorne Morris (New Girl, Game Night) leads the cast as Keef, with Blake Anderson (Workaholics), Sasheer Zamata (SNL), Rose McIver (iZombie), T. Murph, and numerous other hilarious comedians filling out the ranks. With the series being officially renewed for a second season, we picked Keef's brain about how his unique art style draws influence from Sunday Morning comic strips and more.

Hear our full conversation with comic creator and Woke inspiration Keith Knight using the podcast player below. Woke fans can also check out our last chat with Keef, and our exclusive interview with co-star Blake Anderson (Workaholics) included along with the transcript.

Keef Knight: Sunday morning comic strips are what inspired me. I was never a big comic book guy. I collected the old Star Wars comic books, and I have a few Archie digests that I used to buy at the beach all the time, and I have a few Spider-Man books and a few other things, but I was mostly a  newspaper cartoon fan.

I grew up in Boston; we subscribed to the Boston Globe, and then my great uncle just around the corner of the street, subscribed to the Boston Herald. And they both had great Comic sections, and they were different Comic sections because they competed. One paper would have all of the cartoons that the other paper didn't have. So I really loved spending Sunday looking at all of those, then I'd go up the street and looking at those strips by Charles Schultz, who was a big influence, as well as Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes.

Doonesbury was huge; I love the way how Doonesbury took stuff that was happening in real life and mixed it in with all of these fictional characters. That's what I do. I was also a big fan of Chuck Jones' Warner Bros. cartoons. I'm a fan of not just Chuck Jones, but Robert Wood, and a few of the other directors too. Chuck Jones was in what he does with the eyes. And it is really amazing.

I was also a big fan of Parliament-Funkadelic albums and the artwork on those. There is Pedro Bell, and I forgot the other guy's name, but Pedro Bell just died too. I think that's why I remembered his name so easily. But they both had just amazing artwork. It just like all the little cool things; that's why I love sticking like little Easter eggs and tiny things all through the comic strips. But also independent comics, like Morrie Turner, who did Wee Pals.

It was one of the early black syndicated cartoon strips. And on Sundays, he would have this thing called Soul Corner. And Soul Corner would always have a portrait of someone from black history and have some quotes from them or something like that. So that's where you see the influence with the portrait stuff. As a cartoonist, if you want to keep doing this for so long, you have to come up with all of these tropes. So Charles Schultz always had Lucy taking the football all the way from Charlie Brown or the Red Baron with Snoopy.

So with me to do this long term, I have life's little victories. I have the portraits of that. I do the autobiographical stuff. I do the satirical stuff. In the dailies, I had the police always stopping this one character in this strip.

This is just all of these different tropes that you have that you could return to. And especially when you're just like, "Oh man, I can think of anything right now. Oh, this is a great idea." So I always used to have a cop versus a fireman in my dailies too, and it would always be that everyone's rooting for the firemen because no one likes the cops and the cops are always cheaper.

They're always calling the firemen pole dancers. And that would always get the firemen in any town that my strip ran in, and they would say, "can we use your strip to put it on t-shirts? We were actually going to play them in a softball game." So that was cool.

*This interview has been edited for clarity.*


 
Ignorance was bliss. New comedy series, Woke, follows Keef, An African-American Cartoonist finally on the verge of mainstream success when an unexpected incident changes everything. Keef must now navigate the new voices and ideas that confront and challenge him, all without setting aflame everything he’s already built.

Woke Season 1 is currently streaming on Hulu.

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