KNIGHT RIDER #1
Writer: Geoffrey Thorne
Illustrations: Jason Johnson
Coloring: Milen Parvanov & Sai
Lettering: Deron Bennett
Editor: Shannon Eric Denton
It’s only taken 30 years, but Knight Rider fans can now follow the adventures of Michael Knight in comic form! The 1980’s saw a weekly run in the UK’s Look-In Magazine, and these stories were later collected in a 6-issue series for the Spanish market. Five annuals containing comic strips were also published in the UK while the show was on the air; surprisingly for a show popular with the young, that has been the extent of Knight Rider’s foray in the comic world.
That all changed earlier this year when Lion Forge Comics teamed with NBC Universal, licensing Knight Rider along with other ’80’s properties (Airwolf, Miami Vice) for a series of digital comic books. Here at the Knight Rider Archives we have followed the progress of this ambitious project from the St. Louis-based publisher, and now the time has come: all systems are go. Knight Rider is back.
We open with a series of panels that mimic the opening titles of the original series: the iconic desert shot, the flashing scanner, the dash lit up like a Christmas tree, Michael behind the wheel. This is safe territory, we’re back in TV land — but not for long.
There is an early panel with Michael’s face swathed in bandages, but this is not the origin story as we remember it. Michael is on assignment to protect Dr. Beachum, who designed many of the car’s systems for F.L.A.G., but things don’t go as planned. Or do they? From here, the story quickly hits the accelerator.
The art and coloring is superb. Much has been made of the actors’ likenesses, but in comic form — especially rebooted comic form — it really doesn’t make too much difference. Michael is heroic and recognisable. The car, while not a Trans Am, does have all of K.I.T.T.’s trademarks: the almost-smiling red scanner, the futuristic interior, the black finish, the burning rubber. The digital format allows for some fun effects, such as the dash lighting up as the car starts.
Geoffrey Thorne writes interesting characters. His Michael Knight retains certain characteristics that David Hasselhoff brought to the role, yet also feels different. I’m looking forward to seeing what else he brings to these characters (new and old), and their dynamics in this revamped universe.
There is the temptation to want everything from this first edition, which reads like a prologue. We haven’t met the wider cast just yet; Devon appears on the cover art (see above), but not in this chapter — and Michael hasn’t met him in person at this point. K.I.T.T. hasn’t had a chance to express a personality just yet. I want to know more about Dr. Beachum. All will be revealed as the story continues…
It’s going to be interesting to see where this story goes as other recognisable elements of Knight Rider are reintroduced in this new, modern-day setting. Thorne’s first issue is clearly a small chapter in a larger story, and I’m sure it will read well in a collected edition at the end of the current run.
This is going to be a fun ride.
Knight Rider #1 is available for $2.99 per issue now via the Comics Plus App and will be available shortly through the Amazon Kindle Bookstore, Google Books and other e-book stores.