Lockdowner: The Covid-19 Lockdown Comic Strip is a collection by Gary Knight. These strips document life in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic. The collection reflects upon important developments that the country experienced during the lockdown, and the many challenges that arose in everyday life. This includes things like social distancing guidelines, to working online. Armed with a healthy dose of gallows humor, Knight successfully gives an honest account of the experience. Still, he acknowledges the extreme anxiety of the situation.
The first installation of the comic-strip begins on March 24, 2020. This is the day the UK goes into lockdown. The ones that follow after continue for the next 110 days until most businesses reopen. The character, presumably Knight himself, begins his lockdown experience with a hint of optimism; he realizes he won’t be spending his time at work listening to “crap music playing out loud all day”. The tone quickly changes as the days turn into a monotonous routine. He faces problems like extreme boredom and the overwhelming pandemic statistics. In between it all, Knight takes the time to comment on political developments; things such as the 5G Mast Burnings, and President Trump’s stance on face masks.
The pandemic is a traumatic experience for the collective. However, the comic is based in the UK. So, a lot of the panels are specific to the UK experience. For example, on March 28 he learns that the Prime Minister of the UK has the virus. He reacts by dressing up in what appears to be a spacecraft suit. Nevertheless, a lot of the day-to-day experiences apply to a wide variety of communities; things like the general anxiety of grocery shopping, and of course, social distancing. The comic perfectly captures the sense of instability and hopelessness in the face of the virus. It manifests itself as gallows humor. At one point, the character also displays this anxious humor in his absurd suggestions; he talks of calling in a drone strike when people are standing only 1.75m apart.
The artwork is clean and simple, which is impressive since it conveys so many different emotions when paired with the dialogue. A blank stare can be stress, frustration, or boredom. The black and white color scheme contributes to the repetitive nature of lockdown. Interestingly, the four-cell construct of the comic creates the allusion to online conferences. The portrayal of Knight’s hair is a particularly enjoyable detail to include; as the comic strips progress, his hair gets longer and longer with hair salons remaining closed.
Lockdowner is very engaging due to its sympathetic character. He goes through common pandemic struggles, as well as important political musings. The humor can even be considered brave; it persists even through the most frustrating of situations. Knight’s collection even ends on an optimistic note when most businesses reopen in the UK. Overall, Knight’s lockdown misadventures is extremely relatable, and such a gratifying read.
If you are interested, Lockdowner: The Covid-19 Lockdown Comic Strip is available to purchase on Amazon. Let us know what you find most relatable about Knight’s experience! Don’t forget to sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!