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Hark! A Vagrant Hardcover – September 27, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; First Edition edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770460608
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770460607
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Kate Beaton:

"[Beaton’s comics] are witty reinventions of literary and historical figures navigating modern times . . . A high-minded version of The Far Side that is at once of-the-moment and timeless." —DEBORAH VANKIN, Los Angeles Times

"Simply put, this is the most well-drawn, funniest comic that I’ve read in a while." —ADRIENNE SO, Wired

"[Beaton’s] neat linework and terrific grasp of simple caricature and facial expression sells a lot of the best strips, including Sasaki Kojiro meeting an undignified end, Jane Austen and Nikola Tesla being pestered by their fans, and Lord Byron muttering "Bitches, man" to a grieving Percy Bysshe Shelley. A-" —The Onion, The A.V. Club

About the Author

KATE BEATON grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology at Mount Allison University. She presently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Pretty much everything about this book is completely awesome.
Kate Ross
I've loved Kate Beaton's webcomic stuff for a while, and it was really exciting to see Hark!
dirtdog
If you don't have any intelligent friends, read this book and you will get some.
Lumpy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Soronia on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a laugh-out-loud collection of comic strips about characters and events from famous (and not-so-famous) events in history and literature. No, this is not ordinarily a combination you would think could produce side-splitting laughs, but Kate Beaton isn't your ordinary comic artist. Her caricatures are amusing all on their own (a refreshing change from the usual flat images in political cartoons), but where she really shines is in her writing. Some of the subjects may be obscure, but the writing is colloquial and witty.

Armed with her talents, Beaton offers some truly keen insights into past and present culture. Her light touch ensure that nothing comes off as pedantic; I often found myself laughing for several minutes before wondering why no one had used some of her arguments in academic work. She is also masterful in her ability to take lesser-known historical or literary events and make them funny without requiring any lengthy, unfunny explanations. The comics stand entirely on their own, but if you know the historical context, they're that much better.

Lest anyone feel deceived, many (but not all) of these strips are also available on the author's website of the same name. However, this book is well worth the price of supporting a brilliantly incisive comic and being able to take her sassy characters with you wherever you go. Or, you could just leave this book on your coffee table. Your guests will thank you for the history lessons when they finish laughing.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By datura2002 VINE VOICE on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Hark! A Vagrant is my favorite webcomic, and it deserves a much wider audience than it has. Now a selection of the best strips (with commentary!) have been collected in this handsome volume.

Kate Beaton's comics are hilarious and erudite, and her drawing style is fluid and expressive. There are comics about Jane Austen, Watson and Holmes, Richard III, Tesla, etc. This is a great comic for lovers of history and literature, or who also just love her sense of humor.

Favorites of mine:
"Dude-Watching With the Brontes," p. 7, "The Famous Fitzgeralds," p. 150, "Joe Kennedy trains the President," p. 31, and any of the comics that feature Fat Pony.

For long-time fans, there is new material, and the aforementioned commentary. Besides, it's just nice to have it as a lovely hardcover book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Fathas on September 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hark! A Vagrant is by far one of my favorite webcomic series. It is engrossing and very entertaining, the characters always seem to reflect who you'd expect them to be except they don't take themselves too seriously. Another plus is you don't even need to know the historical figures, in fact I enjoy it more when I don't! Much like XKCD, a strip from Hark! A Vagrant frequently sends me to wikipedia to read the full bio of historical figures. I feel I've learned more about history from this webcomic than my 7+ years of history classes in school.

I sincerely hope many people buy Kate Beaton's book in support of her comic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brian Walker on October 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
And "Hark! A Vagrant" is truly one of the treasures of the modern world. It wanders all over literature and history, occasionally visits Beaton's hilariously-remembered childhood or goofy present day family, and manages at every turn to jumpstart your gigglator. Her child-like (but actually subtle and sophisticated) caricatures and goofy rapper's oaths uttered by Victorians in velvet breeches are a bottomless joy.

In a proper society bankers would live in apartment blocks and people like Kate Beaton would be carried about in extravagant litters by studly men. (It sounds like a Hark! A Vagrant strip.) In the meantime, the least you can do is buy a copy of her wonderful book, and then remember to give a bunch of them at Christmas. Your friends will thank you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By c on November 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great. Not only is it an exhaustive collection of a very funny webcomic, but the book itself is high quality and well printed.

One of my favorite things about Hark! A Vagrant is the thinking and personal growth that it stimulates. Though most of the jokes are enjoyable without knowing details of the historical topic, they have on many occasions encouraged me to do a bit of research to get the full story.

The author's humor writing style is superb as well, as she smoothly slips from straitlaced to crass and back, all to great comic effect.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Onlyasandwich on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kate Beaton is not a one-trick history joke pony; she's not afraid to dive into Superheroes, Nancy Drew, and silly stereotypes. Even her worst comics put most capable comic artists to shame by comparison, and this collection includes many of her best. Beaton's characters are masterfully expressive; her fluid style tells the story while her dialogue punches the joke with perfect efficiency and eloquence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Fulton on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not as knowledgeable about history as some of Kate Beaton's readers, but I know a great deal about the literature she references. I must say, she hits all the most ridiculous points -- from Charlotte and Emily Bronte's love of screwed-up men, to the absurdities of King Lear, to the war between Watson, Stupid Watson, and Gay Watson.

To be sure, Beaton's comics have often led me to look up historical figures about which I knew little or nothing, particularly those whose race or gender cut them out of the traditional narrative. For instance, I wouldn't have known about Rosalind Franklin's work on the structure of DNA, or Matthew Henson's contribution to the first (white) expedition to the North Pole, without Beaton -- not to mention several stories which only came to my attention upon reading other Beaton comics which do not appear in this book.

In short: while most of these comics are available for free on the interwebs, I think it's totally worthwhile to send Kate Beaton some cash moneys for her work in disseminating history and literature to the masses.
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