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Hark! A Vagrant Hardcover – September 27, 2011
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“[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, The Los Angeles Times on Kate Beaton
“Simply put, this is the most well-drawn, funniest comic that I've read in a while.” ―ADRIENNE SO, Wired on Kate Beaton
“[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 on Kate Beaton
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
I sincerely hope many people buy Kate Beaton's book in support of her comic.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I expected this book to be a lot better than it was. I was sorely disappointed. I think this would make an amazing comic, but as a book I think it missed the mark for me. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ShowThisBookSomeLove
Obviously you're not going to learn history from reading little comics...you are, however, going to find seeds of things to look up, and learn history AFTER reading these comics. Read morePublished 3 months ago by G. Freeman
Hilarious historical comics! But the book arrive with a large, annoying sticker, leaving residue that took quite a bit of work to remove.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
So funny! There's a lot in here that references Canadian history (bc Beaton is Canadian), but that's the only stuff I didn't get. Her drawings are so cute.Published 4 months ago by Po
Kate Beaton makes it look easy. She has you laughing at the tenacity and foibles of history's most charismatic, sometimes overlooked characters. Read morePublished 4 months ago by gumhands
Crazy book, crazy art style, funny stuff. My buddy will love it, I think.Published 5 months ago by Josh