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Showing 1-10 of 87 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 124 reviews
on September 30, 2011
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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on October 7, 2011
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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VINE VOICEon January 28, 2012
I've been pointing at Kate Beaton's awesome comics -- usually about historical/literary topics, often with unexpected contemporary topical references, always with a smart, feminist sense of humor -- for a few years now, but I don't think I've actually written about her at length. (If you've completely missed her work, it's no shame -- but just go google for her name and this title, and you'll find her website, where you can read dozens of her awesome webcomics. Then you can come back and buy this book, which you'll want to own.)

This is the second book of her work, after the self-published Never Learn Anything From History last year, but it's much larger (168pp vs 68pp), contains a bunch of notes on the comics from Beaton, and is vastly more widely available, so HARK! A VAGRANT is definitely the book-length Kate Beaton object of choice.

(If you're confused about the title of the book; it's also the title of her website, and derives from one of her early comics. That still doesn't make a lot of sense -- it's not obviously something to raise up as the centerpiece of a webcomic -- but randomness and serendipity is always important in both humor and comics.)

You should read Kate Beaton comics -- and buy this book -- because she's smart and witty and deeply knowledgeable about a lot of random literary/historical stuff, and she's wonderful at combining those three things in unexpected and entertaining ways. And because her loose, expressive drawings are nearly as much fun as her jokes. And because she's one-third of the brain trust behind Strong Female Characters. And because, if this book is a success, we should see her do more with her other kinds of comics -- the slice-of-life strips with her family, the bizarre MS Paint strips, the sullen Mystery Solving Teens, and especially the rare, sweet strips about talking to her younger self.
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on November 9, 2011
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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on March 6, 2015
Much of this is rather amusing, though some of it missed the mark for me.

Have to be honest, I did want more Napoleon. Ah well.
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on October 28, 2011
Kate Beaton's comics are so wonderful that they should probably be illegal. You will fall in love with her drawings--especially the finely nuanced facial expressions. Beaton's characters range from the ridiculous to hilarious interpretations of historical characters and events. Pretty much everything about this book is completely awesome. If you put it on your coffee table, you will probably live a happier life and have more friends (or at least cooler ones with more a sophisticated sense of humor). You will have precisely zero regrets about buying this book. I have not been paid or unduly influenced to write this review... I genuinely love Kate Beaton's work this much.
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on June 11, 2017
Bought this as a gift. Great condition! He loved it!
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on January 6, 2016
Kate Beaton makes it look easy. She has you laughing at the tenacity and foibles of history's most charismatic, sometimes overlooked characters. Her timing is great, her punchlines punchy, and most importantly, she cares deeply for every subject matter she tackles. She has the skills of a great cartoonist, and the heart of the best history teacher you never had.
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on February 22, 2014
I laughed so much reading these comics! They are extremely hilarious portrayals of history, science and literature. I had so much fun and couldn't stop smiling. The comics are cheeky, and so witty (plus - unforgettable characters!). Plus the art is well drawn in a simple, clean manner. My favourites are the ones of Nemesis, Sexy Tudors, Jules Verne writing a fan letter (with a drawing!) to Edgar Ellan Poe and Macbeth. This book is beautiful.
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on October 4, 2011
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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