- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; First Edition edition (September 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1770460608
- ISBN-13: 978-1770460607
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 126 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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
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.
Top customer reviews
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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.
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.
I sincerely hope many people buy Kate Beaton's book in support of her comic.
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.