Hark! A Vagrant

Overview

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Hark! A Vagrant is an uproarious romp through history and literature seen through the sharp, contemporary lens of New Yorker cartoonist and comics sensation Kate Beaton. No era or tome emerges unscasthed as Beaton rightly skewers the Western world's revolutionaries, leaders, sycophants, and suffragists while equally honing ...

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Overview

FEATURED ON MORE THAN TWENTY BEST-OF LISTS, INCLUDING TIME, AMAZON, E! AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY!

 

Hark! A Vagrant is an uproarious romp through history and literature seen through the sharp, contemporary lens of New Yorker cartoonist and comics sensation Kate Beaton. No era or tome emerges unscasthed as Beaton rightly skewers the Western world's revolutionaries, leaders, sycophants, and suffragists while equally honing her wit on the hapless heroes, heroines, and villains of the best-loved fiction.

 

She deftly points out what really happened when Brahms fell asleep listening to Liszt, that the world's first hipsters were obviously the Incroyables and the Merveilleuses from eighteenth-century France, that Susan B. Anthony is, of course, a "Samantha," and that the polite banality of Canadian culture never gets old. Hark! A Vagrant features sexy Batman, the true stories behind classic Nancy Drew covers, and Queen Elizabeth doing the albatross. As the 500,000 unique monthly visitors to harkavagrant.com already know, no one turns the ironic absurdities of history and literature into comedic fodder as hilariously as Beaton.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Recent comics sensation Beaton probably, definitely, knows more about history and literature than the average reader, and this collection of her webcomic—mostly collections of three-panel gag—shows it. But while her comics are pungent with the aroma of authentic knowledge, they wear it lightly, with a jittery humor that’s surprisingly effective given the lashings of irony that Beaton layers on top. While she’s perfectly content to base her cartoon strips around lesser-known figures (criminal “masterminds” Burke and Hare, anyone?), most of her cartoons put people like the Brontë sisters or Jules Verne out there and wryly undercut them with mock pulp headlines and dishy asides. While the focus in Beaton’s rip-quick and squiggly drawings is getting a good joke out of, say, the death of French general Montcalm or playing to the world’s ignorance of even the most basic facets of Canadian history and culture, she also drops in some sharp literary criticism. If she had pushed her faux naïf outrageousness any further, Beaton might have ventured too far into Sarah Vowellesque flipness. But this is that rarest combination of literate irony and devastatingly funny humor—when was the last time you read a comic strip collection that not only has but needs an index? (Nov.)
From the Publisher
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

Library Journal
The dumbing-down of American education may be overestimated, based on the extravagant praise lavished upon this web-comic: you need more than a passing howdy with history and literature to get most of the jokes. Suffragettes dish about men like Sex in the City vixens. Tesla, Edison, and Marconi steal one another's inventions. Annabel Lee returns to Poe, but she's such a bummer. Jane, Mr. Rochester, and Bertha act out the love triangle from hell. Three Dr. Watsons vie for Holmes's attention. Friday gets his licks in against Robinson Crusoe. Watson and Crick snoop into Rosalind Franklin's research report. An especially funny set of strips proposes loopy plots based on a book's cover. Beaton's success certainly proves you can do something novel with a humanities degree. While she has self-published previous collections, all of these strips are new. VERDICT Beaton's loose and engaging black-and-white satires peer into the past through a modern lens, requiring knowledge of her source materials coupled with an appreciation for crackpot lunacy. A real find for class assignments and culture-watchers, high school and up. With occasional F-bombs and sexual references.—M.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770460607
  • Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
  • Publication date: 9/27/2011
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 254,423
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet 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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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    A VERY good buy

    Kate Beaton is hilarious - her online comics are always brilliant and her humor is delightful. You won't be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2011

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    Posted September 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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