07 November 2011

Hark! A Vagrant (Kate Beaton)

The temptation is just to go KATE BEATON HAS A BOOK YOU GUYS EEEE and be done with it . . . but maybe I should try to explain why that’s so exciting? OK: Hark! A Vagrant is a collection of (mostly) comics from Beaton’s website of the same name—with value-added new stuff, of course. Even the repeats, though, are thrilling on the page—on paper! With a hardcover! And an ISBN!

Beaton’s brilliant comics—drawn in lines I can only describe as “loping,” simple and expressive—hit this sweet spot of nerdy literary and historical references with pop culture and absurdity that, to me, is some of the funniest writing happening: dude watchin’ with the Brontes (“Anne, why are you writing books about how alcoholic losers ruin people’s lives? Don’t you see that romanticizing douchey behavior is the proper literary convention in this family!”), the depressing lot of the pre-modern lady scientist (“Is it a scientific breakthrough in feelings?”), fifteenth-century peasant romance (“I’ve like, never ever brushed my teeth”). Oh yeah, and the WWII hipster battalion, and the crankiest Wonder Woman around, and the wise-ass slacker Mystery Solving Teens. And everything I know about Canadian history. All this stuff you can see for free: takes on Macbeth and Jane Eyre and Crime and Punishment are twenty bucks away. But really, the chance to enable a hilarious, smart-as-a-whip lady artist to live off her creativity? Effing priceless.

[P.S. Here endeth my Internetless backlog of posts: ten days in a row! We now return to twice-a-week-ish.]

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