As you've probably gathered by now, Loretta and I are bona fide nerdy history girls, fortunate enough to be able to incorporate the swell history facts we discover in the fiction we write. I'd like to introduce you to another of our NHG sisterhood: cartoonist extraordinaire Kate Beaton.
If you've somehow managed to miss Kate's phenomenally popular on-line cartoon strip, Hark! A Vagrant, then this compilation, aboveleft, by the same name of is going to be a revelation. With a jittery line and an irreverent wit, Kate goes to the heart of history and literature (as well as the occasional foray into the popular-culture territory of Nancy Drew, Beyonce, and Wonder Woman) with hilarious results. If you still have room on your wish-list for Santa, then this book should be on it.
Kate's cartoons skewer not only big names like Napoleon and Shakespeare, but lesser-known historical folk like Maximilian I of Mexico and murderous grave-robbers Burke and Hare. Armed with a degree in history (she also studied anthropology, but as she herself notes, anthropology doesn't seem to turn up in her art), she gets the details right, and her cartoons are both funny and smart.
We're not alone in loving Kate Beaton, either. Hark! A Vagrant was recently named one of Time Magazine's top ten fiction books for 2011. When was the last time a cartoon book was honored like that?
The cartoons reproduced here are copyright Kate Beaton. No need for a FTC disclosure statement here; I'm such A Fan that I bought this book myself.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.