Sunday, December 18, 2011

From the NHG Bookshelf: 'Hark! A Vagrant"

Sunday, December 18, 2011
Susan reporting:

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, above leftby 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.


nightsmusic said...

I LOVE Hark, a Vagrant! Fun, sassy and dead on. And I'm not surprised you both love it too.

looloolooweez said...

Kate Beaton's stuff is amazing. her brand of comedy makes me feel smarter while at the same time making me laugh.

Pauline said...

Absolutely love Kate's comics. Her attitude toward my country - and our history - isn't always to my taste but hey, what's a Southern girl to do?

mary jane cryan said...

love your blog posts...keep it up..a bright star in the firmament of blogging mediocrity...

gio said...

I love her work too! It's smart, accurate and so funny!

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