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Hark! A Vagrant (Hark! A Vagrant #2)

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  19,800 Ratings  ·  1,212 Reviews
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 unscathbed as Beaton rightly skewers the Western world's revolutionaries, leaders, sycophants, and suffragists while equally honing her wit on the hapless heroes, heroines, and villa ...more
Hardcover, 166 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published January 1st 2011)
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Comics & Graphic Novels by Women
6th out of 656 books — 749 voters
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Best of the Web
3rd out of 217 books — 271 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 20, 2012 j rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books, comix, 2011
This comic is totally awesome and nerdy and I have nothing but good things to not articulate about it. Instead, here is my favorite H,AV! of all time:

You can basically read this entire book at Kate's site for free, but this is a really nice physical object. It weighs like two pounds, because it is full of literary references.

Hee hee. Balls.
Jun 10, 2012 Melki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, comics
Finally, a book of intelligent comics for eggheads! I mean really, when was the last time you read a good cartoon about regicide?

Here be funnies about Macbeth, the Brontes, St. Francis, and Jane Austin.

Chortle pleasantly as Jules Verne writes a squealy, mushy "let's-be-friends" letter to Edgar Allan Poe.

Snort aloud at the 15th Century Peasant Romance Comics.

Convulse with merriment as John Adams, after not being invited to any Founding Father Parties, decides to "lighten up", and ultimately sco
Deborah Markus
Sep 05, 2015 Deborah Markus rated it really liked it
I spent half this cartoon collection laughing and the other half feeling like a complete idiot. Beaton is a history/lit heavyweight who can't stop riffing on her obsessions. Yes, plenty of her humor shot straight over my head; but I would adore her for the comic about all three Brontë sisters even if the rest of the book failed (which it way didn't).

I hope all my Canadian friends read this book and explain some of the Canadian history jokes to me.
Oct 24, 2011 Alana rated it it was amazing
If you have not yet been exposed to then I can only surmise that all the time you've spent on the internet to date has been wasted. Go rectify the situation immediately and while you're at it, go buy Kate Beaton's first book Hark! A Vagrant, a compilation of comics from the site with some book-exclusive comics tossed in to the mix.

I first came to know Kate Beaton's work after discovering her "Dude Watchin' with the Brontes" strip, where Emily and Charlotte ogle assholes and when
Jubilation Lee
Oh my God, guys, Kate Beaton. I don't know when, I don't know how, but some day she and I are going to be besties, getting drunk in a bar somewhere whilst laughing uproariously about Jules Verne and the Bronte sisters. It just has to happen.

But while I wait for that blissful day of happiness, I will console myself by pimping out this book, which you should own. It is magical in absolutely every way, and features all of my favorite characters, including Fat Pony, Equally Fat Napoleon, Dashing Wa
Seth T.
Jan 12, 2012 Seth T. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Hark A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton

It takes a steady hand to string together an intricately woven, deeply nuanced plot. The number of authors who can take a handful of seemingly contrived elements and produce an elegantly composed narrative admixture are few and rare. Plot-heavy literature, when it succeeds, is a wonder to behold; but in its failure, we find little to surprise us. So when I describe Kate Beaton's Hark A Vagrant! as paean to complex plot structures and hail it as deviously devised, I hope you'll pay attention. The
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
I never thought such a historically dense book could be so funny- I suppose the pictures helped. Honestly though, I laughed aloud a LOT whilst reading this, and I learned a lot, too. Rare combination, those two activities.

Review to come, with pictures and stuff!
Julie Ehlers
Nov 08, 2015 Julie Ehlers rated it really liked it
I came upon this in the bookstore last week and bought it on a whim. The only Kate Beaton comic I can remember reading online is the one about the Bronte sisters, so virtually all of this was new to me, and I found it hilarious. I laughed out loud many, many times. My favorites were the retellings of The Great Gatsby and Hamlet, and if Beaton wanted to do a whole book on the "Mystery-Solving Teens" I would buy it, because they made me laugh like a crazy person. I am definitely on the hook for he ...more
Pretty darn good. Quite a few off the comics made me laugh, and I liked the subtle humor I them. Really enjoyed the section on judging books by their covers. Good stuff.

Highly recommended if you enjoy smart humor in historical and literary contexts.
Oct 02, 2011 Punk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Comics. Beaton mixes history, butts, and pop culture like no one else. When she has Anne Bronte call someone a dickbag, you believe it, and whether she's drawing sexy Batman or Jules Verne, her characters are so expressive you can practically see them rolling their eyes.

This has all my favorites: Fat Pony, the Gorey covers (KIERKEGAARD), Canadian Stereotype Comics, Holmes and the Watsons. And it's not just the 6-8 panel pieces, or the 3 panel sets; it also has some of her quicker, 3 panel one-of
Oct 03, 2011 Ken-ichi rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Delightful content, but nothing new for fans of the eponymous web comic. A very beautiful physical object, of course, as one would expect from Drawn & Quarterly, considerably nicer than the previous self-published Never Learn Anything From History. Sadly the book is lacking the autobiographical doodles Beaton posts on Twitter, which, aside from being some of the funniest things she produces, are also some of the most heartfelt and touching. For me, many of her most amusing historical comics ...more
Oct 04, 2015 Melissa rated it it was amazing
I was in tears reading this because I was laughing so hard. It is practically perfect. Special mention for the section where she presents an Edward Corey cover & takes three panels to guess what the book is about. Also the weird farting pony thing - who has a kid's book of its own now! - and hilariously highlighted examples of historical sexism.

"To be or not to be, that is - Ophelia! This is my soliloquy! Get lost!"
"No! I'm in this scene too!

Everyone forgets!"
Aug 29, 2016 Lydia rated it it was amazing
Characters: Elizabeth Bennet, Nancy Drew, Napolean Bonaparte, Jules Verne, Jane Austen...

If the first line of the cast list doesn't intrigue and sell you, I don't know what will. I adore Kate Beaton and this review will struggle to be anything but a biased mess of adoration.

She's witty, she's silly and she tells history the way I wish it were taught. And by that I mean she includes women, first nations people and people of colour in her comics. She calls out Charlotte Bronte's Mr. Rochester and
I saw this on a few lists of 'best graphic novels', which is really strange since this is not a novel, it's a collection of short strips and drawings around the theme of history (?) - maybe it's less broad than that.

I thought a few of the jokes were really clever, some were funny. But overall this was an exhausting read and the content would be better served in daily/weekly doses as an online comic or newspaper feature. And to be fair to the author, that was the original use of these strips (
Jul 10, 2014 Yasmin added it

Edited: Everything I had hoped for
Dec 26, 2014 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

I received this book for Christmas today and read it in a few hours. Kate Beaton is a genius, it must be said. She manages to turn classic novels on their head and poke fun at history, whilst also including miscellaneous topics and characters in between.

I didn't rate it 5 stars only because I couldn't really follow the Canadian history themed strips as well as some of the others, but other than that it was superb.

Suad Shamma
Dec 21, 2015 Suad Shamma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2015
I seem to be in the minority here. It's not that I didn't enjoy reading this book, but I don't seem to have found it hysterically funny or even laugh-out-loud funny. At most it was mildly amusing, a chuckle here, a snort there.

It isn't that I didn't get the references, I am fairly familiar with all the characters referred to in the book, the literary references, the historical figures, and so on. I did enjoy the illustrations and the cleverness behind some of the twists in literary and historic
Reread this today and realized I never catalogued it on Goodreads, an unfathomable event for one as twitchy as I am about online organization.

What can I say, really, to encapsulate how I feel about Kate Beaton? Words fail me. Have some of my favorite moments from this book instead.

You feel it too, right? Yeah, you get it.
Feb 20, 2014 Rikke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, humor

I'm in the middle of a particularly nasty exam right now, and I don't have much time for reading. Mainly because I'm not allowed to read, I long to read. Just the thought of reading something for no other purpose than my own pleasure makes my heart ache with longing. I miss reading. I do not work properly without my books.

So, I chose to make a compromise. The compromise was to reward myself with a few of Beaton's historical/literary comic strips whenever I finished preparing a text for my exam.
Dec 31, 2014 Siria rated it really liked it
Ah, Kate Beaton. I always wish she did more medieval cartoons that I could use in the classroom. Or, alternatively, that I taught nineteenth-century lit just so that I could teach Jane Eyre using her Brontë cartoons. Knowing almost nothing about Canadian history, some of the cartoons fell a little flat for me, but there's a delicious eye for the historical absurd throughout.
Sep 20, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Went to the Brooklyn Book Festival today wearing my Kate Beaton shirt

got to the Drawn & Quarterly stall and stood around waiting for them to be impressed

they were never impressed

Kate Beaton wasn't even there

I bought this book anyway

Mar 26, 2013 Preeti rated it it was amazing
Awesome, awesome, awesome. I can't praise this enough. The idea of combining comics and history? Genius! And adding absurdity?? Be still, my heart.

I've come across Kate Beaton's comics before here and there, but never actually followed the site (which, yes, a huge mistake!). But I was checking out well-known web comics that my library had and thankfully, this was one of them.

These comics are absurd, hilarious, literally make you laugh out loud, AND make you want to find out more about subjects y
Dec 07, 2015 Kate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I have wasted plenty of time on Kate Beaton's website laughing. Had just as much fun reading the book, which I'm sad that it took me so long to get to it. Canadian history can be fun and I love making fun (and loving) our national stereotypes as much as my fellow Canadians. One of the best lines of her her explanatory blurbs is the statement that Canadians are their most patriotic at three points: when they are out of the country, when Olympic hockey is on, and when it is Canada Day. Truth.

Of co
Dec 02, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, history
Very funny, very Canadian strip comics about historical and literary figures and events. My favorite parts were the section in which the plots of Nancy Drew novels were extrapolated from the covers, and the section in which she extrapolates the plots of classic books based on the Edward Gorey covers. She also has a particularly deft hand when gently skewering the nature of Canadian patriotism and heroism.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Nov 19, 2015 Audra (Unabridged Chick) rated it it was amazing
I love Kate Beaton.
Jul 07, 2016 Caidyn rated it it was amazing
This book was just made for me. Now enjoy some of my favorites.

Tudor history


The Epic Pirate Love Story Saga

Watson Conspiracy

Stoker's Women Issues

Another Woman Related Thing

LesMis Fandom

Nailing My Issues With Crime and Punishment

The Beautiful Little Fool


Random Humor

Okay, so this review won't all be pictures. But, seriously, this was really funny. Some of the jokes went over my head, but a lot of them I got. They're very history and literature based, which is just smart humor
David Stewart
Feb 08, 2012 David Stewart rated it it was amazing
Kate Beaton has a new fan, for what it's worth. I read through Hark! a Vagrant in about an hour, and not once during the entire span of the book did I stop laughing for more than ten seconds. And I don't mean a chuckle here or a hiccup there, I mean full on, maniacal cackling the likes of which is only usually found watching an episode of Community or Flight of the Conchords. That's how funny the comic strips of Kate Beaton are. I have sore abs today because...well because I'm out of shape, and ...more
Emily Burns
Jun 17, 2016 Emily Burns rated it it was amazing
Just completely delightful, as I expected.
Apr 02, 2016 Olivia rated it really liked it
I had heard of Beaton thanks to "aww yiss," but that was the extent of my experience. I saw this at the library and wanted to give it a shot. It goes by quickly thanks to the one or two strips per page format.

I was and still am totally stunned how simple yet expressive her style is. This girl can do amazing stuff with lines. The comics are witty and intelligent. I didn't LOL often, but the strips based on random book covers gave me quite a chuckle. These would be fun to work into a history or l
Jul 19, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: want-to-own-it
What can I say? Perfect for moi.
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Hark! A Vagrant Review 1 17 Apr 29, 2013 06:13AM  
Webcomic Wonderland: Featured Webcomic: April - Hark! A Vagrant 5 13 Apr 20, 2013 08:31AM  
Webcomic Wonderland: Hark! a Vagrant 9 21 Aug 29, 2012 03:11PM  
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Kate Beaton was born in Nova Scotia, took a history degree in New Brunswick, paid it off in Alberta, worked in a museum in British Columbia, then came to Ontario for a while to draw pictures, then Halifax, and then New York, and then back to Toronto.
More about Kate Beaton...

Other Books in the Series

Hark! A Vagrant (3 books)
  • Never Learn Anything From History
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