Sam Quixote's Reviews > Hark! A Vagrant

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
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's review
Nov 12, 2011

it was amazing
Read in November, 2011

Hark! A Vagrant is an online comic of short strips written and drawn by Canadian artist Kate Beaton, centred mostly upon her interests in literature and history. Oh and they're incredibly funny! If, like me, you remember the "Horrible Histories" series by Terry Deary and loved the cartoons in the books, it's like that minus the text, and similar to Nicolas Gurewitch's "Perry Bible Fellowship" in terms of length of strip and humour.

Beaton riffs on staples of literature by inserting 21st century sensibilities and contemporary comedy styling to make fun of them. Like "Dracula" is about a slut-loving Count and the efforts of Van Helsing and co. to put down women's independence, or Poe is beset by fan letters from Jules Verne, or "Robinson Crusoe" is about Friday putting up with a retarded Englishman washing up on his island.

Jane Austen is depicted as irritated by the Austen mania of recent years including the monster mash-ups and requests to write slushy sequels to "Pride and Prejudice". The Bronte sisters, Dostoevsky, Fitzgerald, Hugo, Shakespeare, Hawthorne and countless other classic writers are made fun of as well as their works, and then there's loads of history stuff too, like the Tudors, US Presidents, Napoleon, and tons of other things too.

What I have to get across though is how damn funny these strips are. "Sexy Batman" is hilarious as are riffs on other superheroes from Wonder Woman to Wolverine, Nancy Drew is a brilliant character as Beaton re-writes her as this inquisitive girl who gets everything wrong and makes things worse. "The Facebook sirens" is great and "Hipster Battalion" is about a WW2 regiment and had me laughing like a madman on the train ("Sir, H-Battalion have only liberated the cafes!").

Anyway, do you like comics? Do you like literature and history? Do you like to laugh? Buy this book. For an idea of the kind of stuff you can expect, go to Beaton's website, google Hark a Vagrant and see for yourself.
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