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Hark! A Vagrant

(Hark! A Vagrant #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  23,688 ratings  ·  1,588 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, 168 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Drawn and Quarterly
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  23,688 ratings  ·  1,588 reviews

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Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, library-books, comix
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 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 scor
Deborah Markus
Dec 21, 2012 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.
Sep 28, 2011 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
Seth T.
Jan 12, 2012 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
Suad Shamma
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
This is a collection of comic strips like the Sunday funnies. The subject is all people from history and jokes dealing with everything from the revolution to the Bronte sisters. Kate has a sharp wit and they are funny. I gave this three stars because I missed a storyline throughout. It was amusing bits. The jokes are at times sexual, juvenile and high brow. She makes fun of death and class and race and just about everything. I don't know that this is for everyone - if you don't appreciate histor ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I get it, it's just not for me. Watch me briefly discuss this book in this video: ...more
Hark! A Vagrant is a delightful and quirky webcomic (which has sadly discontinued). It delightfully pokes fun at such wide ranging topics as classic literature, Canadian History, super heroes, and random underappreciated historical figures (especially badass women) among many, many other topics. They are typically short, delightful, and offer a... unique take on the subject matter. While the art isn't the highest quality, its rough and whimsical style really lends itself well to the comic's tone ...more
4.5 stars — Took my sweet time with this collection of cartoons based on history and literature and featuring well known historical figures and characters from great classic novels and plays. Clever humour and lots of inside jokes so it’s best to come to this with some reading of the classics under your belt. Love fellow Canadian Kate Beaton’s spontaneous sketchy drawing style which is vibrant and shows a wonderful range of facial expressions. It’s taken me so long to get to this book, I wanted ...more
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 (
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.
Julie Ehlers
Oct 31, 2015 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
Sep 20, 2015 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

Sep 03, 2011 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 are ...more
Oct 01, 2011 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
Kaethe Douglas
Hark! A Vagrant Dec 01, 2011
I've read a few of Beaton's comics before and been mildly amused. But last night I had the pleasure of reading her collection and actually cackling out loud. Who knew that what the world desperately needed was for someone to bring a modern view to history, classic literature, classic music, etc. through the gently mocking form of comics? Well, Beaton knew.My favorite sequence would have to be the journey of Lewis and Clark, but the ones starring the Bronte sisters wer
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!"
Jun 03, 2011 added it
Shelves: comics

Edited: Everything I had hoped for
Sam Quixote
Nov 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Hark! A Vagrant is a collection of comic strips that poke fun at a wide range of historical events and classic literature. Since I am not an expert in (or a huge fan of) either, most of the jokes went straight over my head, especially the ones about Canadian history. Unfortunately, I didn't care enough to look things up because even the jokes that I did get weren't that funny to me.

Of course, there were a few exceptions that made me smile a little:

I also suspect that I would have enjoyed these c
Dec 25, 2014 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.

Dec 31, 2014 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. ...more
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
kate beaton is clearly very funny, i just wish i had the historical background to understand most of her comics--because when they didnt go over my head, i actually really loved them.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So goddamn funny and such an ego stroke. Just reading it and understanding the historical references makes me feel like i rule all peasant folk. its a funny feeling.
Feb 08, 2013 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
Feb 20, 2014 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.
Jan 25, 2015 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
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.
Sep 29, 2011 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.
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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.

Other books in the series

Hark! A Vagrant (3 books)
  • Never Learn Anything From History
  • Step Aside, Pops (Hark! A Vagrant, #2)

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