Monday, October 3, 2011


Ever since Achewood went on hiatus (a hiatus which looks more permanent every week) I'd been jonesing for a comic that had Achewood's sense of manic unpredictability and uproarious hilarity, and finally, by dint of getting many links recommended to me, I found Kate Beaton's strip Hark! A Vagrant and have been a big fan ever since, and now that Drawn & Quarterly has done a collected edition of her work, now is as good a time to say that it's an awesome book and it is well worth your time.

Hark! A Vagrant has a very anarchic sense of humour. As it has no real continuity to speak of, every installment is an adventure, including but not limited to scenes from the movie Top Gun done by people in powered wigs; Utterly lackadasical teenagers charged with solving mysteries who just can't fucking be bothered; Wonder Woman getting back to her roots; Nancy Drew, the OG mystery-solving teen; and the side-splitting hilarity that is Sexy Batman.

That's impressive enough, but along with these random spurts of insanity, Beaton also drops plenty of historical figures into her works and does an amazing job of making them all accessible by virtue of making them just as deranged as everyone else. Witness Jules Verne's fan letter to Edgar Allan Poe; F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald being all passive-aggressive with one another; The Bronte sisters revealing just where they get their ideas; and Miyamoto Musashi explaining duel etiquette.

History nerdiness combined with my love of silly comedy. It's the nerd equivalent of Shredded Mini-Wheats for me.

You may have noticed that this is less a review and just me posting a lot of links and not so subtly pushing you towards going to read them. Generally, because this book kind of defies review or classification. Beaton is an amazing artist and has a phenomenal sense of humour and a unique ability to think around corners and come out with an absolutely daft punchline you or eye would never have twigged to on our own.

It's just a good book and incredibly funny y'all. This is totally well worth your time.

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