Great Stuff: Hark! A Vagrant

April 12, 2012 · Print This Article

This week we are trying something new. Truth be told, we were planning on trying something new at the beginning of January but due to various mishaps we are two months late. The snappy-est title we could come up with “Great Stuff.” What that really is a subtitle for is “Great Stuff that was found in our offices regardless of how it got there.” So we begin “Great Stuff” with Kate Beaton’s “Hark! A Vagrant.”

Last fall Beaton’s new comic anthology “Hark! A Vagrant” was published by Drawn and Quarterly, and is truly delightful. it arrived our offices and quietly sat in a pile of things that needed to be read for several months, never really hinting at the ridiculous good times to be had within but one quiet afternoon I picked it up and could not put it down. Beaton’s a veteran cartoonist whose work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, the National Post and the New Yorker. Beaton is a kind of spiritual kin to Bad at Sports. Her work draws heavily on her degree in history and her broad knowledge of literature, and then couples those intellectual impulses with an absurd sense of humor which would make Monty Python proud and had me laughing out loud over and  neglecting phone calls. In fact, I’ve come back to it and reread it twice since my first reading. If you are a fan of art, literature, Canada, history, and being an intellectual well making fun of intellectuals this shit will tear you up.

The high points for me include jokes about the “Great Gatsby,” the Brontë sisters, St. Francis, and Canadian stereotypes. the back covers cartoon is a special treat for those of us who’ve devoted our lives to things that are often difficult to empathize with.

You can find more delight with Kate Beaton here.

And Drawn and Quarterly here.

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