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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars


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on 13 November 2012
Checking her website as regularly as I do I thought it was a shame she hadn't sneaked one or two new cartoons in but it's still a delight to own a hard copy of some of her work and know that you're helping to support her art.
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on 9 January 2012
I will confess, I'm a big history wonk. I love wit and humor about history, but I'm hardnosed enough to want it to be accurate.

Which is why I love Kate Beaton's collection of wickedly intelligent cartoons. She flows through history, and some literature, bemusedly underscoring its absurdity. From the joyous calisthenics of Matthew Henson, a black man who was the first to reach the North Pole (Robert E. Peary had badly frostbitten feet, and in her hilarious cartoon is never even unpacked from the sled) to looking at a grubby Robinson Crusoe from a fastidious Friday's perspective to the bitterly funny wish of Dracula's ladies to be able to vote and own property, she flits from one fascinating perspective on history to another.

And she gets her facts and visuals right! The Brontë sisters dress as they would have. Obscure bits of Canadian history are lovingly sent up. Novelists and scientists and mythic figures comment subversively on the current day and their own times.

Beaton's sense of humor is nonstandard. Her comics have a quiet, but biting cadence. As a history and literature fan, I find them really, really funny.
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on 12 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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on 8 June 2012
WhileI have little or no time for reading outside of my history course at the moment, I did treat myself to Hark! a Vagrantby Kate Beaton. I've been a fan of her website for quite a while now. It it's a fantastically fresh set of comics that mainly focuses on poking fun on countless areas of history, literature and general topics (such as what it is to be Canadian and feminism and even Batman). All are sharp, witty, sometimes silly and oddly educational, especially when you read Beaton's commentaries at the bottom.

The book takes all that was good about the website, bringing you many of your favourite comics alongside some new ones, and I must say that they translate wonderfully into book form. Beaton's commentaries are preserved neatly at the bottom and are just as witty and interesting as the comics themselves.

The drawings are charming and bring a light-hearted feel that mixes perfectly with the jokes. You're sure to fall in love with history again, even if you're not familiar with some of the time periods or topics. You'll soon want to find out more about the cast of characters.

In short, a lovely book, presented perfectly in keeping with the feel of what makes the website wonderful. You'll be proud to pop it on your coffee table.
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on 13 November 2013
I've always been a huge fan of Kate Beaton's comics and couldn't resist buying this little gem. If you're familiar with history, superheroes, Sherlock Holmes and literature, then this will be a perfect addition to your bookshelf. If not, buy it anyway! Beaton will forever be a heroine of mine and after making your way through a few pages of Hark! A Vagrant, I'm sure she'll be one of yours too.
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on 23 January 2012
This book is hilarious. Great, witty, Historical humour that will appeal to anyone!

If you are in to History of any sort, this will be a great addition to your collection. It helps though to know the links between the characters, such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Luckily, Kate has annoted notes explaining the links at the bottom of each page, which really helps.
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on 9 January 2012
Hey it turns out there's such a thing as Canadian history! Wow! Who cares? No one! Other than that the comic is fantastic! It's a great read, very entertaining and in some (weird) ways educational. You should visit the site and if you like what's there you're going to love it. Well worth it's price!
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on 5 January 2013
Made a great Christmas gift for a history/literature geek.
Kate Beaton's witty humor with her adorable illustrations make this a good gift for someone who appreciates a different outlook on times gone by. Think Horrible Histories but with a more adult spice.
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on 22 November 2015
A dryly amusing look on history, novels, feminism and a bit of modern celeb. culture, with a few stand-out strips. You'll never look at Dracula the same way again!
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on 13 April 2015
A funny, witty exploration of history and inspirational at times. A Frieda Kahlo image is featured on wikipedia because of it. Boyfriend loved it.
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