Friday, February 22, 2013

Brooding Hunx

I was gonna have a "Fight Back Friday Post", but since it's Edward Gorey's birthday I had to deviate! Happy Edward Gorey's Birthday! This is somewhat topical.

Now what do the afore-mentioned Gorey, Napoleon, the Brontë sisters, hipsters, Charles Dickens and hungry hungry hippos have in common? If you don't know the answer, you need stop whatever it is that you're doing, go to your local library or bookstore and check out Kate Beaton's collection of comics Hark A Vagrant!

If for some reason this is not a possibility, like you're being mauled by lions right now and can't get away, check out her website by clicking on the link above.

The collection was the buzz of the book world a couple years ago, but I really knew I had to get my hands on it when Amber posted on it a while back. Because girl's got a wicked sense of humor.

And apparently, so does Beaton.

Beaton mixes history, literature and popular culture so wittily and hilariously, that I can't read this book in bed, because my laughing keeps C. awake.

It's hard to pick favorites, but this one makes me laugh the most. Because it's true.

Or this one.


C. says that he believes the reason why I like these comics so much is that in my Fantasy Alternative Universe, this is what people talk about; you know, how the Brontë sisters would totally be into broody dudes and how the words hipster, hip, hippie actually originate from the beat-era, because, um, they do.

So yes, C. you're right. Every once in a while I just really want someone to quote Macbeth. Just like casually in a conversation, or even in the form of a funny pun.

I won't bore you with my snarky renditions of conversations I have daily, but needless to say that since a lot of them take place in rather mundane settings, they often (but not always!) involve people not being able to even read a menu, how wearing magnets might effect your psyche, how to correctly spell the word psyche, kids and their flus and so forth...which is just fine, because if I wanted to have literary conversations, I should probably just go to grad school already. I'm bitching about nothing really. Still, it's nice to have Beaton to spar with.

Beaton see, is the perfect ambassador of the New Girl/Woman Culture, referencing both societal and emotional undercurrents of our moment through history and literature, all the while being extremely erudite, yet accessible. And cussing like a m**********r. See Lenah Dunham, Lauren Groff, Tavi Gevinson, Tina Fey, Karen Russell, Laura Barton, Kelly Reichardt...It is a pretty darn good time in history to be a woman and an artist. And a smart-ass.

Both Beaton's style and topics make me feel like I just want to go to Toronto and then stalk around the streets until I run into her (I know what she looks like from her comics. See below) and then have endless conversations and glasses of wine, but I imagine she's wielding off nerdy fan-girls left and right, so instead, here's some more comics. Feminism! The Scottish Play! Teenage Icarus! This book has it all.

And as you may know, it is my motto that if you do not have a self-depricating sense of humor, you might as well be dead. But that's just me.

All Hail Kate Beaton! Kate Beaton for president!
Questions? Comments? Comic suggestions? Macbeth Jokes?

ps. "Brooding Hunx" is the name of a magazine Charlotte Brontë is reading in a comic where she's giving advice to Jane Austen. I know, right?
pps. I forgot to mention on my American History Month post, that I'm completely addicted to the "Stuff You Missed In History Class"-podcast. Helps with Kate Beaton too.


  1. Oh my gawd, I LOVE HER. I've been reading Kate's stuff forever, and was smitten almost immediately. My two favorite comics by her are this one:


    This one:

  2. she had me until she said retarded. then she lost me. love the plantagent one.

  3. Whoaaa this post makes me so happy! My hippie-blogger hero lady praising my history-related comic artist idol! The universe really is perfect! Also, about 3 years ago Kate came to Expozine, and I went strictly to see her. I bought her first book, Never Learn Anything From History, and she signed it with a little Napoleon (because I was too shy to request anything!), and she was awesome as you would expect.
    I wanted to finish with a Macbeth joke here but, nope, I've got nothing. Anyway, fan-gush over :)

  4. Oh yay! She's from my hometown, and her book was released by an independent publisher right down the street from my house!
    Long live Kate Beaton! :)

  5. This definitely spurred on a few laughs for me, Milla...thank you for sharing! Hope all is going well. ~Emily

  6. Thanks Milla for the suggestion! This is exactly, exactly the kind of fun, smart read I need right now, and I've just checked - it's available at the library! Yoohoo!

    Your comments are great, too ;o)

  7. Looks really cool! As for other comics, I just ordered a Dame Darcy one . . .

  8. I love these! So great! So what I needed right now! :)