Hark!, a great set of comic strips with a bit of the Bard

Daniel J. Rowe

Kate Beaton is made to Brawl.

Just read Hark! A Vagrant and Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection, and you’ll understand why immediately.

Funny, witty, and with a taste for the classics. Yep. Sounds like a brawler.

The idea of her comic strips, much like ‘Zounds! contributor Mya Gosling with her Good Tickle Brain, is to take history, literature and art and make them clever, fun and funny. She takes subject matter from mainstream and lesser known histories, as well as classic literature (and a bit of Batman).

Beaton is very funny and nerdy. It’s like she was meant to be a brawler. What she does is very clever.

  1. Take a historical or literature subject
  2. Draw them in a funny but not mocking manner
  3. Make sure to show to the nerds that you know what you’re talking about in the strip, but also make it easy to understand for those who are not a masters of the arts like someone I know
  4. Make it funny

Does she pull it off?

Yes she does.

There is not too much of the Bard in either book, but there is a rad one on MacBeth that I really liked.


There is so much funny in this that I’ll leave it to you readers to post them in the comments below. The books derive from her popular website that is well worth killing an hour or two at while at work.

I actually laughed out loud at times reading Beaton’s two books.

At the bottom of each series of strips, there’s a bit of her thoughts on say, Edgar Allen Poe, Sir John A. MacDonald, the Tudors or Kokoro (you may have to look that one up, but I’m really hoping you don’t. Such a great book).

Here’s her take on Macbeth:

They say the real Macbeth was a pretty decent fellow and a good ruler, and he’d probably have a bone to pick with Shakespeare over character assassination. He’d have to get in line behind Richard III though, whom I have heard (from certain Elizabethan sources) was an ugly hunchbacked troll.

Very clever.

She would fit in well at a brawl indeed. We’ll sit her between Nick and Brooke and just let it go from there.


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