Archive for Pops

Heart Beaton


Step Aside, Pops

Well, now, I’m going to assume that you’re all aware of the awesomeness of Kate Beaton, partly because I’ve recommended her before, and partly because you all seem like sensible people, and I’d hate to think y’all were unaware of awesome things.

Anyway, if you loved the first “Hark! A Vagrant!” collection, it’s a stone solid guarantee you’ll enjoy this new one. If you’ve had the misfortune of not being introduced to Beaton and her cartoons yet, she’s a Canadian webcomic artist who makes fantastic cartoons about literary and historical figures. She’s got a great absurdist sense of humor, and while her characters often behave more like modern-day people, she’s also prone to occasionally dropping a historical truth bomb that makes these comics periodically educational while still being hilarious.

So her new book features Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt, Julius Caesar, Lois Lane, Spider-Man, the Strong Female Characters, Captain Bligh, Nancy Drew, Tiny Hermione, Wuthering Heights, Napoleon, Edward Gorey, Wonder Woman, the Velocipedestrienne, The Secret Garden, the Straw Feminists, Cinderella, Janet Jackson, Black Canary, Halloween postcards, Ida B. Wells, Tom Longboat, the Founding Fathers, Katherine Sui Fun Cheung, and many more.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is an extremely fun and funny book — which, again, shouldn’t be surprising if you’re familiar with Beaton’s cartoons. Her historical cartoons alternate between more familiar figures like Napoleon and Caesar and more obscure people, like Ida Wells and Katherine Sui Fun Cheung — so it’s great to be introduced to amazing and inspiring historical figures who you may have never heard of.

My favorite cartoons tend to be the ones where Beaton picks an old book cover or post card and uses that as the basis for a comic — often an incredibly bizarre and hilarious comic. Nancy Drew covers tend to morph into studies on Nancy’s weird delusions. An old Halloween card of a sexy witch in a pumpkin turns into a joke about how damn hard it is to get inside a pumpkin. And an old book cover of an old woman feeding pigeons gives us wonderful insights on how much pigeons love bread crumbs.

It’s a wonderful book, people, and it deserves a spot in your bookcase next to all the rest of Beaton’s comics. Go pick it up.

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