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Hark! : a vagrant
Beaton, Kate
Adult Nonfiction PN6734.H37 B43 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Recent comics sensation Beaton probably, definitely, knows more about history and literature than the average reader, and this collection of her webcomic-mostly collections of three-panel gag-shows it. But while her comics are pungent with the aroma of authentic knowledge, they wear it lightly, with a jittery humor that's surprisingly effective given the lashings of irony that Beaton layers on top. While she's perfectly content to base her cartoon strips around lesser-known figures (criminal "masterminds" Burke and Hare, anyone?), most of her cartoons put people like the Bronte sisters or Jules Verne out there and wryly undercut them with mock pulp headlines and dishy asides. While the focus in Beaton's rip-quick and squiggly drawings is getting a good joke out of, say, the death of French general Montcalm or playing to the world's ignorance of even the most basic facets of Canadian history and culture, she also drops in some sharp literary criticism. If she had pushed her faux naif outrageousness any further, Beaton might have ventured too far into Sarah Vowellesque flipness. But this is that rarest combination of literate irony and devastatingly funny humor-when was the last time you read a comic strip collection that not only has but needs an index? (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

The dumbing-down of American education may be overestimated, based on the extravagant praise lavished upon this web-comic: you need more than a passing howdy with history and literature to get most of the jokes. Suffragettes dish about men like Sex in the City vixens. Tesla, Edison, and Marconi steal one another's inventions. Annabel Lee returns to Poe, but she's such a bummer. Jane, Mr. Rochester, and Bertha act out the love triangle from hell. Three Dr. Watsons vie for Holmes's attention. Friday gets his licks in against Robinson Crusoe. Watson and Crick snoop into Rosalind Franklin's research report. An especially funny set of strips proposes loopy plots based on a book's cover. Beaton's success certainly proves you can do something novel with a humanities degree. While she has self-published previous collections, all of these strips are new. VERDICT Beaton's loose and engaging black-and-white satires peer into the past through a modern lens, requiring knowledge of her source materials coupled with an appreciation for crackpot lunacy. A real find for class assignments and culture-watchers, high school and up. With occasional F-bombs and sexual references.-M.C. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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