It may very well be that you do not find the following topics inherently humorous, having failed some important final exam at school on these subjects, or at the very least, suffered through some airless Masterpiece Theatre adaptation: Queen Victoria and her Prince Consort, Albert; Napoleon and Josephine; the novels of the Jane Austen and the Bronte Sisters; Romantic poets; Ben Franklin and Madame de Pompadour; Canadians (well, okay, that’s an easy target). Clearly, then, you lack the singular wit and imagination of Kate Beaton, creator of Hark! A Vagrant. But the tragedy is: So do we all, dear readers. Compared with the divine Ms. Beaton, we are all bores at the grand tea party of life. Follow the jump for sexy W.B. Yeats, sexy celibate Nikola Tesla, and Prince Albert’s sexy trousers.
With the great good sense of a librarian armed with the Dewey Decimal system, Beaton has quite sensibly arranged the archives of Hark! A Vagrant by topic. So, if for example, like myself, you have always cherished some sweet, demented affection for Nikola Tesla, delirious bliss is a but a click away.
Also it might just be that I find the word “bloomers” insanely hilarious (ha!)
Hark! A Vagrant appeals directly to such highly specific and deeply cherished passions. Literary and historical topics abound–but they’re not treated as History and Literature, bleached-dry academic subjects. Still, Beaton has a way of getting right at the truth of her subject faster, and a good deal less painfully, than a heavily bibiliographed, triple decker biography. For all its irreverence, this is the work of someone for whom, say, Yeats’ tragic love for the beautiful and heartless Maud Gonne is not a dead fact of history but a living story, or at least, living pop culture:
Once in a great while, you have the great fortune of coming across a book or a movie or a song, or in this case, a webcomic, that seems to have been created just for you. Webcomics are especially well-suited for serving these niche audiences. Beaton need not persuade an editor or a producer that, yes, indeed, there are people out there who are eager for absurdist, smutty comics about Queen Victoria who are not actually themselves long-dead Victorians. In fact, I myself did not realize just how incomplete my life was without such a thing until I saw this:
Still, an M.A. in British Literature, or a working knowledge of the history of the British monarchy, is not always necessary to appreciate La Beaton. For example, there are always the Canadians:
And, on the other hand, I’m pretty sure her Napoleon comics are totally universal.