Friday, January 31, 2014

Reader's Diary #1089- Kate Beaton: Hark! A Vagrant

By way of an introduction, Kate Beaton talks a bit about her background. After a history degree and "working in museums for low pay," she decided to give it all up to be a cartoonist. The only experience she hints at prior to this was drawing comics for a student paper. This, combined with the simplistic cover, led me to believe that the artwork might be amateurish.

Not so. With India inks, occasional uses of hatching and cross-hatching, varied perspectives yet a consistent style, Beaton's clearly got the goods. They're still cartoons, don't get me wrong, but you certainly wouldn't guess this was someone without years of experience and training.

As for the writing, I found most of it hilarious. I'll admit that a few escaped me, but for the most part I giggled my way through (not good when I'm reading next to my trying-to-sleep wife). Many take their inspiration from history, which is cool enough, but as a lit-nerd I loved her take on the classics (and my daughter went into hysterics over an Anne of Green Gables gag). One very creative bit was to take book covers and extend the story from there, given only the details one can see on the front to work with. There's a Nancy Drew retirement zoo comic that really amused me, but it's best that I don't bother trying explain it here. Historical figures, literary characters (including comic book characters) are all ripe for skewering, but gently so— even with a few F-bombs and penises thrown in for good measure.

All around enjoyable entertainment. 


2 comments:

canadianbooksblog said...

Hi John,

I am 65/13.

I posted these in January. Hopefully I could use them for January. Please let me know.

Irene Roth

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That sounds utterly charming! I will look for it.