Hark! A Vagrant hardcover
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Kate Beaton
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Price: $19.99 US/CAN
I was a bit late in the game when it came to discovering and appreciating Kate Beaton’s cartooning, as I’m not one to spend a lot of time checking out webcomics. It’s not that I have a problem with them; it’s just that I haven’t the time to read all of the printed comics that cross my path. I can’t imagine where I’d find the time if I expanded my purview to a wide array of webcomics. Still, Beaton’s work is the kind of thing that demands one’s attention. She’s been posting her comic strips online since 2007, and in just four years, she’s really joined an exclusive club of rock-star-level cartoonists and comics creators. Her quick success is a testament to the cleverness of her writing, the accessibility of her work and the simple appeal of her emotive figures. At first glance, Beaton boasts a crude artistic style, but it’s deceptive. This collection of strips — most polished, but some quickly dashed off — demonstrates how she brings texture and nuances to her cartoony cast of historical and literary figures. Hark! A Vagrant covers a diverse array of topics but always with the same inimitable sense of humor. Beaton is a unique talent who merits the acclaim and quick rise in prominence that have come her way.