Sometimes I like history, sometimes I don’t. It all depends on whether it is interesting or not. I’ve never really enjoyed History at school, since I never liked the teacher. If only he could have made it more interesting. Enter Kate Beaton!
Kate Beaton is a webcomic artist, known for her webcomic “Hark! A Vagrant“, which is mostly about history, but put in a fantastically funny way. It’s not really updated as often as I would like it to, but I love it nonetheless!
I knew a book of the webcomic has been published, but never bought it online, since international shipping to South Africa is usually very expensive and that our currency situation is not really looking too favourable. Then I went to Paris (which I will talk about at some pint, but not now) and found the book in a bookstore called Shakespeare and Company (*angels singing*) and bought it on the spot.
Simply put, I LOVE the book! It’s extremely funny and I just love Beaton’s quirky style of humour. her drawing style is just the best thing since bacon! I am fascinated by it and has led me to make many of the comics my BBM profile picture.
The best thing about the comics though, are that they have actually made me more interested in history. Just from the comics, I know a lot more about things like The French Revolution, American History and of many literary figures. I think I am more interested by the literary figures, such as the Brontës, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare and Austen, because I am studying English Literature and therefore it falls into my field.
What’s especially great for the people who want to know more about the context of the comics, is that most of the comics are included with footnotes that either explain a little bit about the comic or extra information or just some humorous remark.
The only pain is trying to explain the jokes. Not an awful lot of South African people know an awful lot about foreign history. Mostly older people and history majors. So when I try explaining the jokes I get frustrated, because most people don’t know what I’m talking about.
Rating this book is a rather difficult task, since rating this in a traditional way would mean having to compare it to novels. This is kinda unfair since “Hark! A Vagrant” is more of a coffee table book than a novel, which is why I am not going to give it a score, but rather just a bottom line:
If you like history, buy it. If you like silly pictures, buy it. If you have money, buy it!!!
But if you’re poor, then you can just check the webcomic out!!! 😀