Lucky for me, I have a wonderful lady, who probably noticed me cradling this book in my arms at a bookstore, and decided to buy it for me as a Holiday time nifty gifty.
What you get here are 166 pages of hilarious Hark! A Vagrant comic strips. Pretty awesome.
If you are unfamiliar with Beaton's work, you should head over to the website and check it out. It will make your day better.
For the most part, Beaton focuses on history, and historical figures to make up most of her subject matter, but also mixes in a healthy dose of literary characters, and some comic characters for good measure. Whatever she happens to be focusing her attention on, it usually has hilarious outcomes.
Not only are almost all of her comics hilarious (I can't say they are all funny; I don't get the ones about Canadian political leaders!) but her art is quite great too. It seems like she can draw whatever her comic demands, and let me tell you, her strips can call for a very wide variety of people, animals, and locations. Not only that, but she nails the period styles of dress and fashion quite well too.
More than anything, the greatest aspect of Hark! A Vagrant is the humor. As a kid I would read the comic strip section of the newspaper every morning as I ate breakfast. Some of those strips like Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, and The Far Side had a lot to do with shaping my tastes in humor and entertained me on a daily basis. Over the years I've gotten out of the habit of reading the comic strips, (probably because those aforementioned titles don't exist anymore) but with Hark! A Vagrant Kate Beaton has recaptured a large amount of the magic of those earlier comics.
This stuff is definitely worth checking out, whether you do it electronically, or in print is entirely up to you, but one way or the other, you're sure to get a chuckle.