On the Beaton path to old school lulz
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
12:07PM, Fri. Sep. 30, 2011
A metallurgist, yeah!
That's an excellent metaphor ...
A metallurgist, that's what Hark! A Vagrant's Kate Beaton is:
She mines the well-known, more popular parts of world history
and uses an obscure smelting process known as car-too-ning
to transform ancient ore into nuggets of comedy gold.
Who knew that George Washington and Franz Liszt
and Marie Curie and JFK and the fictional creations
of the Brontes (and the Brontes themselves)
were such potential gems of hilarity?
(Well, okay, Brad Neely knew that about George Washington.
But we're not talking about Brad Neely, so piss off.)
Who knew that a person with a degree in History and Anthropology
from New Brunswick (Canada)'s Mount Allison University could be so damned funny?
Who knew that some History-degree'd and damned funny woman
would have such delightful cartooning skill with brush-pens and watercolors?
Well, the internets knew, of course –
because that's where Beaton came from, comics-wise: The internets!
Kind of like Chris Onstad – but not Chris Onstad.
Kind of like Scott Kurtz – but not Scott Kurtz.
Kind of like Kate Beaton – and that's precisely who's been published,
now, in a gorgeous hardcover collection of her funniest strips
about historical characters real and fictional, by Drawn & Quarterly.
(Drawn & Quarterly are also from Canada.
So this is likely all part of some cultural conspiracy.
Which would also explain why D & Q seems to be, all of a sudden,
releasing more good stuff by more good creators than it's possible for
a single reviewer to keep up with. They're being treacherous, is what it is.
They're attempting to inundate the world with so many volumes of
brilliant sequential art that it, the world, can't think about anything else ...
and then we'll be ... we'll be helpless against them!
"Mua ha-ha," stated Drawn & Quarterly, reached for a brief interview
via Skype yesterday. "Mua-ha, ha-ha, and ha-ha-ha-ha-ha."
George Washington, you know, never had to put up with shit like this.)
But, right: Metallurgy.
Let's see ... Beaton's comedy gold, the hilarious smelting process
that results in a collection of, um, pearls of wisdom? Of comedic wisdom?
No, no, wait: Pearls aren't metal – pearls are from oysters.
Stupid, stupid oysters.
Look, never mind the metaphors.
Follow the links, if you haven't followed them already.
See Hark! A Vagrant for yourself, if you haven't already.
Realize that you know about half a dozen people who would be glad
to receive this new – this first – volume of Kate Beaton's work as a birthday gift
after you've bought a copy for your own personal library.
Just – don't wait until Christmas, okay?
George Washington would never, ever wait until Christmas.