If you’re even remotely familiar with the webcomics scene, chances are you’ve heard about Kate Beaton. Since launching her web site, Hark! A Vagrant in 2008, Beaton’s hilarious takes on everything from “Nancy Drew” to Aquaman have earned her a healthy following (over half a million unique visitors a month) and work in both The New Yorker and Marvel’s Strange Tales II (her “Kraven goes to the prom” story was one of the high points of the series).
So it’s no surprise that Beaton’s first hardcover collection will be released from Drawn & Quarterly this fall. Featuring material from her popular web site along with brand new strips, the new Hark! A Vagrant collection should expose Beaton to an even wider audience. (A self-published collection, “Never Learn Anything from History,” is available through Topatoco.) Beaton possesses an uncanny ability to skewer stuffy historical figures, great works of literature, and comic book self-seriousness (her surly, chain-smoking Wonder Woman is one of the most vivid depictions of the character in years) while also showcasing her subject’s basic human foibles. Now that she’s joined the home of Adrian Tomine, Daniel Clowes and other indie comix greats, it’s safe to say Beaton’s profile will only rise higher. Which is great news for fans of fat ponies and Nikola Tesla’s swarthy mustache.