You Should Be Reading: Hark! A Vagrant

I’m pretty bad about reading webcomics.  Sure, I know they’re the big new thing, but with so much other stuff to keep track of online they wind up on the bottom of my surfing pile.  Ironically, I tend to pick them up when the print collections come out because, obviously, I do everything the wrong way.

And so it is with Kate Beaton’s webcomic Hark! A Vagrant, which I just recently snagged after hearing too many good things about it to keep ignoring.  And sure, there are the occasional superhero gags, like this great one about my buddy Aquaman:

But it’s just as likely to be about Canadian historical figures and Victorian literature, as evidenced by this amazing strip based around Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” At first I thought I had to be misreading something, or misremembering some long-ago reading assignment but no, Beaton went there.  And thank goodness she did, because there aren’t nearly enough comics that appeal to the literary nerd in me and still manage to be outright hilarious.

While there’s likely a chance the literary/historical focus could alienate some readers who are more into comics featuring Final Fantasy sprites, I found it a breath of fresh air.  Much like R. Sikoryak’s Masterpiece Comics, I found the pieces much easier to appreciate when I was familiar with the material they reference, but still easy to follow and get the joke even if I didn’t know the Canadian politician in question or (I know, I know) read Jane Eyre. 

Please, check out Hark! A Vagrant.  Besides, unless you’re weird like me, it’s free!

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Secret Weaknesses

Superman has kryptonite. Martian Manhunter has fire. Green Lantern has yellow. There are weaknesses we’ve known for decades, and let’s face it, villains do too. However, with the New 52 DC’s heroes have used a bit of strategy and traded up. For this week’s LIST we present New Weaknesses in the DCU.

  • Martian Manhunter – Kittens

  • Wildcat – mint leaves

  • Booster Gold – Kryptonite

  • Wonder Woman – cigarette smoke

  • Superman – Cheesecake

  • Flash/ Barry Allen – character development (BA-ZINGA!)

  • Captain Marvel, Jr. – Orange Lazarus

  • Aquaman – if you put a blanket over him, he thinks it’s night and goes to sleep

  • Michael Holt – pet dander

  • Jack Hawksmoor – Forced to leave the room any time you mention “Skull and Bones”

  • Jack Knight – bakelite

 

Aqualad — Secrets!!!

Robin talked me into the short-shorts.

Secrets!

That Mera sure is a stone-cold fox. And by fox I mean bitch.

Secrets!

Arthur doesn't know that giant sea horse he rides urinates in the ocean. Just out in the open!

Secrets!

There sure is a lot of shrinkage out in the ocean.

Secrets!

Officially, I was in Belgium with the Teen Titans when Arthur's son died. Unofficialy I was out joyriding in the Aquamobile.

SECRETS!!!

This Week’s Comics

While the past couple months have been pretty full, there’s not a lot I’m picking up this week.  But for the sake of continuity, here’s what they are.

  • BATMAN AND ROBIN #24 – I forgot to mention #23, but I really liked Judd Winick’s Red Hood story.  Surprising, since I’ve generally loathed the rest of his Bat-work.  So let this signify how good it’s been.
  • BLUE ESTATE #3 – I haven’t read the second issue of this yet, but the first was a nice kick-off of a hard-boiled detective story.
  • FLASHPOINT EMPEROR AQUAMAN #1 (OF 3) – Because it’s Aquaman, that’s why!
  • GHOST RIDER #0 POINT ONE – Marvel built up a HUGE amount of Ghost Rider-style goodwill with me due to Jason Aaron’s amazing run, so I’ll give them the chance to keep up the good work.  But #0.1?  Shouldn’t the first issue be a “good jumping on point” in and of itself?  Great work there, Marvel.
  • NEW AVENGERS #13

That’s it for this week, and my ongoing pull list has been updated (for reals).  What are YOU looking at?

The Truth Beneath The Waves

With a starring role in Brightest Day, Aquaman is coming back to the DCU in a big, big way.  Often overlooked as a gimmicky or D-list hero (at best!), we here at the L.E.M.U.R. Comics Blog would like to take the opportunity to correct those misconceptions.  This week we are proud to present: Aquaman Facts.

THIS IS NOT JUST A GRATUITOUS PICTURE OF AQUAMAN'S HOT WIFE!

  • Section 1, Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution states, “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.  Or Aquaman.”

  • Aquaman invented the giant seahorse by punching a seal and a horse into one new animal.

  • Aquaman holds the world speed record for text messaging underwater.

  • When Batman is at a loss, he asks himself, “What would Aquaman do?”

  • Aquaman raced Superman and the Flash and won.

  • In honor of his international reputation for sexual prowess, the Italian term for orgasm is il dulche Aquamano.

  • Aquaman once bowled a 310.

  • There is a hidden Aquaman drawn into each of Jack Kirby’s Marvel books

  • Aquaman has all of the feet Rob Liefeld never drew.

  • Aquaman doesn’t get dirty. Dirt gets Aquamany.

  • It’s not that Aquaman can’t exist more than an hour without water, it’s that water can’t exist more than an hour without Aquaman.

  • Wolverine is the Aquaman of the Marvel Universe.

  • Aquaman failed once. Just to prove that he could do anything.

  • The first man on the moon was Aquaman.  And he swam there.

Random Links For Your Weekend

This Week’s Comics

It’s a decent-sized run this time around! Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • BATMAN AND ROBIN #12 – A reminder that I haven’t read #11 yet, but this has been my favorite arc of a really strong Morrison run.  I don’t expect that to change here.
  • BRIGHTEST DAY #1 – We’re going to find out why these 12 characters (out of everyone who has died) were chosen to come back to life. However, I imagine I won’t really care.  Still, it’s $3, there’s curiosity and a freebie White Lantern ring, so I’ll bite.  The most interesting thing about the White Lantern so far is how it mirrors Kyle being given his ring by Ganthet waaaaay back in Green Lantern #50.
  • MUPPET SHOW #5 – And speaking of reminders, I still haven’t read #4 yet.  Still, this book never fails to delight.  I’m a little concerned how not having Roger Langridge’s art will affect the book, but since he’s still writing I’m unconcerned.
  • SHADOWHAWK #1 – Okay, I’ll cop to this being nostalgia tinged with an unsafe level of curiosity, especially since Shadowhawk symbolizes a LOT of what was wrong with comics in the early 90’s. Still, much like Image United (where’s issue 3, guys?!?!?!) this one’s siren song may be too strong to resist.  I’m weak, I know this.


Lots of solid freebies came out last weekend and I’d just like to run through the few I’ve read so far.  I haven’t gotten to the big titles, but here are some of the indies I was able to go through.

Love and Capes –
This honeymoon issue was a great intro to the book, which I’ve been wanting to check out since hearing Thom Zahler on the War Rocket Ajax podcast.  A cute book with some genuine laughs, this is the “what if Lois and Superman” were really married book.  Well done, I’m just tired of the Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman analogues in every indie book about superheroes (and I say this hypocritically knowing I have plans for one, too).  Let’s invent some new characters, folks.
Oni Press Free For All – All three shorts were entertaining, but Salt Water Taffy by Matthew Loux towered way over the others…Over anything else I’ve read from FCBD 2010, actually.  It’s rare that a comic can elicit laughs (or laffs, if you’d rather) from me, but SWT did.  I’m definitely going to pick up the first 3 collections now. Well played, FCBD…Well played.
Overstreet Guide – It’s probably about time that Overstreet tried protecting its own interests in comics, but I would have much rather seen a real comic.  Kids can totally learn the anal-retentiveness of comic collecting on the streets, they don’t need a handbook.
Irredeemable/Incorruptible – This a great intro to Mark Waid’s world where Superman goes bad (there we go again!).  I don’t know if these were complete issues of the first issue of each respective book, but it was a great primer, and I think I’m going to check out more in trades.

So, that’s it for me.  What are YOU looking at?