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!

Guest Review: Bear

Friend of the Blog David is probably — aside from our families — the only other person Matt and I still see that we’ve known as long as each other.  It only makes sense, then, that he be our first guest poster.  He emailed us the other day to tell us about this new comic he stumbled across, and he was so convincing we asked him to write something up.


Bear follows the quirky adventures of a teddy bear…
He’s Bear, He’s Bear…As he faces the hyper-violent antics of his owner’s cat Looshkin.
… He’s made of human hair,
Poke his nose and his head grows,
He’s Bear, He’s Bear, He’s BEAR!  It’s Garfield on crack.  Read a story:

Each issue of Bear has:

  • Beautiful painted cover!
  • 3+ feature and backup stories!
  • Disturbingly cute images!
  • Cutely disturbing images!
  • Fun crammed into every available space (and sometimes orifice)!
  • British slang!

Bear is the first published work of Jamie Smart. The comic ran 10 issues from 2003-2006, published by Slave Labor Graphics (also the publisher of one of Bear’s inspirations Milk & Cheese).  It’s since been collected into two trade paperbacks and released online (without the backup stories).  And more might be coming.

I rescued 6 issues of Bear from the discount bin.  There’s *always* treasure in the discount bin.  I thought my wife would like it, and both she and I love it.  Now I need to get the other 4 issues…

More Bear Recommendations:
Looshkin coins the term “little fuzzy kidney”:
Parody of Pride and Prejudice:

David (Guest post)