You can tell when someone is passionate about a story; the way they talk about it and take particular care in every little detail. Kate Beaton, the author and illustrator behind Hark, A Vagrant, seems passionate about everything. Her web comics run the gambit from history to literature and even tackles larger topics like feminism. Every time I visit her site, I find something new to learn like the discoveries of Rosalind Franklin or the strange history behind Nero and Agrippina.
Kate manages to both skewer and embraces her subjects with the kind of insight that only comes from an admirer of knowledge. Her comic based on the Nancy Drew books both celebrates one of our favorite fictional detectives as well as highlights the ridiculous art found on the covers. Humorous but never caustic, Kate Beaton manages to walk that very fine line with each of her comics. It’s okay to laugh at history, literature, or even yourself and still love these topics with the heart of a true fan.
Reluctant to share her work, her friends motivated her to start posting her comics back in 2007. It’s hard to believe that someone who has gone on to win multiple Harvey awards as well as be showcased by The New Yorker would hesitate to bring their work to the masses. Even with a few simple lines, Kate manages to create expressive characters that punctuate her jokes at just the right time. They say comedy is hard; imagine performing it in MS Paint.
If you are not already a fan Kate Beaton, check out her web comic as soon as possible. She also just came out with a book, The Princess and the Pony, about a young warrior princess wishing for a horse and getting a less than gallant mare. And if that still did not quench your thirst for humor, a second collection of Kate’s comics, Step Aside, Pops, arrives on the virtual store shelves this September. Kate demonstrates that with a little courage, you can share your passion with the world.