Hark! A Vagrant

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Hark! A Vagrant
Hark A Vagrant.png
Cover for the 2011 print collection
Author(s)Kate Beaton
WebsiteHark, a Vagrant
Current status/scheduleCompleted.[1]
Launch date2007
End date2018
Genre(s)Comic strip

Hark! A Vagrant was a webcomic by Canadian artist Kate Beaton.

Recurring themes[edit]

Hark! A Vagrant is best known for its humorous treatment of historical figures and events. Beaton began drawing history-themed comics for her student newspaper while studying History and Anthropology at Mount Allison University.[2] Historical personages that have made appearances in the comic include Napoléon Bonaparte,[3] Ada Lovelace,[4] Marie Antoinette,[5] and the Founding Fathers of the United States.[6] Literary figures feature prominently, such as the Brontë sisters,[7] and several strips parody classic literary works such as Robinson Crusoe and Sherlock Holmes. The humour in Beaton's historical and literary strips often derives from anachronisms, such as historical characters expressing modern colloquialisms and sensibilities.[8]

Other recurring subjects in the comic include superheroes, Nancy Drew stories, and autobiographical topics.

Hark! A Vagrant has been noted for its feminist themes,[9] and Beaton has described herself as "naturally drawn to women’s history".[2] She is particularly well-known for her series of "Strong Female Characters" strips, which satirise sexist depictions of female characters in comics and movies.[10]


Hark! A Vagrant is drawn in black and white with pens, watercolours, brush pens, and a Wacom tablet in later comics.[11] Beaton's distinctive drawing style is loose and light, and has been compared to the illustrations of Quentin Blake.[9] Reviews have remarked on her mastery of facial expressions in particular.[8]

Most strips are short, about three to eight panels long. Beaton often eschews punctuation in her dialogue,[10] and the tone of the comic has been described as "conversational".[8]


The 2011 print collection of Hark! A Vagrant was named one of the top ten fiction books of the year by Time magazine,[12] and Rolling Stone magazine placed the same collection on its list of 'The 50 Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novels'.[13] Maria Popova, in The Atlantic, called the book "a witty and wonderful collection of comics about historical and literary figures and events", and praised Beaton's "truly special gift for simple, subtle, incredibly expressive caricature".[14] Alex Manley, writing for Maisonneuve, wrote that "the collection reveals Beaton's flair for marrying dry historical facts of varying arcanity with cheap, childish gags in a way that never seems to get old."[15]


Year Award Work Category Result
2009 Doug Wright Award Hark! A Vagrant Best Emerging Talent Won[16]
2010 Harvey Award Hark! A Vagrant Best online comics work Nominated[17]
2011 Harvey Award Hark! A Vagrant Best online comics work Won[18]
2011 Eagle Award Hark! A Vagrant Favourite Web-Based Comic Nominated[19]
2011 Ignatz Award Hark! A Vagrant Outstanding Online Comic Won[20]
2012 Harvey Award Hark! A Vagrant Best online comics work Won[21]
2012 Doug Wright Award Hark! A Vagrant Best Book Won[22]


  • Never Learn Anything From History (2009)
  • Hark! A Vagrant (Drawn and Quarterly, 2011)
  • Step Aside, Pops (Drawn and Quarterly, 2015)


  1. ^ Beaton, Kate. "Hark, a Vagrant". Hark! A Vagrant, such as it is, is an archive website now.
  2. ^ a b Drevitch, Gary. "Eccentric's Corner: Drawn to History". Psychology Today.
  3. ^ Beaton, Kate. "Hark, a Vagrant: 320".
  4. ^ "Hark, a Vagrant: 298".
  5. ^ "Hark, a Vagrant: 2".
  6. ^ "Hark, a Vagrant: 375".
  7. ^ "Hark, a Vagrant: 202".
  8. ^ a b c Randle, Chris. "Book Review: Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton". National Post.
  9. ^ a b Sneddon, Laura. "Kate Beaton on refusing to let women be forgotten and increasing audience diversity of a comic convention". Independent.
  10. ^ a b Robinson, Tasha. "Interview: Kate Beaton". AV Club.
  11. ^ "Hark, a Vagrant: About".
  12. ^ Grossman, Lev. "7. Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton". TIME.
  13. ^ "Drawn Out: The 50 Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novels". Rolling Stone.
  14. ^ Popova, Maria. "'Hark! A Vagrant': Witty Comics on Historical and Literary Figures". The Atlantic.
  15. ^ Manley, Alex. "Kate Beaton's Revisionist History". maisonneuve.org.
  16. ^ "Past Winners". Dought Wright Awards.
  17. ^ Polo, Susana. "The 2010 Harvey Award Winners". The Mary Sue.
  18. ^ Melrose, Kevin. "Winners announced for 2011 Harvey Awards". CBR.com.
  19. ^ Johnston, Rich. "Eagle Awards Nominations Announced". bleedingcool.com.
  20. ^ Parkin, John. "Winners announced for 2011 Ignatz Awards". CBR.com.
  21. ^ McMillan, Graeme. "'Daredevil,' 'Hark! A Vagrant' And More Win Big At The 2012 Harvey Awards". comicsalliance.com.
  22. ^ Gowrie, Katie. "Kate Beaton wins Doug Wright Award".