Kate Beaton

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Kate Beaton
Kate Beaton smiles for the camera
Beaton at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo in BMO Centre, Calgary (19 June 2011)
Born (1983-09-08) September 8, 1983 (age 36)
Nova Scotia, Canada
Notable works
Hark! A Vagrant
Morgan Murray (m. 2018)
Signature of Kate Beaton

Kathryn Moira Beaton (born 8 September 1983) is a Canadian comics artist and the creator of the comic strip Hark! A Vagrant.

Early life[edit]

Of Scottish descent, Beaton grew up with her three sisters in Mabou on the isle of Cape Breton.[1] She went to a small school for K-12, only having 23 people in her class.[2] She graduated from Mount Allison University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in history and anthropology.[3] Beaton began drawing comics for the university newspaper, The Argosy, during her third and fourth years at school. After college, she worked as an administrative assistant in the Maritime Museum of BC in Victoria.[1][4]


After graduating from Mount Allison in 2005 Beaton worked at Fort McMurray to pay off her student loans.[5] In 2007, while still working at the Maritime Museum of BC, Beaton decided to publish some of her history-inspired comics on the Web.[1] She posted comics to a new website, katebeaton.com, and to a LiveJournal blog. In December of that year, she published the first of two popular batches of history-themed comic strips, whose subjects were ones suggested by at least twenty of her readers.[6] She moved to her current website, Hark! A Vagrant, in May 2008.[7]

Beaton published her webcomic, Hark! A Vagrant, from 2007 to 2018.[3] Its subjects included historical figures, such as James Joyce[8] and Ada Lovelace,[9] or fictional characters from Western literature. In several comics, Beaton caricatured herself, past and present. All were drawn by Beaton using MS Paint during her breaks at work.[3] Beaton has a simple artistic style, with particular attention to detail paid to her characters' facial expressions; her skill at comic pacing has also been noted.[10] Hark! A Vagrant won the 2011 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Online Comic.[11]

Beaton's work has been profiled in Wired,[4] Macleans,[12] and Comic Book Resources.[13] "The Origin of Man," her comic celebrating Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, was showcased by MySpace Dark Horse Presents in March 2009.[13] In June 2009, she released a book titled Never Learn Anything from History.[14] Several of her cartoons have been published in The New Yorker.[15][16][17][18] Drawn and Quarterly released her second book, also titled Hark! A Vagrant, in September 2011.[19][20] Time magazine named it one of the top ten fiction books of the year, with Lev Grossman calling it "the wittiest book of the year."[21]

Beaton's self-published Never Learn Anything from History won the 2009 Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent.[22] Hark! A Vagrant won the 2011 Harvey Award for Best Online Comics Work, having been nominated the previous year,[23] and was also nominated for Joe Shuster Awards in 2009 and 2010.[24][25] Beaton followed up her 2011 Harvey win by taking home three Harveys in 2012, for Humor, Online Work, and Best Cartoonist.

She is a former member of Pizza Island, a cartoonist's studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn which was formed by herself and cartoonists Lisa Hanawalt, Domitille Collardey, Sarah Glidden, Meredith Gran, and Julia Wertz.[26]

Beaton has contributed to Marvel Comics' Strange Tales anthology.[27] In 2014, Beaton uploaded the five-part webcomic Ducks, which presents a more serious and complex story based on Beaton's experiences working at a remote mining site in Canada.[28]

Step Aside, Pops, a collection of her Hark! A Vagrant comics, topped The New York Times graphic novel bestseller list in October 2015.[29] In a 2015 poll, Beaton ranked fourteenth among the top all-time female comics artists.[30] Beaton's picture book King Baby was released September 16, 2016. This was her second children's book following the release of her first children's book The Princess and the Pony in 2015, whereupon she received recognition from movie director Guillermo del Toro who invited her to an advanced screening of Crimson Peak.[31]

In October of 2018, Beaton ended the ongoing serialization of her webcomic, saying, "I feel like this is a project that has run its course."[32]




Comic collections[edit]

  • Never Learn Anything From History (2009)
  • Hark! A Vagrant (Montréal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2011, ISBN 978-1770460607)
  • Step Aside, Pops (Montréal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2015, ISBN 978-1770462083)

Children's books[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Canadian cartoonist Kate Beaton cleverly combines history and humour". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  2. ^ "'I'm a Careful Person': An Interview with Kate Beaton - The Comics Journal". www.tcj.com. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "About". Hark, a vagrant. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  4. ^ a b Hodge, Nathan (March 11, 2009). "Web Comic Artist Redraws Military History". Danger Room. Wired.com. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  5. ^ "Why This Famous Cartoonist Moved to a Secluded Canadian Island". 16 May 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  6. ^ Hark! A Vagrant History Comics by Kate Beaton - MetaFilter (13 Feb 2008)
  7. ^ Beth Dunn. "Interview with Kate Beaton". Bethdunn.org. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  8. ^ "Hark, a vagrant: 32". Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Hark, a vagrant: 141". Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  10. ^ Weldon, Glen (September 22, 2011). "Cartoonist Beaton's "Hark! A Vagrant!" Finds Drollery in Drawing Rooms". NPR: Monkey See.
  11. ^ a b "Ignatz Awards 2012". SPX. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  12. ^ Shimo, Alexandra (March 13, 2009). "Making fun of Canadian history". Macleans. Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  13. ^ a b Manning, Shaun (March 25, 2009). "Kate Beaton Debuts w/ Darwin at MySpace DHP". CBR News. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  14. ^ Wolfe-Wylie, William (June 2, 2009). "History in the making". Toronto Sun. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
  15. ^ Beaton, Kate (June 7, 2010). "I thought we agreed—no moms!". The New Yorker.
  16. ^ Beaton, Kate (June 28, 2010). "I accidentally picked up my daughter's backpack this morning". The New Yorker.
  17. ^ Beaton, Kate (August 10, 2015). "Uninvited". The New Yorker.
  18. ^ Beaton, Kate (February 28, 2011). "My eulogy is, of course, contingent on the will". The New Yorker.
  19. ^ "D+Q to Publish Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant". Drawn & Quarterly. January 12, 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  20. ^ Hark! A Vagrant. Amazon.com. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
  21. ^ Grossman, Lev (December 7, 2011). "7. Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton". Time.
  22. ^ Wong, Jessica (May 10, 2009). "Outsider tale Skim, quirky History Comics nab cartooning awards". CBC News. cbcnews.ca. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  23. ^ a b "2010 Harvey Awards Ballot". Archived from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 25 Feb 2012.
  24. ^ a b "Nominations for the 2009 Joe Shuster Awards". The Joe Shuster Awards. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  25. ^ a b joeshusterawards (2010-03-17). "Nominations for the 2010 Joe Shuster Awards". The Joe Shuster Awards. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  26. ^ Ward, Katherine (April 3, 2011). "Books". NYMag.com. New York. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  27. ^ "Kate Beaton - Comics - Marvel.com". Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  28. ^ Jackson, Fannie (2014-12-17). "The 20 Best Webcomics of 2014". Paste Magazine.
  29. ^ "Hardcover Graphic Books - Best Sellers - October 4, 2015 - The New York Times". Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  30. ^ "Top 25 Female Comic Book Artists #15-11 - Comics Should Be Good @ CBR". 25 March 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  31. ^ "Why This Famous Cartoonist Moved to a Secluded Canadian Island - VICE". Vice. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  32. ^ "Away From Desk".
  33. ^ "Doug Wright Awards: Past Winners". Archived from the original on 17 August 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  34. ^ "2011 Harvey Awards". Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  35. ^ "Congratulations to the Harvey Award Recipients!". Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2012.

External links[edit]