Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Step Aside, Pops: A Review with Tangential Ramblings About History and Other Stuff I Like

This evening, I had an epiphany.
Most of my favorite comic book writers and artists are Canadian.  

Why is Canada so awesome?  I mean, they have poutine and moose and Mounties and politeness and huge ... tracts of land!  


Plus, they manage to get along with the Québécois, who are constantly rattling their sabers about seceding etc. but they are still polite about it.  None of this Civil War bunkum.  

They also have such national comic book treasures as Faith Erin Hicks, Jeff Lemire, and the author of my latest book love, Kate Beaton.

First of all, stop (in the name of love!).  Have you read Hark!  A Vagrant! yet?


a) Yes

b) No

If you answered b), hie thee to the nearest bookstore or library and get a copy.  Read it.  If you are a scientist in Antarctica, or live in the huge tracts of land in Northern Canada, or are in any way unable to get Big Brother Amazon to send you a copy, check out the Hark! A Vagrant! webcomic.  

Okay, are we all caught up?  Good.

So now one of two things have probably happened.  You've either discovered the utter genius of Kate Beaton, or you're scratching your head, wondering what the Dickens she's talking about.  Wait, why are the Brontës funny?  Who is this Ada Lovelace person, anyway?  Canadian politics?  They have those there?  Look, it's okay.  I gave this to my mom, who's a history fan, but she didn't really get the jokes.

This is just a fair warning--it's not meant to be judgmental or hoity-toity or anything like that: you'll like these comics a lot more if you enjoy, read about, or have studied 19th century history and literature.  Extra super bonus points if, like me, you gather all the funny little factoids about historical people and store them in an Ephemera Closet in your brain.  If you're more into, say, hockey, go read Jeff Lemire.  You don't have to love Beaton's work, but if you do, we are probably fated to be friends.

And now we've made it to the book I'm actually supposed to be reviewing: Step Aside, Pops



As you probably know by now, I am a French major, a librarian, a book nerd, and a budding geek.  So the comic about Emperor Maximilian and Benito Juárez bickering about who is actually ruling Mexico was hilarious!  Those Habsburgs!  Always trying to take over the world!  See also: Marie Antoinette, Napoléon's second wife (I doubt she really had any ambitions except: Don't get guillotined.  Life goals!), and that Archduke Franz Ferdinand whose assassinations, oh, you know, sort of kind of maybe started WWI.  For like 800 years, Europe was up to its eyeballs in Habsburgs.

Sorry!  History nerd tangent!  Studying French history meant studying everyone that all the French monarchs and Other Royals of Note married, who were usually
a) their cousins 
or 
b) Habsburgs
which eventually meant that answer 
c) both a and b
became a correct answer.  

ANYWAY.

If this sounds appealing to you, get on your velocipede and hie thee to a book distribution center of some sort and GET THIS BOOK.  Keep it handy for when you feel down or when you need to laugh about Heathcliff and Cathy's ridiculous histrionics in Wuthering Heights.  I may have curled up in spasms of laughter more than once while reading this.  Especial favorites included:

Lois Lane, Reporter

Nancys (covers of Nancy Drew books interpreted à la Beaton)

The Last Days of Georges Danton

Broadside Ballads

and, of course, forever...

House Full of Mulders

That last one almost made me pee myself.  I WANT TO BELIEVE.

I need more Hark! A Vagrant comics than just the webcomic can provide, and I know I'm asking a lot of Ms. Beaton, but knowledge of a third compilation would really make my millennium.  

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