I stumbled across the blog Hark! A Vagrant after getting an email recommendation from my local bookstore. A staff pick this week is graphic artist Kate Beaton’s new book — which has the same name as her site.
Why buy the book when you can get the blog for free? All I can say is that after a few minutes on the site, you’ll probably want the book, as I did. The comics are clever and light and packed with edifying literary, historical and intellectual references. Oh yes, they are funny too!
On the blog, you also get the pleasure of Beaton’s own asides. For example, she imagines Charles Babbage’s wife pleading with him to come to bed and get away from his machine (he designed the first computing engine in 1850).
Beaton observes in a note on the blog, “So I think that bit about computer nerds not getting hot ladies was wrong right from the beginning because by my estimation, Georgiana Babbage was quite foxy. They also had 8 kids so contrary to what my comic might make you believe they totally got it on.”
Now that’s the kind of added value a blog can bring.
Here’s a friendly little video Beaton made to thank her fans when the book made it to the top of The New York Times bestseller list for graphic novels almost instantly after it was published: