Webcomic: Hark! A Vagrant
aka: Kate Beaton
"I was told I make intelligent comics, and then I made a comic about a horse that pooped."Hark! A Vagrant
— Kate Beaton
is a largely history-based Webcomic
by Kate Beaton, best known for its historical comics, which are one-shots of varying length focusing on historical events or figures getting into pretty inaccurate situations.
Recurring themes include Beaton visits her younger self, Canada
, a few comics about a pony called "Fat Pony
", and a story about a sailor who meets a mermaid. Like most webcomics, there is little continuity between entries, and it rose to fame through Memetic Mutation
taking hold on a few comics, which has lead to the series popularity. Also, rather than use Alt Text
, Beaton usually accompanies each comic with a short paragraph.
The series is ongoing, and can be read on its site.
Additionally, Kate Beaton has a personal tumblr which can be seen here,
and a Live Journal here.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Adaptation Decay: Not of the comic itself, but Beaton has a pretty good theory for how this happened to Dr. Watson.
- Adipose Rex: "George IV, You Are Too Fat To Be King."
- Affectionate Parody: Of history and literature, among other things.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Satirized using two of the authors who popularized the trope.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Played for Laughs In-Universe.
- Marat spends all his time in the tub because he really likes baths.
"Sometimes? I pretend to be Neptune."
- Amazonian Beauty: Cinderella, of all people!
- America Wins the War: Apparently it's kind of surreal for Beaton (a Canadian) when she watches WWII movies.
- Anachronism Stew: Lampshaded here.
- Angels Pose: The Strong Female Characters, often combined with a Boobs-and-Butt Pose (with all the ridiculous contortion that would suggest).
- Antiquated Linguistics: Consistently averted. No matter what time period the comic is set in, all characters use modern English (except in the strip namer comic, with Kate and the vagrant).
- Anything That Moves:
"OK so, try to find a place here that I haven't put my penis in. It's not easy."
- Apologizes a Lot: Canadians.
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Beaton's version of Macbeth's reaction to the witches' prophecy:
Banquo: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Macbeth: (thinking) Kill everyone.
Banquo: Ha ha! Our kids are totally gonna hook up!
- Art Evolution: Compare the first posted comic to one from 2012.
- Author Appeal: Beaton's comics are about literature and history.
- Author Avatar: In the "younger self" comics.
- Badass: Queen Elizabeth I. "This may not be a great thing for Spain."
- Beige Prose: Very frequently, sometimes averted.
- Black Comedy: Historical events and personages are depicted in a comedic manner, even the darker, more terrifying ones.
- Black Spot:
- Spoofed in here (second comic), where a group of gangsters give a man the Black Spot, to which he responds "You've mixed up genres."
- Also spoofed here (third comic), where an actual pirate comments on the Black Spot not being a real practice. The guy who gave it to him kills him anyway.
- Bleep Dammit: A weird case of this happening with nudity; one of the Strong Female Characters was originally designed with an eyepatch covering only one of her breasts, but the final design has a pair of them... but then the original concept art is posted further down on the page anyway.
- Boobs-and-Butt Pose:
- Brain Bleach: "Get away from me James Joyce."
- Call Back: "Janice", one of the skulls from Nancy Drew 2, returns in Nancy Drew 4 to lead Nancy on a wild goose chase.
- Cat Up a Tree: Here. And Wonder Woman is supposed to rescue it. Hilarity Ensues.
- Canada, Eh?: Canadian stereotypes comics.
- Celibate Hero: Tesla, the Celibate Scientist.
- Cluster F-Bomb: A good deal of the Mystery-Solving Teens' dialogue.
- Cool Old Guy: Pope John Paul II.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: A humourous portrayal of Musashi in his duel against Kojiro, being late and using an oar because he forgot his sword ("You can't expect me to remember everything!"), while Kojiro is annoyed because there were only two things they needed for their duel - Dudes and Swords. Kate Beaton notes he actually carved the oar into a sword intentionally, but it was funnier this way. Kojiro is naturally annoyed at losing to such a person.
- Determinator: Andrew Jackson does not like getting outdone, especially not about cheese.
- Droit du Seigneur: "So there I was, about to take my right as lord of the land, to first night with this hot young bride" "...As is 100% expected and real"
- Entertainingly Wrong: Banquo in strip #2.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The dark-haired Mystery Solving Teen loves his grandma. The Mystery Solving Teen with Blinding Bangs loves his grandma, too, but he doesn't look like a giant tit when he wears the things she makes for him.
- Even the Guys Want Him: "Meanwhile in a 20 mile radius of this event: Bodices ripping, men turning gay."
- Fan Fic: "You are not a very good monk."
- Femme Fatale: Parodied, of course.
"I enjoy guns and crafts. Don't box me in."
- Foe Yay:
- Goggles Do Nothing: "Tell me they do something."
- Hard on Soft Science: "You can't just 'make things up'!"
- Hipsters: They ruin everything. It also demonstrates that hipsters are Older than You Think.
- Historical In-Joke: The main point behind most of the comics.
- Historical Villain Downgrade: Used frequently, although Played for Laughs.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Lampshaded. "We have no REAL proof that Richard killed his nephews!"
- Ho Yay:
- Hospital Hottie: "Help me, handsome doctor."
- Hot Witch: It's hard to be sexy inside a pumpkin.
- Hypocritical Humor:
Mummy that is not appropriate.
You're one to talk.
- Insufferable Genius: Chopin and Liszt.
Chopin: Unrelated, we are both on the cover of "Enormous Ego" this week.
Liszt: Only this week?
- Long Title: In a Take That to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the rest of its ilk: Sense and Sensibility and Mister Darcy and Sharks In Space Riding Motorcycles Plus There Is a Time Machine. Jane Austen is not impressed.
- Loveable Rogue: Played straight in Robin Hood, then immediately subverted by Dick Turpin, who doesn't care about the poor.
- Memetic Mutation: Referenced In-Universe. "OH MR. [insert character here], A Fanfiction" is spoofed commonly in slash circles, as is "Help Me Handsome Doctor".
- Memetic Sex God: Mister Darcy, In-Universe.
- Metaphorgotten: Elizabeth I provides what may be the most incredibly awesome example of this to date.
- Mooning: "Gentlemen, I propose my bottom!"
- Mr. Fanservice: Mr. Darcy, (Of course) Handsome Doctor, and Sexy Batman.
- Mukokuseki: A rare non-anime example in Beaton's portrayal of Miyamoto Musashi.
- Mushroom Samba: In the Secret Garden.
- My Beloved Smother: Wu Zetian.
: I think if Samuel L. Jackson
was a woman, Chinese, and alive during the Tang Dynasty, he would be this woman right here.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: The entire point of Dracula.
- My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: Nelson's grandma kisses better than Hardy.
- Nightmare Fuel: In-Universe. James Joyce's letters to Nora Barnacle would give anyone nightmares.
- No Punctuation Is Funnier
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Because of the Foe Yay.
- Other Me Annoys Me: Watson's reaction to Stupid Watson.
- Politeness Judo: "Don't worry. I know their weakness. They can't help themselves."
- Politicians Kiss Babies: Kissing babies gets in the way of Emperor Norton's duties.
- Precision F-Strike: By Marc Antony, of all people.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Joking portrayal of Shakespeare from him likely writing Macbeth to appeal to King James I.
Witch: Banquo's sons will be kings, yes
Each one will get handsomer and handsomer until King James I
King James: (starry-eyed) Did that really happen
- Real Dreams Are Weirder: This strip. Calpurnia dreams that Caesar is going to be killed on the Ides of March. Caesar dreams about robes made of hot dogs.
- Really Gets Around: Catherine the Great-In-Bed. Who invades Poland by sleeping with all of it.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Parodied with "Strong Female Characters".
Strong Female Character (while punching a housewife in the face)
: Your reign of terror is over you cookie baking BITCH!
- Recurring Character: There are several of them.
- Rule of Funny: The reason why various historical figures and fictional characters are shown saying/doing things they would never actually say/do.
- Shmuck Bait: See Brain Bleach.
- Seashell Bra
- Shown Their Work: Beaton is a legitimate historian, and her comics reflect that.
- Show Some Cleavage: The best way to attract Dracula, apparently.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Queen Victoria for Albert.
- Sophisticated as Hell
- Sore Loser: Alexander the Great doesn't like to lose at board games.
- Stalker with a Crush: Superman, apparently.
- Straw Feminist:
- Stay in the Kitchen:
- Regarding "The Yellow Wallpaper", an early work of American feminist literature (and a Gothic horror story):
Protagonist: Doctor, there's a woman in the wallpaper.
Doctor: That woman has a feminist agenda. Tell her to get in the wallpaper that's in the kitchen.
- In another strip, a man finds out the book he's reading was written by a woman. He then drops the book and tells a random woman "Shame on you!"
- Stealth Pun: Possibly Stupid Rooster Comics.
- Steampunk: Isambard Kingdom Brunel is not impressed.
- Stripperiffic: "Where I come from, bullets are important so this bra is part of my culture, you can't judge that!"
- Take That: To The Tudors: "Elizabeth's kingdom will be mine!"
- Take a Third Option: "FUCK IT LET'S DO BOTH"
- Testosterone Poisoning: Lady Macbeth seems to want to invoke this trope.
- The Theme Park Version: Of Vikings.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: He's a bit of a dick too.
- Those Two Guys: The Mystery-Solving Teens.
- Title Drop: In this comic, though it's more likely the website was named after that line. Interestingly, this strip was not contained in the book of the same name.
- Toilet Humor: "Fat Pony" seems to be the outlet for this as shown here.
- Traitor Shot: Richard III, while preparing for party times.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: "Strong Female Character" Susan B. Assthony ends up marrying one.
- The Unfavorite: Anne Brontė of the Brontė sisters, shown in the comic and also Truth in Television.
- Unusual Dysphemism: Beaton's dad calls hands "shithooks".
- Viewers Are Geniuses: To an extent. Knowledge of European and North American history certainly helps, as the comic isn't going to explain the characters and events to you, but most of the time the comics are funny even if you don't know the history. (And at any rate, there's always The Other Wiki if you need a refresher... Hell, it's a webcomic, so you must be close to a search engine, right?)
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: This comic on bad historical movies. As The Rant says, "No one would ever try to shoot a movie in Chaucer-y English like the 4th comic, and if they did they probably wouldn't know their way around the actual grammar if Chaucer himself had a Dummies book explaining it. That shit is hard!"
- You Can Leave Your Cravat On: The (in)famous "Ooh Mr. Darcy" strip.
- Your Mom: The "Your Wife" variation — Tycho's rude response to Kepler suggesting the possibility that the sun might orbit around the earth as opposed to him believing in the opposite.
Tycho: What if your wife orbits my dick?