The History Channeler

Canadian cartoonist Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant collects her strips from the website of the same name--ingenious bathroom-wall riffs on history and classic literature that somehow squeeze hilarity out of Raskolnikov's brutal nightmares in Crime and Punishment and the sack of Lindisfarne's monastery by Vikings in 793. Beaton's rugged, doodly drawings can provoke giggles on their own, even if you don't happen to remember why prosthetic-nosed astronomer Tycho Brahe would be cursing at Johannes Kepler, and her best jokes offer pointed historical perspective: a set of gags about beatnik poets, Goethe's zealous fans and French fashion trends of the 1790s is...

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