I love Beaton. Not only is she a fellow Nova Scotian, but how many people do you know that you can make that Wuthering Heights jokes to?
Not many, I tell you!
If you’re a literary nerd and you’re right into history, you’ll find this book hilarious. Beaton is a genius. She satirizes goddamn Kokoro by Soseki. Who even knows about Japanese political novelist Soseki? Oh, wait. She does. Way to fucking go Kate Beaton. High fives all around.
Reading her makes you feel like you have a super smart best friend who understands all your uncool pop-culture references. History isn’t even really popular culture, it’s a sub-pop culture. Beaton is bringing it though. Pretty soon strangers will think it’s cool you made a feminist Napoleon joke while waiting for the bus.
My favorite characters are her nose-to-the-grindstone interpretation of journalist Lois Lane who’s just trying to get shit done despite her nagging suitor Clark Kent; and Beaton’s jaded Wonder Woman who just can’t be bothered to give a fuck.
As Beaton writes of Lane, “If Lois isn’t kicking ass, taking names, and winning ten Pulitzer Prizes an issue, I don’t even want to hear about it.”
Also: Ida B Wells! Over overlooked in history classes, she is a total badass and Kate does a great job of capturing her feisty character.
There’s also her straw feminists comic which has made its way around the internet multiple times.
Oddly enough, I saw a poster at my university advertising a feminist meeting using this straw feminists comic. I stared at it for a long time, but I really couldn’t figure out whether they meant it ironically or not. The title of the meeting was something akin to, ‘Come Learn How To Worship Women’ and there was an icon of a full-bellied goddess next to it (overall, I left with the feeling that they didn’t really get it).
The straw feminists comic also reminds me of Part I of T. S. Eliot’s 1925 poem, The Hollow Men:
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
Which is a great poem (you should read the whole thing) and reminds me of Heart of Darkness. Wait. Tangent detected! Let’s get back on track:
Beaton is really good at knocking around at knocking the wind out of puffed up serious issues. There’s something in there that’s very east coast Canadian.
You can also find Beaton’s work on her blog.
Go read Step Aside, Pops right now and learn some stuff. Also, if you can buy it from your local comic book store, more power to you.