Step Aside, Pops!
October 5, 2015 4:36 PM   Subscribe

 


...but her work just existing makes the world a little less unjust.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:01 PM on October 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


I would just like to take this opportunity to say: velocipedestrienne
posted by ckape at 5:04 PM on October 5, 2015 [25 favorites]


I love some Kate Beaton! There's a good podcast interview with her on CanadaLand where she talks about her experiences in the tar sands (and cartooning and Canada History Minutes and such.)

That interview, and the Ducks comic, really shows the sadness and loneliness felt by the people working in the tar sands, and in a way that's both "this is what it is" and "this is how human it is"
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:05 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Truly, one of the finest living Canadians.
posted by Kitteh at 5:07 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hope she draws a longer story out of Ducks, one day.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 5:30 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would just like to take this opportunity to say: velocipedestrienne


"Ain't give a damn."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:34 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


oh I love Kate Beaton's stuff. I mean, obviously her history and other comics are just funny as hell, and she has a great...I don't know what the right aesthetic words are, but a sort of economy of drawing. Her stuff seems very simple but the faces are great.

Her family comics (and ducks) are just wonderful, though. Apart from being large and Catholic, her family and childhood barely resembles mine, but she manages to capture something that makes me miss home very much.

Anyway, I'm glad she's managed to carve out her niche and that she does good stuff with it. And that she seems to be so thoughtful, and gracefully receives what little justified criticism I see tossed her way.
posted by dismas at 5:46 PM on October 5, 2015


Like...shit. I used to read so many web comics. And so many of them were basically garbage! Remember all the video game web comics that were just awful?

I wonder how the death of Google Reader impacted web comic readership, come of think of it, since that was how I kept track of most of mine.
posted by dismas at 5:48 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


yeah girl
posted by sidereal at 5:50 PM on October 5, 2015


the death of Google Reader

feedly.com or commafeed.com will fix you right up. (both require free account creation)
posted by sidereal at 5:54 PM on October 5, 2015


We met her the first year she came to SPX, when she was sharing a table with the artists of A Softer World (who I think were her roommates at the time?), and got to talk to her at length. In subsequent years the line for her table and then her scheduled signings had grown to require that they place her by a door so the line can snake around the hallway. This year she was headlining the show.

She's been so good at handling her public persona and her social media, and on top of just loving her work, it's been really interesting and cool to follow that aspect of her success too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:58 PM on October 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


I hope she draws a longer story out of Ducks, one day.

In other Fort McMurry comics, there's "Cookies".

I've been following Beaton since, like, early lj days, and, at this point, I've forgotten when exactly most of them got made; they feel kinda timeless that way . "Cookies" is, maybe, 2010?
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 5:58 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Kate Beaton is just the best.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:59 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


What I really love about Hark, a Vagrant is that she presents these historical figures without dumbing them down. She knows you might not have heard of them, but she knows you're capable of looking up what you need to learn. So she makes in-jokes, with you! even though you might not have heard of them yet. She shares it with you, and it's wonderful.
posted by teponaztli at 6:01 PM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


(Meant to add: "Step aside Pops" has been a really apt description of what's happened at SPX too. It's been fascinating to watch things change as her generation of women have taken leading roles and more female comics fans have been driving the show. I'm so glad she called the new collection that.)

And yeah, I think her autobiographical comics are wonderful and hope there will be a book of them once of these days.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:02 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


BEATON
posted by you're a kitty! at 6:12 PM on October 5, 2015


MY PRECIOUS MY MOST PRECIOUS

i just want to hold her hand and cry a little such are the depths of my embarrassing love
posted by poffin boffin at 6:14 PM on October 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


Kate Beaton drew me a picture of Oscar Wilde on a sette at MoCCA and I'm going to frame it over the piano in the living room.

I have nothing to add, I'm just bragging,
posted by The Whelk at 6:18 PM on October 5, 2015 [44 favorites]


CURSE YOUR GOOD FORTUNES WHELK



I'm so jealous :(
posted by Doleful Creature at 6:33 PM on October 5, 2015


I got to very briefly meet her on Friday! Unfortunately, she was rather distracted and frazzled because she was about half an hour late to an hour long signing because her driver hit a pedestrian on her way there. The pedestrian was mostly fine despite rolling up onto the car's hood; Kate Beaton gamely grabbed a pen and started signing.

My friend and I profusely apologized to her for (1) the lack of public transportation in our city, and (2) the cluelessness of the undergraduates, and later bemoaned the possibility that she would never come to our city again, despite its reputation of being a bit of a comics' paradise.

But at least now my copy of Hark! A Vagrant! has a little doodle of Napoleon on the title page? Like The Whelk, I will treasure it always.
posted by damayanti at 6:49 PM on October 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


I love her poses, expressions and her compositions. I hadn't seen that Straw Feminists strip....where's her genius grant?
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:55 PM on October 5, 2015


I meet and/or interact with quite a number of indie comics artists and they're almost all great, but Kate is one of the few I've felt a little ... maybe not "starstruck" by, exactly, but there's definitely been some moments of "OMG, that's Kate Beaton and I'm talking to her." I'm a fan, clearly, but there are people who are much bigger fans! I can't imagine how they deal with it. She's super cool.

I've always loved how kind and gracious she is when interacting with her fans, even when she doesn't even need to be. She deserves all her success. I lover her family comics the most of all.

damayanti, we were in Columbus too for CXC and we all loved the city. I don't think you need to apologize for your city at all. (I missed Kate because we didn't get in until Friday afternoon.)
posted by darksong at 7:15 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


(Make It Then Tell Everybody is an amazing podcast, by the way -- the Kate Beaton one is particularly fun, of course, but I have not listened to a bad episode of it. If you like indie comics, listen to it.)
posted by darksong at 7:25 PM on October 5, 2015


Her family comics are so great. They are a highlight of my holidays every year.

Her children's book The Princess and the Pony is the the first book I will be buying for my niece!
posted by persephone's rant at 7:42 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


How much has she won the internet? This much.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:58 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Kate Beaton helped me, a complete stranger, answer a Nova Scotia public transportation question on Ask Metafilter once. So I feel comfortable saying that she's good people.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:09 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Kate Beaton is one of the few humans who I have a legitimate fangirl reaction towards, and not just because we share a first name and a country and so many things

Also, this
posted by quaking fajita at 9:40 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kate Beaton seems like a great person, and I enjoy her comics and her Twitter feed. I will say that Step Aside, Pops felt not *quite* as good as the previous book. Like maybe she was a little overloaded with that and The Princess and the Pony?
posted by Chrysostom at 9:52 PM on October 5, 2015


dismas: Like...shit. I used to read so many web comics. And so many of them were basically garbage! Remember all the video game web comics that were just awful?

I'm not that surprised that a lot of early webcomics were about videogames or RPGs or the people who played them, since a) lots of webcomics were started by people in college or just out of college (as were a few newspaper strips, Doonesbury and Bloom County most famously), and b) the sort of people who were into those things were also the sort who would spend a lot of time and effort putting their work up on the web when it wasn't clear that that was actually a way to make a living. Unfortunately, you also had a heavy intersection with the proto-Gamergater population, which led to a lot of those cartoons being really kind of shitty and stupid, and even the better ones (Penny Arcade, most notoriously) have flirted with alienating a huge chunk of their readership on occasion. And with the exception of PA, none of them have really come close to the sort of crossover success of Beaton, or Lucy Knisley or Alison Bechdel. (PAX is still successful, but the closest that they've really come to mainstream success is the optioning of "The New Kid" for a movie, which may or may not actually happen.) It's a combination of the inherent limitations of the appeal of the subject, and the personal shortcomings of many of the artists.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:11 PM on October 5, 2015


I could read her interpretations of Nancy Drew book covers all day. And I never even really read Nancy Drew.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:56 PM on October 5, 2015


Kate Beaton?
*sigh*
posted by From Bklyn at 12:10 AM on October 6, 2015


Kate Beaton makes me proud to be Canadian. It's silly, why do I get to be proud because she's awesome? But there it is.
posted by jeffj at 1:44 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just lerve Hark A Vagrant. Hoping to see some panels about her working in the Alberta oil fields.
posted by telstar at 1:51 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not that surprised that a lot of early webcomics were about videogames or RPGs or the people who played them, since a) lots of webcomics were started by people in college or just out of college (as were a few newspaper strips, Doonesbury and Bloom County most famously), and b) the sort of people who were into those things were also the sort who would spend a lot of time and effort putting their work up on the web when it wasn't clear that that was actually a way to make a living.

Oh sure. I guess I'm just glad the medium diversified a bit. I just remember when Ctrl-Alt-Delete was reasonably successful, for instance, and how Jon Rosenberg did a whole in-universe parody of gaming comics as a thing.
posted by dismas at 4:47 AM on October 6, 2015


Fat Pony!
Fat Pony!
Fat Pony!
posted by tommasz at 5:27 AM on October 6, 2015


Apparently, you're only allowed to gush about Kate Beaton on this thread. What happened to dissenting opinion?

Hark! A Vagrant! is simply not funny. That can be excused if the drawing is good, but it's terrible. Simply being a webcomic about the kind of stuff we here are generally into should not in itself lead to a free pass. Can somebody explain what is so great about it?
posted by salmacis at 5:31 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am not sure what happened to dissenting opinion, salmacis, maybe your last comment will remain as it has more qualification of your opinion.

I like Hark! A Vagrant! well enough to buy the book, but I can't say that I emitted more than one chuckle in reading the whole book. It is mildly amusing and the artwork is acceptable, but more similar to a sketch than a finished work. That's fine, it is not the Nao of Brown.

If it appeals to people who would not usually enjoy cartoons, that's great too.
posted by asok at 5:41 AM on October 6, 2015


Hark! A Vagrant! is simply not funny. That can be excused if the drawing is good, but it's terrible.

On the contrary. Beaton manages to convey a great deal of nuance about her characters with an economy of strokes, which I think qualifies it as good. It's not photorealistic, and not the clean lines of, say, Adrian Tomine or someone, but that's not what she's aiming for.
posted by acb at 5:50 AM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hark! A Vagrant! is simply not funny.... Can somebody explain what is so great about it?

No.

It really is that simple. Let me give you an example -- I hate jazz. Always have. Tried to get into it for years, because my parents like it. Listened to all the classic, mandatory, irreplaceable, whathaveyou albums and songs and standards and performances and blah blah blah. And when I was about 27, I just decided, You know what? This isn't for me, and it never will be, and that is okay. So when jazz comes up on MetaFilter, I shrug and click the Back button. When it comes up in real life, I shrug and say "Not my thing" and change the topic or let other people talk amongst themselves about it. And I don't look down my nose at people who are really into jazz, because, shit, I like professional wrestling and those weird taquito things on the rollers at Speedway, so who the fuck am I to judge quality?

But I don't spend a microsecond more of my time trying to get anyone to explain "Why jazz is so great" anymore, because It doesn't matter if I don't like jazz. Not to me, not to jazz musicians, not to jazz fans. So I shrug, and I go back to the bar for a refill, and maybe by the time I get back, the topic will have moved on to block transfer computation or Final Fantasy or something else.
posted by Etrigan at 5:56 AM on October 6, 2015 [38 favorites]


I've raved about Kate Beaton before, and I'll probably do it again, but what really stands out to me is the simple honesty in her art and her humor.

It's not always straight up comic strip funny. Sometimes she hits a goofy note that everybody isn't going to find humorous, but the historical and literary reference jokes are spot on.

In my opinion, her drawing style conveys a vast amount of emotion in a really small amount of space. She'd hate me for saying this, but her work reminds me of Bill Watterson. The ennui is palpable.
posted by Sphinx at 6:33 AM on October 6, 2015


Once again, a woman on the internet would like to move to a secluded hut by the ocean due to harassment and rape threats by men on the internet. I know we're all shocked by that, but really, should be more than a side note.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:55 AM on October 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


In terms of ennui - I think she'd really, really like to be back home in Mabou.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:10 AM on October 6, 2015


Her doodles about her family have made me burst into tears on more than one occasion.
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:25 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Apparently, you're only allowed to gush about Kate Beaton on this thread. What happened to dissenting opinion?

Mefi murdered it when we all downloaded the Great Mind. Now we must think as one, and we stone to death any and all Thought Traitors. If only there was one brave enough to stand against it... But alas! Our power is too great. All shall fall before our might. Only a fool - a quixotic yet roguishly appealing ThoughtRebel - would dare to oppose us! We are the alpha and omega! No other opinions shall be allowed!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:02 AM on October 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


Your favourite band illustrator sucks.
posted by acb at 9:09 AM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hark! A Vagrant! is simply not funny.... Can somebody explain what is so great about it?

One's taste in humor simply cannot be quantified. It is as subjective as one's tastes in love or hate or cilantro.
posted by Windigo at 9:33 AM on October 6, 2015


I think her drawing is good, in that it's free flowing and expresses a lot accurately with great economy of means.

That said, quality of art is poorly related to quality and success of webcomic. There are great artists out there who can't achieve lift off, and some great, celebrated comics whose artists are rubbish, or who were rubbish until they got years of practice.

My theory is that most comics express the personality of the creator, and really it ends up being a matter of whether the cartoonist is a person you like to spend some time with.
posted by Segundus at 10:02 AM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Can somebody explain what is so great about it?

If you're going to declare something unfunny and terrible, you've probably already firmly made up your mind about it, and no amount of explication is going to sway you. It's one thing if your criticism is something like "I find her reliance on crude language to be immature" or "I don't like how her drawing style is hasty and unpolished and frequently veers off-model," because a discussion can start from there and we can dig deeper into what works and what doesn't. But it's intellectually lazy to go "This thing sucks and it's y'all's job to 101 me otherwise."
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:17 AM on October 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


Humor is subjective salmacis - I've laughed until I cried at some of Beaton's stuff (and Ducks made me straight-up cry, but that's sort of a different thing). I find that the cartoony/sketchy art style fits the light tone of the humor. To me it feels expressive, and economical.

I mean how can you read Straw Feminists and not giggle? Or not cackle at the facial expressions in the Gatsby one?
posted by Wretch729 at 10:23 AM on October 6, 2015


Kate Beaton's feminist history nerd humor is my jam, but I can see how if history bored the shit out of you or you weren't much of a feminist, it wouldn't work. (I also love Manfeels Park and the sadly infrequent Lovelace & Babbage comics, both of which are related in how they're funny to me.)
posted by immlass at 10:32 AM on October 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


She just put up a comic about her decision to move home to the Maritimes that I was scared to read in case it convinced me to do the same. She's that good a story teller, and she gets being a young person from Atlantic Canada so perfectly.

Still holding out for her to move to PEI eventually.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:09 PM on October 6, 2015


Hark! A Vagrant! is simply not funny. That can be excused if the drawing is good, but it's terrible. Simply being a webcomic about the kind of stuff we here are generally into should not in itself lead to a free pass.

actually it's good now
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:47 PM on October 6, 2015


I like her work because her art reminds me of Jules Feiffer. But with wider subject matter. And more refined sense of irony perhaps. Also, sometimes grounded in real history. What's not to like?
posted by telstar at 9:00 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think she's okay...though I have an issue with drawing styles sometimes. Like here's my Internet sin: I am just not into Allie Brosh specifically because I can't even look at her weird fish head (what is that?! it's supposed to be her? a human?) drawings. I'd probably like her if her drawing was different, but you can't just read a cartoonist for text. In KB's case, she's a little...I dunno, not my favorite on drawing style, I guess, but not terrible either.

*shrug* Oh well, different strokes for different folks and all that jazz. Doesn't mean I don't respect her success.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:19 PM on October 6, 2015




Still a little boggled by "she's just not funny." Is there anything more subjective than humor? Personally, I'm divided between "she's hilarious" and "she's totally kick-ass". Luckily those two ovals overlap in the Venn diagram.
posted by Lexica at 6:58 PM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Gary Larson is a pretty average artist, but that doesn't really detract from his work either.
posted by asok at 2:01 AM on October 14, 2015


I went to the Step Aside, Pops! signing at Gosh! in London last night. There were a lot of people there, and we waited for over an hour in the queue, which snaked its way around the block, before winding through the comic section in the basement and making its way up to the signing table. Anyway, she signed my copy and drew a sketch of the Velocipedestrienne for me. The girl in front of me in the queue, meanwhile, got the jester flashing his bum.
posted by acb at 8:28 AM on October 21, 2015 [2 favorites]




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