Who is this, you might ask? She's the brilliant writer and gifted artist behind Hark, A Vagrant! In case you only first became acquainted with the Intarwub last week, this is a Web-based comic in which Kate culls salient passages from Canadian and U.S. history (or world history in general) and turns them into comedic instances.
Anyone could try to make a joke of history, because we were stupid and didn't know so much about the world, basically stumbling around in the dark as we invaded nations and killed off foreign cultures in the name of religion (read: finances).
But Kate's sense of humor is finely honed in the way that rare prodigies exhibit. It's like, on the one hand, okay, you've got Dane Cook. He swears and he screams a lot and he repeats himself. I get it. He's like the most popular douchebag on the third floor of Stearns Hall. But then there's Maria Bamford who can not only change her voice into completely different people but supplements this superpower with a keen, insightful study into the caprices of human nature.
On the one hand, you've got popular humor. On the other, you've got a higher level of humor that is cherished by the best humorists. Do you see the difference? Can you? If you look at that sentence and all you see is, "On the one hand you've got THE GOOD STUFF and on the other you've got I DON'T GET IT," well... you're probably not reading this blog. I would have irritated you a long time ago, and how sad would your life have to be that you would continue reading.
So. It's not enough just to really like something. Like, J.D. Salinger recently died, and I felt bad not only because I thought he'd died decades ago, but that I'd made no attempt to reach him and tell him how awesome I deemed him. Granted, he was a recluse and had no interest in other people, but still. But I'm a tremendous fan of Gene Wolfe, and he's still alive, and I wrote him to tell him how important his work is to me. He actually wrote back and autographed a couple books for me. And I bugged him a few times and if I can read between the lines correctly I think I alarmed him a little. So I backed off.
Learning nothing from this, I wrote to Kate Beaton to tell her how awesome I think she is. I tried not to overdo it but truth be told I'm enjoying a Bourbon County Brand Stout and it's very strong. It gives... it doesn't give me ideas, but it lends much credence to the ideas I do have. But I do believe it's important to tell artists and authors that you appreciate them, because they're working hard and maybe they get paid but some of them like to hear from fans. They like to hear someone's digging on their work.