I am not a huge reader of webcomics, but I’m hooked on Hark! A Vagrant which never ceases to give me a good chuckle. So it comes as little surprise that the writer of such a hilarious and witty comic is those same things in person. This was the book launch party and you could tell she was very happy about it. And even with technical difficulties, she just rolled with it. Once she started telling her little history a lot was learned and laughed about. She comes from a very small town where her classes through primary school were 22 people large. She was the only artist and she always felt that comics and drawing were things she did but not jobs she could have. It was rather inspiring to hear how in college in life and then after further after graduation, with no formal training, others encouraged her to do it. She did say she feels it is much harder now to really get a webcomic going, when she jumped in it was just a fairly new idea. Showing off many of her comics over the years it was fun to track her progress and ideas. She also showed which comics went over really well for her like the Tycho Brahe one that pretty much went viral. It was also evident how much more freer her style has become, by her own admission because she wants to continue to evolve and can’t image drawing the same things in the same ways forever. This was a great talk with a wonderful turn out.
I found out about Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant from Otaku USA’s own master of moe Caleb Dunaway. He of course loved it because it is a slightly off kilter mostly historical based comedy web comic. Narutaki and I being fans of history in general were drawn to the comic as well. So when Kate Beaton was giving a talk in New York we had to go. The Housing Works bookstore was a cozy little shop that is run by volunteers where all proceeds from the café go to providing support services for homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. You quickly realized that the bookstore was not huge when the events started with about a hundred people in attendance. Fortunately we can early enough that we had seats but the place was packed. When the event started she tried to do a reading of some of her strips but technical problems with the projector nipped that in the bud. I put up a little video of that if you were curious. When that was not working out she went into how she got into web comics and the processes that she uses to make her comics and how it has changed over the years. She then did some Q&A which she eventually just had to cut off so everyone could get a signature. I think the most interesting thing was that growing up in Canada she knew almost nothing of American superhero comics. But when she got involved with the web comics community she picked up an interest just by osmosis due to going to various conventions and talking to other artists. A was also impressed with the amount of research she does. I always knew she had to do research for the comic but the amount she does seems insane. Overall she was quite friendly, intelligent, and witty. Also by the end of the night she was a bit tipsy but she was extremely cordial and gave everyone a personalized sketch with their copy of her book. We got Elliot Page a sketch of Sir Issac Newton, Clarissa from AWO a sketch of one of the Strong Female Characters, and Caleb a sketch of Queen Elizabeth. Also if you see an Einstein comic in the future we are going to take full credit for that.