Kate Beaton, Canadian Comics, and the Canadian Underground Comix Worlds

Posted: January 23, 2020 in John Stammers Page

Kate Beaton just has to be a Canadian national treasure. Did I just write that? That is scary.
No, but her work does have this effect on you, making you feel among a privileged crowd of well-wishers in the comics world.

Her first published collection, Hark! A Vagrant (Montréal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2011, ISBN 978-1770460607), was a great success. And followed up with equal success, with her Step Aside, Pops!(Montréal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2015, ISBN 978-1770462083)

30 best Hark A Vagrant! – Kate Beaton images on Pinterest …

She has a gently barbed subject matter; the hissing feminist snake-women sneaking into your children’s bedrooms at night and tempting them, are very funny indeed.
There is vicarious learning here too: Canadian historical hotspots are tackled, and gently parodied. She ranges throughout history and literature, on both sides of the Atlantic, and has a fine medieval archive of material as well.


There is more dangerous territory out there in Canada, though.
Underground Comix brings you French-Canadian…

Julie Doucet.

She too has her own Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Doucet

Julie Doucet rambled onto New York streets on her art course, coming down from Quebec, to find there a kind of human zoo. The zoo was inhabited by chancers, losers, dreamers, and downright lost souls. And sometimes all in the one body at the same time. Her earliest (1980s onwards) comix were the Dirty Plotte series. And please do not ask what a ‘plotte’ is.

Her images can have an iconic stature. Unforgettable. This is woman’s territory, and it is as wayward as it goes.
What would I do if I had a penis? she wonders. I can unscrew the end and… keep things in it. Sure!
On her wilder days she uses the image of the old B-film Revenge of the 40 Foot Woman, to produce a truly memorable 40 Foot mentrual woman, half crazed, barely dressed, towering over the cramped streets of downtown, her pants drooling menstrual blood everywhere.
Something of Goya’s Colossus, there.

Fantastic Plotte! | mRb


The comics, and comix, world is a hard place for women.
In this day n age.
Why? What the… is the matter with people?

Money, and prestige.

If it’s to be made, you can bet the old primitive male drive got them there first. And they are holding those doors shut.
Comix? says Julie Doucet. There’s no living in it for a woman.

She, like Kate Beaton in her own way, has moved out from that earlier territory and is working out her way to new fields of creativity.

  1. I have two of Kate Beaton’s books and I just love her work!

  2. We have the two I mention as well. Have not seen her earlier Histories one. Yet.
    Thanks for reading; it’s always greatly appreciated.

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