The big news of the day: D&Q has picked up Kate Beaton and will publish her next collection, HARK! A VAGRANT.
Beaton’s current print outlet is the Topatoco edition of NEVER LEARN ANYTHING FROM HISTORY, which, every time we’ve seen Beaton at a show — is sold out. Grrrrrr. It isn’t clear from the PR if this is a new edition of that material or all new but the word “next” suggests the latter.
Hark! A Vagrant will be in stores in Fall 2011 as a hardcover collection of new comics and comics that previously appeared on Beaton’s enormously popular website of the same name that receives 1.2 million monthly hits – 500,000 of them unique. Hark! A Vagrant takes readers on a romp through history and literature with dignity for few and cookies for all, with comic strips about famous authors, their characters, political and historical figures, all drawn in Kate Beaton’s pared-down, excitable style. Whether she’s writing about Nikola Tesla, Napoleon, or Nancy Drew, Beaton brings a refined sense of the absurd to every situation. Beaton’s comics have appeared in Harpers, the National Post, and the New Yorker, her caricatures of historical and literary figures, filtered through a contemporary lens, display a sharp, quick wit that knows no bounds.
Seth Fishman represented Beaton in negotiations and has sold UK rights to Jonathan Cape. Hark! A Vagrant will be published in North America by D+Q and will be distributed in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and in Canada by Raincoast Books. International rights are represented by Fishman, who is with the Gernert Company.
The titanic Beaton/D&Q team-up is truly all good — Beaton’s comics will get top-notch design and publishing support and it’s hard not to see this as another perennial seller for D&Q’s lineup. It also suggests yet another sign that the trend of big publishing houses like Random House picking up webcomics collections is probably at an end.