Step Aside, Pops – Zany Comics for Brainy Folks

‘Step Aside, Pops – A Hark! A Vagrant Collection’ by Kate Beaton   (2015) – 166 pages

 

stepaside-300x300If you are looking for a light Christmas present for a brainy person or a brainy couple or a brainy family, I can’t think of anything better than ‘Step Aside, Pops’.

Subjects in this graphic comic collection include ‘Chopin and Liszt’, ‘Juarez and Maximilian’, and ‘Julius Caesar’ as well as less brainy subjects as Spiderman, Lois Lane, Cinderella, the Strong Female Characters, and a male extra from Janet Jackson’s video, ‘Nasty’.  Just about any offbeat topic is fair game for Kate Beaton.

A comic about Jane Austen and the Brontés has the following Kate Beaton aside:

“They say that Austenmania is dead, in which case, long live Brontémania, and may we always have a mania to sustain us.”

That is the lively playful spirit that drives this fun collection.

Not that these comic riffs by Kate Beaton are all that intelligent and uplifting.  Some are just plain stupid.   Yes, a lot of the humor here is ridiculous and sophomoric. That is intentional.  Some I did not get at all such as Kokoro, Parts 1 and 2.  But where else will you find a silly joke about Alexander Pope in a comic as well as Alexander Pushkin, Alexander the Great, and Alexander Graham Bell, all put together in ‘Famous Alexanders’?

One of Kate Beaton’s heroes is the American journalist, Ida B. Wells.  “A statue of Ida in every home, or the world isn’t fair.”  Beaton devotes several pages of comics to her.  I barely recognized the name Ida B. Wells, and thus I went to Wikipedia and Google to find out more about her.  ‘Step Aside, Pops’ left me curious to find out more about several of its subjects.

This year a few of my Christmas presents will be graphic novels.  There have been several write-ups discussing the best graphic novels for the year which I am using as guides.  Graphic novels seem to work better as presents than traditional novels.  I find it next to impossible to pick out a full novel as a present for someone.  A novel is just too much of an investment in time for the reader, and individual tastes are just too personal.  However a graphic novel does not present such a dilemma and can be enjoyed by an entire family.

‘Step Aside, Pops’ is one that I probably will be giving as a present.

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Grade: A- 

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