Kate Beaton’s Step Aside, Pops Book Review by Colleen Kolba

step aside pops by kate beatonWhat happens when Kate Beaton’s follow-up comics collection, Step Aside, Pops is released? A collection that once again turns significant historical figures into wise-asses and no one (historical, pop-cultural) is exempt from her snark? Well, you once again wonder why Beaton’s work isn’t used as a history book in classrooms so students are learning. Like, really learning. Her work is the history, literature, mythology, music, and pop culture “textbook” we all should’ve had in high school.

Does her brilliant literary criticism allow you to finally read Secret Garden through the Post-Legalization lens Mr. Miner wouldn’t allow? Yes, because I think we all had a hunch what was really growing in that secret garden. I mean, Step Aside, Pops! has an index. It has (almost, but not quite) footnotes. Those are all things teachers look for when curating booklists. Just because it’s a comic and actually entertaining, we can’t use it as a textbook?

Beaton’s book originates from her Hark! A Vagrant online comics series, which you can check out here. Okay, you’re back? If you’re reading this, I know you didn’t click through because you wouldn’t have ever made it back. You would’ve been sucked in for hours, eschewing this second-hand account for the real deal. However, we also like to reward the rebel.

In order to get the most out of Beaton’s latest, I’ve composed a quiz to help you freshen up on some of your major historical figures so you can realize how poor grade school knowledge retention is here instead of while reading the book.

Directions: Match the Historical Figure or Duo with the correct definition. As always, the correct definition follows Beaton Historical Theory, in adherence with all of her published work, which we take to be Truth.

Beaton quizFINAL

You did well? Great! You’re going to love feeling smart as hell reading Beaton. Like you guys have a bunch of witty inside jokes together. Did poorly? Great! The comics are hilarious, even when you don’t know whom Beaton’s talking about. Plus, she’s so smart she has context clues that let you laugh along even though you slept in the back row of your history class.

You can order Step Aside, Pops and Hark! A Vagrant from Kate Beaton’s website: harkavagrant.com/

Colleen Kolba is a writer and cartoonist from Chicago, IL. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming from Hobart, The Rumpus, & [PANK]. You can find her tweeting here: @colleenkolba, tumbling here: colleenkolba.tumblr.com, and living with three dead plants here: [please. like she’d put her address on the internet].