Dude Watchin’ With the Brontes

I love Kate Beaton. I love her so hard.

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I think the essence of that comic can be summed thusly: It is a truth universally acknowledged in Romancelandia, that a single brooding man in possession of a dickbag nature must be in want of a Magic Hoo-Hoo to reform him.  Nice dudes are nice, but dickbags are (generally speaking) easier to write when one is looking for fodder for generating conflict, and more exciting to read about. This is why I’m tipping my hat to Patricia Gaffney, Barbara Samuel, Laura Kinsale, Jennifer Crusie, Sharon and Tom Curtis and all the other authors who do a great job of creating heroes who are incredibly hot but aren’t brooding, damaged dickbags.

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  1. 1
    Julianna says:

    Kate Beaton?  Here?  But how do you get all the Canadian history jokes?

    Mind you, I don’t get all the Canadian history jokes and I’m studying it right now.  It doesn’t matter; she’s so good.

  2. 2

    Hilarious!  Still, Jane Eyre remains one of my favorite books, regardless.

    I’d add Julia Quinn to the list of authors who do a great job of creating non-dickish heroes (even if they’re brooders like Anthony Bridgerton).  I just finished What Happens in London, and the hero was just a nice, smart guy who treated the heroine well.  No brooding, no real angst, and I still thought he was pretty hot.

  3. 3
    MamaNice says:

    Oh, that was teh funny!

    I can’t wipe the image of brooding man from my mind, pfffft!

    And Anne, I am so sorry, I read Tenant Of Wildfell Hall, and for the life of me – barely remember it! I guess it needed more brooding assholes.

    Hmmm, I love Laura Kinsale – but I’d call some of her heroes a bit broody/damaged..dickbags, certainly not…but as to the rest….

  4. 4

    Awesome. I love Anne’s scowl! And while I love a good brooder as much as the next girl, I’m with you on the hot, happy hero. It can be done! And when it’s done well, it’s a pleasure and a joy.

  5. 5
    Teresa says:

    Love it! Made me laugh out loud.

  6. 6
    Gina says:

    Kate Beaton makes me squee often and loudly. I adore her Austen (oh yes, love me some Austen) but there is nothing quite so awesome as her Lord Bryon. Bitches, man.

  7. 7
    Candy says:

    MamaNice, you’re right re: Kinsale’s heroes. I was thinking specifically of Ruck, who, while somewhat damaged, isn’t particularly brooding, and dear lord, he put up with Melanthe’s shit. S.T. from Prince of Midnight isn’t very brooding, either, even though he has Issues. I think in both For My Lady’s Heart and The Prince of Midnight, the women ended up being the brooding dickbags, which is always a nice change of pace.

  8. 8
    Calila says:

    LOL that was hilarious!

  9. 9
    Kalen Hughes says:

    I think I’m about to “waste” a whole lotta time . . .

  10. 10
    Kalen Hughes says:

    Damn you, I just blew tea out my nose! Oh how she rocks!!!

  11. 11
    Lurithen Fraser says:

    FUNNY!!! Made my day!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. 12
    mingqi says:

    love the comic strip!  now i’m going to get addicted to this artist’s website!!  Someone above mentioned Kinsale’s Prince of Midnight- I love that book for writing a nonbrooding hero and a brooding heroine.  Why do heroines have to be all cheerful and polite in the face of adversity and guys get to be assholes and brood?!  S.T. had issues and hated his disability, but he still kept up a sense of humor and chivalry.  He was able to laugh at himself and at the slap in the face that fate had dealt him.  And Leigh got to be the one who acts like a scarred hero (for what happened to her and her family, she totally deserved to lash out and act cold).

  13. 13
    Saam says:

    Kate Beaton rocks! I’ve been visiting her website since you posted the Austen clip recently. Very funny stuff!

  14. 14
    SonomaLass says:

    I ♥ Kate Beaton!  As it happens, I re-read Tenant of Wildfell Hall recently and got completely sucked in.  I admire authors who can give me the experience of liking both hero and heroine from the beginning of the book, and yet somehow there is still believable conflict.  Recently that has included the latest Julia Quinn, as mentioned up-thread, and also Victoria Dahl’s Start Me Up.

    Of course there’s a place for brooders and even for dickbags in need of reforming, just not ALL THE FREAKIN’ TIME.  I love Elizabeth Hoyt’s damaged soldier heroes; they brood, certainly, but they mostly stay on the right side of the dickbag line for me.

  15. 15
    CupK8 says:

    That sent me back into Kate Beaton-land for a goodly amount of my shift at work today. Whoops!

  16. 16
    Keira says:

    I love the dickhead brooding hero… but I also like the nice heroes. Where’s that person in the comic? lol

  17. 17
    K8 says:

    Ugh the worst dickhead heroes have to be Cynsters (Stephanie Laurens). I can’t believe how long I kept reading those books. The heroes are essentially a cardboard cut-out of Devil (who was good the first time round). But there is really only so much “he was a warrior, borne of warrior ancestors and he would possess her dammit” a girl can take, even a not terribly discerning girl like me.Nothing wrong with a bit of broody possessiveness, but it has to be… well written! One of my favourite things about my hubby is that he makes me snort with laughter, where are the romance heroes who make the heroines snort with laughter?
    Love Kate Beaton’s comics, so smart and original.

  18. 18
    Elizabeth says:

    How had I never heard of Kate Beaton?  Another webcomic to be addicted to!  But it will never take the place of Weregeek, in my heart!

    Incidentally, which one is Charlotte, and which is Emily?

    I’d add Julia Quinn to the list of authors who do a great job of creating non-dickish heroes (even if they’re brooders like Anthony Bridgerton).  I just finished What Happens in London, and the hero was just a nice, smart guy who treated the heroine well.  No brooding, no real angst, and I still thought he was pretty hot.

    Agreed!  I also just finished What Happens in London.  Harry had the potential to be all broody and angsty (alcoholic father, emotionally unavailable mother, time spent fighting in the wars).  He could have been a complete self-pitying ass.  Instead, Quinn made him a nice guy—very funny and, yes, hot.  It’s really nice reading a book where you can genuinely love all the characters, instead of wanting to inflict bodily harm upon them.

    But Anthony Bridgerton remains my favorite Quinn hero (and one of my favorite heroes ever).

  19. 19
    meardaba says:

    Isn’t Katie grand?  I went to uni with her and she’s just as funny in person.  I’d recommend researching some of the Canadian facts, though, because they’re that much funnier when you’re on the inside of those jokes.  :)

  20. 20
    LindaH says:

    I have to say I can’t remember ANY hero in a book by Georgette Heyer that broods.  And for the most part they aren’t particularly douchebags either.

  21. 21

    But Anthony Bridgerton remains my favorite Quinn hero (and one of my favorite heroes ever).

    Elizabeth, I’m in *total* agreement there….

  22. 22

    Brontë Parsonage Museum and Brontë Society. The site has information about the lives and novels of the Brontë Family and the Brontë Parsonage Museum

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