Not everyone knows this, but Kate Beaton is obsessive, the painterly equivalent of a Method actor. To create each new page of "Hark, a vagrant!" she recruits Swiss artists' models to dress in period clothing and pose in front of the Alps. Frozen in position as well as in time, they are required to make only the most ridiculous of faces for her art to take fruition. Eyes are stressed. At least half of the models have held a spot in Guiness for eye-bugging capability.
Once their minds are relaxed after a sufficient period of standing still, they are required to release a torrent of idiocy from their mouths, the likes of which is nowhere to be found on God's green earth. She often instructs them to "make it more like Juno!" and "reference historical stuff I guess." If their well of ideas runs dry, she orders her army of Nubian bondsmen to whip them soundly.
A sad story lies behind this particular picture. When Gunther Hagen-Schmoss, the man in the white suit and helmet, was found to be wearing a fake handlebar mustache instead of a real one, Beaton pushed him over the cliff's edge and into oblivion. He was eventually replaced with a toddler with gigantism, but his memory will never die.