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When it comes to sleepy literary icons, many of us think of Sleeping Beauty, Sleepy the Dwarf, or the dormouse from Alice in Wonderland, but what about the lesser known characters who fall asleep in public, and sometimes inappropriate, settings? Ones that could curl up on a park bench, nod off in class, or pass out on public transport?
February 28th is National Public Sleeping Day and to celebrate we’re highlighting characters who you may not first associate with sleepiness, but ones who could—or have—fallen asleep in public.
Clint Barton (from 2012-2015 Hawkeye by Matt Fraction & David Aja)
If your main experience with Hawkeye is the MCU, then it may be hard to imagine this sharpshooting S.H.I.E.L.D agent as an average man that falls asleep at the vet’s office, but writer Matt Fraction and lead artist David Aja paint such a scene in the first issue of their 2012-2015 run of Hawkeye. After saving an abused, pizza-loving dog, a bloodied and exhausted Clint waits in a veterinarian’s office for an update. The poor guy dozes off only to get tossed through the office window moments later by Pizza Dog’s abuser and the big baddies of the comic's run. Our snarky neighborhood archer can’t catch a break from crime-fighting, and even worse, he can’t catch a break from his low self-esteem. Pair his self-deprecating humor, that does nothing to help with his obvious depression, with the constant need to help others before himself, and we’ve got one tired Avenger. Although Clint downing coffee straight from the pot is relatable and falling asleep on the sofa with the adopted Pizza Dog (aka. Lucky) is endearing, we’d rather Clint get the help he needs. If he happens to fall asleep at an Avengers’ meeting after he’s addressed his issues, then that’s fine by us.
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Adam Parrish (from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater)
Ronan may be the designated dreamer from Maggie Steifvater’s Raven Cycle, but his ability prevents him from ever publicly sleeping. No, we’re taking a look at the pragmatic, hard-working, and drained Adam Parrish. When a high school student works at least two part-time jobs to cover the cost of his expensive, private education, it’s no surprise he unintentionally passes out on his friend’s couch or on adventurous road trips. It’s also no surprise that his friends avoid waking him up when he does so, as they understand how overworked he is. Although a car or a couch aren’t technically public places, we wouldn’t be surprised to find Adam asleep in the Aglionby Academy library, no doubt studying moments before his eyelids betray him. We’re all for sleeping where you want, when you want, but high tuition bills aren’t something a high schooler should lose sleep over. He should be losing sleep over the thrill of chasing magical, long-dead Welsh kings, like Gansey does.
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Ian (from not simple by Natsume Ono)
Natsume Ono’s not simple is a heart-breaking manga about a young man travelling across the world in search of his older sister. The narrative skips through time and locations as Ian recounts his journey to his reporter friend, Jim, and you get fractured versions of Ian and his dysfunctional family throughout this framed narrative. One of his first appearances is that of a man curled up on a short, concrete wall outside of a diner, so disheveled another character mistakes him for a homeless man and wakes him to buy him some food. When you’re travelling on a budget from Australia to England to America and potentially skipping hotel expenses by sleeping outside, you’re bound to be a bit shaggy. Especially if you’ve gone through everything Ian has in the course of his tale. We’re warning you: unlike Hawkeye and Adam, whose sleep-deprived days end on a more hopeful note, Ian is all levels of emotional and physical tired that don’t necessarily improve.
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Mr. Benedict & Constance Contraire (from The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart)
Let’s move on to the more light-hearted characters, shall we? Anyone who’s read The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart knows there’s a few characters who could fit the sleepyhead archetype, but we’re going to focus on two spoiler-free ones.
The character behind the title, Mr. Benedict himself, is an understanding, intelligent man with two adopted daughters, who often take turns staying close by his side. When they’re not nearby, they often ask him to sit close to the ground as he’s narcoleptic and could injure himself if he were to fall. Too much laughter is often the trigger for a sleep attack, but that doesn’t stop this pleasant and kind man from enjoying a good laugh. Although he doesn’t get out much, when he does, he has his loyal daughters Number Two and Rhonda to watch out for him, but if Mr. Benedict were to clock out on a bench, no one would judge.
Constance Contraire is another character entirely. As one of Mr. Benedict’s young spies, Constance is trusted with collecting intel at the evil Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, but to the chagrin of her fellow Mysterious Benedict Society members, she’s often found dozing off in class, dozing off outside on a bench, dozing off during late night intel meetings. Her bullheaded stubbornness, constant attitude, and irresponsibility clash with the other young spies, but the further you get into the books, the less you label Constance’s sleepiness as carelessness.
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Uncle Rupert (from the Warren the 13th series written by Tania del Rio and illustrated by Will Staehle)
Constance may not be exactly what she appears to be at first, but Uncle Rupert from Tania del Rio’s Warren the 13th series is exactly as advertised. Uncle of Warren, the protagonist and series’ namesake, Rupert inherited the family hotel after Warren’s father passed away years before, but as it would seem, Rupert isn’t cut out for the managerial life. He’s much more built for power naps. As dedicated Warren scampers around the hotel, doing his best to keep things afloat, Uncle Rupert can be found curled up on lobby sofas, hallway chairs, or in extra rooms. He’s even found resting his head on the check-in desk when he has a nearly booked hotel. It’s not that Rupert is purposefully cruel in pawning his duties off to Warren, it’s more negligence in the form of laziness, which makes it worse because Warren is often too good to be genuinely upset with him. If anyone in this series should have the right to power nap shamelessly throughout the hotel, it’s tireless Warren.
Keep an eye out next month for the release of the third and final installment in the Warren the 13th series, Warren the 13th and the Thirteen-Year Curse!
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