Alison Bechdel's Comic Tragedy


By Laura Meader

Fun Home graphic novelFun Home, an award-winning graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, is anything but funny.

When Bechdel spoke at Colby in February as part of the Visiting Writers Series, she walked the audience through the steps of sketching, detailing, coloring, and digitizing each panel of her memoir in comic-strip format. She spoke of researching and writing the book: reading books her father read, searching her childhood diary for clues, and weaving images from family photographs into her pictures.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic tells the story of Bechdel’s uneasy relationship with her father. An English teacher and funeral home (Fun Home) director, her father was a closeted homosexual unbeknownst to Bechdel until shortly after she came out in college as a lesbian. A few weeks later, her father was dead.

Bechdel, well-known for her syndicated series Dykes to Watch Out For, read the book’s first chapter aloud—while corresponding cartoon panels appeared on a screen. We see a young Bechdel at home, beginning the journey of understanding a father laden with secrets.

Judging by the length of the line to purchase the book after the reading, a lot of people couldn’t wait to read chapter two.

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