Last week, I picked up "Fun Home," Alison "Dykes to Watch Out For
" Bechdel's autobiographical graphic novel, finding it on the recommended table at my local comic shop, the incomporable (and wittily named) Secret Headquarters
in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.
Fun Home tells the story of Bechdel's girlhood growing up with her closeted, literature-obsessed father and her bitter mother in a Victorian house that her father was remodeling, bit by bit. More than anything, this is the story of Bechdel's father, a third-generation funeral home owner who teaches English to make ends meet. Bechdel grows up surrounded by, and oblivious to, his illicit affairs, including some with the young men he hires to babysit her and her brothers. Meanwhile, Bechdel struggles with her own sexuality, coming slowly to realize first that there is such a thing as a lesbian, and then that she is one.
Bechdel's drawing style -- familiar to many from her excellent syndicated strip -- is both friendly and confessional, painful truths revealed in the lines as much as the speech-balloons. She is merciless in cracking open her life and the life of her family, and the story veers from hilarious to tragic, often on the same page.
The story is told in a dreamy style, meandering forward and back in time, illuminated with renderings of her girlhood diary, letters her father wrote to her mother, excerpts from the books that were her father's secret encoded messages to her. As an artifact, the hardcover book is handsome and mysterious, with sly die-cuts in the staid green cover and neon orange boards beneath with illustrations revealing the hidden truths of Bechdel's family home.
"Fun Home" manages the painful trick of getting us to sympathize with people whose flaws are monstrous, by laying out the way that Bechdel herself came to that sympathy.
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence. Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | RedditIn this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially […]
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
Finding quality icons is a challenge for designers, and can also get pretty costly if you use them often. And when you’ve got a lot to do, the last thing you want to spend your time on is creating new icons from scratch That’s why we recommend using the Noun Project ($49). Noun Project is a site […]
While Netflix and Hulu have seemingly dominated the streaming market with their limited selections, we’ve looked a little outside the box and found something pretty great as an alternative. SelectTV combines all the content of cable with the convenience of streaming, and it’s affordable too.SelectTV is an online subscription service that packs an impressive library of over […]
These days, the vape market is saturated with low-quality products, making it nearly impossible to separate the gems from the duds. The Atmos Rx Dry Herb Vaporizer stands out from crowd for two reasons: its impressive battery life and durable construction. This high-end little gadget is compact enough to fit in your pocket, and packs a powerful punch, […]