Ah, FUN HOME. Of all of the graphic novels out there, this is one of the all-stars. If you haven’t read it, someone you know probably has. You may have noticed it on the syllabus of any number of literature classes. You may even have heard of the Tony-Award winning musical that was directly adapted from it. Yet under all the mega-hype and adulation, there is real, unfiltered power in FUN HOME. For all of its award-winning façade of academia and popularity (it was considered “Best Book of the Year” by over 22 publications!), at the core of FUN HOME’s power is its refreshing honesty and its unrelenting, yet subtle, emotion, the praises of which we here at ComicsVerse have only added to in this podcast.
The artistic and literary brainchild of Alison Bechdel, creator of comic strip, DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR, FUN HOME finds itself in the extended medium of the graphic novel, the medium of choice for many a graphic autobiography. FUN HOME is a story of discovery, both of the self and of her family history. It is also a tale of exploration; Bechdel does not finish her autobiography with any set convictions or beliefs—only questions, which arguably is what makes the graphic novel relatable to so many readers who are themselves struggling with explorations of their own identities.
Bechdel handles the toughest topics: sexuality, mental health, suicide, and family dynamics, with the ease and subtlety of the art itself, which is delivered in a melancholic slate blue. By the nature of the autobiographical beast, we also talk a lot about Bechdel herself in this podcast, along with the links between her artistic style and the content of the work: a beautiful alchemy of ingredients that result in deft parallels and allusions that hint at her literary background. Analyzing FUN HOME is always a special treat because there’s always more to the richness of Bechdel’s work. Listeners to the podcast, snap on your headphones, turn up your speakers, and indulge in that richness as well.