|Bechdel at conference in Chicago. |
Background image from Fun Home.
Bechdel has a large fan base of lesbians who, like me, have followed her since her early Dykes to Watch Out For comic strips. With the release of her two memoirs, her readership has broadened and now people of all stripes are finding relevance in her work.
When I'm talking to folks who are new to graphic novels, I always say to go slow. It takes time to absorb visual information and to synthesize it with printed text. This advice especially holds true with Are You My Mother? The pages are dense and the narrative is layered. It makes for a rich experience that rewards re-reading. (My sweetie has read it twice already.)
Bechdel's artwork is highly controlled, yet expressive. In Chicago, she talked about her need for accuracy. This is reflected in her careful imagery. While she chooses her words skillfully as well -- and there is plenty of written text in Are You My Mother? -- Bechdel knows when pictures say it best. I love the way she depicts her response to her therapist's question about her religious beliefs:
|from Are You My Mother, p 103|