Comic Review: Fun Home

This semester my school offered a Young Adult Literature class. And I had the joy of making it into the course with one of my favorite teachers and several of my good friends.

Our third book of the semester was Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

Surprisingly, I had not read this book up yet (I don’t think it was on my summer list either). I know, I know. My gay self should void my queer card because its taken so long for me to read the number one book on the LGBTQ+ required reading list. Woops. At least that’s fixed now?

51ocqhn1kol-_sx332_bo1204203200_Without further adieu, let’s talk about Fun Home.

Fun Home is a memoir by Alison Bechdel in which Alison writes about her childhood, her family, and her journey of identity and self.

This graphic novel has so much depth. With literary and cross-discipline references, it can be a daunting read. But I promise you those references truly open up the book.

Upon my first read, I made notes as I went, of places where I wanted to go back. And now that I’m going through again, I am in awe of Bechdel’s writing. There’s hidden details in the references, in the details about her father, the vocabulary, and things I did not put together the first time.

The parallels, the crosses, the convergence and divergence. When people joke that “graphic novels aren’t literature,” I want to point them at this book.

The single-volume memoir’s frames are engaging, and lend much to the story. Without them I don’t think the prose could stand alone nearly as well. And I think that’s what makes Fun Home work so well in this form.

Bechdel planned this graphic novel with such precision that the larger picture of woven memories, family details, and conclusions, wrapped in literary and philosophical references creates an impressive work that lends a voice to the deceased, Bruce Bechdel. All of these details allow for the reader to draw their own conclusions while also growing with Alison, and feeling her emotions grip you right through the page.

I would recommend Fun Home to anyone that wants to experience another memoir in such a unique format. Don’t be afraid to highlight or mark spots where you might not understand. I promise it’s worth it. However, if you’re not in the mood to do that much research, stay tuned to my blog and my YouTube channel. I’m working on some scripts and videos that will cover not only my thoughts on Fun Home, but also will explain the references more in-depth.

What were your thoughts on Fun Home? Did you think the graphic novel was too literary? Would you be interested in learning more about the depths of the novel? Want more information about the cross-discipline references? Let me know in the comments below!

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Comic Review: Monstress

Resident Assistant training is finally over, and its syllabus week, which means I have time to write a review for one of the other comics I have most anticipated reading after Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Put Monstress on your radar, cause that’s what this week is all about.

Monstress vol. 1: Awakening is a comic I was drawn to because of the art. I’m a sucker for beautiful things, and the art reminded me of the detailed work of Bizenghast, a manga series I read in high school.

The artistic details of Monstress are gorgeous. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the monstress-vol-1featured image, or the ornate work on the cover. Artwork is such an important aspect to a graphic novel, that I couldn’t let this one drop off my radar. And after picking it up at Boston Comic Con, I was excited to read it as soon as I could. Congratulations to Sana Takeda for their flawless style for hooking me well before I picked this up.

Enough about the art (because I could go on about it forever).

Monstress drops  you into the middle of the action about the protagonist, Maika, and as a reader, you’re sort of unsure what’s happening at the start. The story is written and drawn that you’ll have enough information by volume one’s end to keep you coming back for more, and fill in the blanks from the beginning.

Maika is at the center of a number of magical incidents thanks to her mother. She spends quite a lot of time blasting herself out of captivity using her magic, and several weapons that she wields quite well despite missing one arm. Maika is formidable with her magic, and shouldn’t be messed with.

Marjorie Liu has created a wonderful story in the first volume (issues 1-6) of Monstress. I already can’t wait to read volume two. All of the characters have rich stories, and there is so much world-building. Its easy to be drawn in by more than just the art alone. Give Monstress a read if you are looking for a great fantasy read. Its well worth it.

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