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!


Comic Review: Rat Queens

Rat Queens had previously been recommended to me forever ago. I wish I could remember by who, but I’m sure I can easily assume it was another excellent recommendation by Katie or my buddies on Gamers with Jobs that pitched in when I started to create this reading list..

When I first heard Rat Queens, I thought they were some kind of sassy roller derby team. The sass I wasn’t wrong about, the sport was. Well, if you call being a mercenary team for hire, a sport.

The Rat Queens are quite the team made up of some rather formidable ladies. Hannah is rat-queens-vol-1-page-5an elven mage, Violet is a dwarf fighter, Dee is a human cleric, and Betty is the smidgen thief. Together, they battle monsters they’re hired to fight, and sass each other, the locals, and whoever else is within earshot. After one particular tavern brawl, the Rat Queens and ther other mercenary teams – Peaches, Four Daves, Brother Ponies, and Obsidian Darkness – are all forced to take tasks to benefit the village as their punishment.

I was curious where this story was going. The mercenary guild idea reminded me of playing Recettear.

While I’ve played a lot of video games in the fantasy genre, I haven’t consumed a lot of reading material. And many of the comics on my list tend to take place in a more contemporary setting.

Regardless, the art is phenomenal. Roc Upchurch does a great job painting the scenes, and the colors are beautiful. Its easy to tell all of the characters apart, and their designs speak well to each of their personalities.

The writing is full of so much sass. Kurtis J. Wiebe has quite the tart tongue for the Rat Queens’ dialogue.

Rat Queens has a beautiful and fresh take on a same-sex relationship. I’m already delving into the fandom to follow my favorite ships, same-sex and non. Now that I’m done with this first volume, I need to find the next two in order to find out what’s happening with my ships.

I recommend Rat Queens for anyone that wants adventure, battles, sass, and romance that doesn’t feel forced.

Thoughts on Pulse

orlando, the pulse,

I spend much of my time on the Internet.

This means that I find out about tragedy, disasters, everything, before it hits the tending feeds on Facebook.

I want to sort out the facts. Process. I’ll do this for hours in a cycle. Search. Read. Sort. Process. Repeat.

The sooner I can get through those stages, the sooner I can quiet myself and listen to those that need to speak their minds. I’m not certified to provide any kind of answers. I just know the facts, and can repeat them until I’m blue in the face. When tragedy or disaster strikes, I’m a listener by nature. I listen. I sort. I process. Rinse. Repeat.

As millennials, the hate crime at The Pulse is our every day. We’ve become desensitized to the fact that this is our way of life. The millennial generation is defined as being born between 1982-2004, and in that time we’ve seen 80 mass shootings, including The Pulse.

80 mass shootings in the United States since the first members of our generation were born.

And nothing has changed.

Our nation became complacent with mass shootings and gun violence after children were killed at Sandyhook and nothing happened. Instead people wanted guns to be carried in schools, and other public areas, because that would stop a mass shooting. The number of events in which an armed civilian has stopped a mass shooting is small. Barely out of the double digits.

We turn a blind eye to the minorities and the young, and let them be killed while we let guns be protected by their own amendment. Minorities don’t get an amendment to protect their lives, their jobs, their safety. They get hate, when all they want are rights, peace, and to share their love.

Every time a tragedy happens, the same hashtags appears: #prayforboston #prayforaurora #prayforsanbernadino #prayfororlando #thoughtsandprayers. These are tweeted, and retweeted over and over.

These hashtags don’t create change.

We don’t want your thoughts and prayers. We don’t want your hashtagged condolences.

We want change.

This complacency with hate crimes: blatant homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, islamaphobia means that as minorities we don’t have a right to safety. We are not seen as humans that deserve basic rights.

orlando, the-pulse,
via @Bustle

And wishing us your hashtagged #thoughtsandprayers does nothing but prove complacency. Donate to help the victims’ funeral costs. Donate blood. Vote for change.

Don’t tweet your #thoughtsandprayers because that doesn’t help stop the hate.

Despite everything we’ve gone through, what I love most about the GSRM or LGBTQIAPD+ community is our resilience. We didn’t choose to be faced with hate day in and day out. Our choice was to be who we are. We’ll mourn the passing of the individuals that were taken too soon out of hate. And then we’ll get up and take up our fight again.

That’s all we’ve learned to do.

The Tony Awards were dedicated to victims of the hate crime at The Pulse. Dedicated to the closeted individuals who don’t feel safe coming out because they see the world we live in.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a sonnet as part of his acceptance speech. Its what we needed:

If you need someone to just listen, or read something you’ve written to express your feelings, I’m here for you. Please feel free to contact me either here, on Twitter, or Tumblr. I’m here to listen and support my beautiful, amazing community. You are loved. You are important.


June 26, 2015 is going to be a date students will have to know for a test. I’m predicting it now.

Years from now, high schoolers will be sitting in their American Government class feverishly filling in blocks on a scantron about important cases through the Supreme Court that have changed the entire country.

When the announcement was made, and the interns did their run, I was busy retweeting and posting on social media. I am the President of Generation Equality, the LGBTQ+ club/advocacy group on my university’s campus. Internally I was celebrating too, and trying to not cry with joy at work.

“Congratulations on today! That’s awesome,” my friend Ashley said when she came by the office with the rest of the resident assistant staff.

I blinked at her, and smiled. “Oh, thank you.”

It feels odd to receive congratulations on something I had no part in. I wasn’t someone who continued to appeal each ruling to a higher court. All I did was identify within the community.

This was a monumental decision. And it will have impacts that we don’t even know about yet – economically, mentally (in a positive way), etc.

Many have realized that what was decided by SCOTUS has no harmful effect on their life. This conservative on CNN had some amazing commentary that I think the rest of the Republican party needs to hear and think deeply on.

Love won. People can marry who they would like. And its beautiful that we have that choice across the whole nation.

Be the one you were made to be

I recently finished Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, and it got me thinking about a lot of things. Most importantly, how much I care, or not care, how others view me. Do I constantly act differently around certain people, making sure I’m always on a stage for them? Or am I proudly myself in all facets of my life?

Coming to college 3,000 miles from home has certainly taught me many things. And the lesson I struggle with is not being myself. I purposefully got tattoos on my arms to remind myself to be myself.

Maybe that’s a small portion of the problem. In about a year and a half of counseling, I’ve become a lot more confident (at least according to my counselor). There’s some things I can confidently do, but when it comes to a lot of things pertaining to my personal life, I had a tendency to fall off the wagon.

I don’t second-guess myself nearly as much. My wishy-washy tendencies only occur when I have to decide what to eat for dinner. I’ve started to make decisions about my life and I don’t have regrets about them. That’s been a slowly building habit ever since I moved to New Hampshire, and I haven’t regretted the choices I’ve made. There’s been more learning than train wrecks, so I’ll mark that in the books as a positive outcome.

A few weeks ago with a friend we discussed passing judgement on others and whether that immediate decision about someone was helpful or hurtful. Its impossible to deny that someone judges an acquaintance on their first encounter. We all do it. I’ll admit to doing that on multiple occasions.

But its whether or not you let those thoughts cloud your opinion of them later, that’s important.

I’ll admit to putting on an act. I could probably recount entire years of my life that were just a show. But that didn’t help me any. It hurt me more than anything.

I struggle with being myself. There’s moments where I’m a complete asshole, and others where I have this disgusting urge to show off (and occasions where I’ve followed that urge too). And I’m neither of those. Yeah, I’m snarky and lean closer to being an asshole sometimes, but I’m not a show off. I’ve always had a strong distaste for being flashy. A witty, potentially hurtful comment comes off my tongue, and I’m filled with guilt.

My friends know I’m a habitual apologizer. It’s raining out? I’ll apologize. They’re serving your least favorite food in the cafeteria? I’ll apologize. You lost your cat? I’ll apologize.

That’s who I am.

I’m a fiercely loyal friend who will stick up for anyone, and comes with a large extra plate of sarcasm, and a small side of geekery. I laugh when I shouldn’t; I dislike crying more than the average person dislikes the rain. And unfortunately I find myself to be a rather easy crier.

That’s the person I am. Not the one that I paraded around as through middle and high school. And who I occasionally bring out again at the worst times.

Its a terrible habit to slip in to. I’m mad at myself when that person makes a reappearance.

Maybe its time for another tattooed reminder.