For me, this series will be 100 times more powerful once it’s all released and it can be put into one compendium. The amount of time between my reading of Volume 1 and this one, and the time until Volume 3 is released will be too far.
This one has been on my radar for a while, but it jumped up after someone posted the NPR article/review about Fence Vol. 2 on Facebook. I only read the first portion because I didn’t want to ruin anything in this volume or the next, so be warned!
Fence, Vol. 1 is the first four chapters of Pacat’s comic and it’s hard to say how much I liked it. I really enjoyed the illustration style of this and the story kept me engaged, but I’m realizing that I may be more of a graphic novel fan than a comic fan. That this was four issues and felt like it didn’t really get anywhere (even though it totally did) was problematic for my reading.
As I’m slogging my way through the absolute TOME that is Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crisis Changed the World (which is fascinating), I needed something a little lighter to break up the finance/business talk.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this. Suede is a great romance writer, but sometimes it’s a little crass for me. This one definitely rode that line and sometimes went over, but not enough so for me to abandon the book (as if I’d ever do that). Ultimately, Suede pulled me in though I mean a neurotic comic book illustrator (Trip) and a southern comic/pop culture nerd (Silas) getting together in the big city (NYC), hello custom-made dream for me 😀
With my vested interest in the multi-billion dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) (aka I see all of the films as they’re released) and my passing interest in the DC universe now Wonder Woman has made her powerful interest, of course I had to say yes when the publicist reached out about this book.*
After saying yes and reading this, I’m not sure I should have. There were some major flaws in this book mostly having to do with gender and misogyny. I don’t want to harp on about this, but that’s probably what this post is going to end up being. Smith chose 10 comic book heroes (first appearances): The Hulk (1962), Wolverine (1974), Green Lantern (1940), Iron Man (1963), Batman (1939), Spider-Man (1962), Captain America (1941), Mr. Fantastic (1961), Thor (1962), and Superman (1938), and pitted them against each other in an “epic” ethics battle. What’s the obvious thing about these ten heroes? They’re all men. [Want to skip this tirade? Skip 6 paragraphs down.
I randomly stumbled across the Kickstarter for the documentary version of this book. So of course I had to see if the library had it and it was in the one near me so I walked down and got it at lunch. It was a quick read and covered a wide variety of comics.
I mean 40 years in LGBT/Queer history covers so much from AIDS to decriminalization to marriage to adoption rights to the wonderful coming of age of trans* comics. (For more information on the asterisks check out this graphic (It’s Pronounced Metrosexual link). The anthology did a great job by dividing the comics into three era’s of queer comics: 1) Come Out: Gay Gag Strips, Underground Comix, and Lesbian Literati (1960s-1970s); 2) File Under Queer: Comix to Comics, Punk Zines, and Art During the Plague (1980s-1990s); 3) A New Millennium: Trans Creators, Webcomics, and Stepping Out of the Ghetto (2000s-today?). I listed all of the authors at the end of this post because they all deserve credit in this wonderful anthology.
After re-reading Fun Home for book group I dove right into the follow-up Are You My Mother? As much as I enjoyed it and ultimately identified with it, it didn’t live up to the magical experience of Fun Home. It’s hard to say whether this lack of magic was a result of the intense navel gazing or the less compelling surface emotional story. To be honest it could be the daughter identifying with mother as this is an experience/story that I will never experience in the same way.
This being said, the story was still eloquently and humorously told! The graphics were just as poignant and detailed as those in the original. I enjoyed the complete color shift from the green-gray to the red, especially when Bechdel revisited scenes from her earlier work and the emphasis changed slightly. The book list in Are You My Mother? wasn’t quite as long as Fun Home but it was still pretty impressive at 38 separate works listed.
I first read Fun Home in undergrad after my friend Mia gave me a copy not long after it came out in paperback. (I’m pretty sure it was paperback and I’m pretty sure it was Mia. I wasn’t so great at tracking who, when or where books came from back then…oh the olden days :-D)
Either way, I remember thoroughly loving it that first time I read it. I even went out of my way to read Camus’ A Happy Death after I finished even though I have very little recollection of it now other than these quotes I saved on a proto-blog I had that I’m pretty sure it was called East Coast Traditional Meets West Coast Casual or something like that (I stole it from a furniture magazine.)