Archive for April, 2006

driving around new england

April 27th, 2006

chalk dykesMan! 88 comments on that last post…I haven’t even had time to read through them all yet. But thank you. I’m a bit crazed. I was out on the road again this week, which I meant to announce before I left, but of course didn’t have time for and now my laptop has croaked, making everything infinitely more difficult. I talked about my comic strip at Wesleyan University Tuesday evening. That’s where I took this picture. ben at wesleyanAnd here’s Ben Sachs-Hamilton, a student at Wesleyan who I’ve known since he was a little kid. Interesting milestone: I’ve now officially been drawing this comic strip for longer than college students have been alive.

I forgot to take a picture at Mt. Holyoke last night because I was having so much fun.

me and hilary priceThis morning I had breakfast in Northampton, MA with Hilary Price. She does the excellent comic strip Rhymes With Orange. hilary drawingHere’s Hilary working on the drawing we did together.

Latest Episode, #486

April 22nd, 2006

Jeez, I finished this almost two weeks ago, and forgot to post it. I’m used to washing my hands of a strip once I’ve emailed it off to the newspapers, so it’s hard to remember that now I still have to put it online. Here’s the large print version for people without bionic eyesight. Episode 487 will go up on May 3.

Okay, what do people think of this possible revenue scenario: for a modest subscription fee, I email you the strips as soon as they’re done. That means you’d see them when they’re still fresh, and the current events they touch on are not yet yesterday’s news. Then I’d delay posting them online for a month or so–that way people who can’t afford to pay could still read them eventually, and people who pay could have steaming hot episodes delivered right to their in-box. What do you think of that? What about a dollar an episode? Is that reasonable? It’s a biweekly strip. so that’s two bucks a month.

Hey, and what about this? The email version could be like HBO. I could leave all the swear words in, and perhaps even have occasional frontal nudity. Instead of the #@&*’s and artful drapery that I employ in the newspaper version.

Read the rest of this entry »


April 21st, 2006

Don’t worry, I won’t start inflicting my home movies on you. But this evening I was out walking in the woods and heard a thrush sing, and I got this idea for a short video. Whenever I hear the first thrush of the season, I think of a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “Spring,” which my friend Sarah Van Arsdale taught me years ago. It perfectly captures the piercing flutelike song.

So I typed the line into iMovie as separate titles, then imported a short audio clip I’d recorded last year–for which I didn’t even use a mike, I just took my laptop out in the woods. And voilĂ ! It’s like a cartoon, but with a soundtrack instead of drawings.

our books, our shelves

April 20th, 2006

Does it make sense for bookstores to put graphic memoirs about war, cancer, and domestic violence on the same shelf as Batman? An article in today’s Philadelphia Enquirer ponders this searching question, and in the process makes a brief mention of my forthcoming book “Fun Home.”

Telling serious stories through cartooning is not novel, of course. Art Spiegelman’s Maus, about his father’s experiences during the Holocaust, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. And Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, about a girl’s life in Iran during the Islamic revolution, came out in 2003 and has become required reading for cadets at West Point.

“But what is new is that now graphic memoirs are beginning to show up on the lists of traditional publishers’ releases,” says Calvin Reid, an editor at Publishers Weekly who specializes in comics.

In other words, the big boys of the book world have come to comics and, Reid says, that is likely to change how graphic literature is shelved in bookstores, marketed by publishers, and, ultimately, received by the public.

In March, Abrams Image published Mom’s Cancer by Web cartoonist Brian Fies, and this month, Harper Paperbacks will release Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person by Miriam Engelberg. Houghton Mifflin will release Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, about her closeted gay father, in June, and in September, Knopf will launch Cancer Vixen: A True Story, by New Yorker cartoonist Marisa Acocella Marchetto.

“Bookstores have embraced graphic novels, but until now they’ve stayed in the graphic novel section, alongside science fiction and supernatural stories,” says David Roth-Ey, editorial director of Harper Perennial Paperbacks. “I think Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person will be put in the health section, and that’s a first for us. This could be a new wave.”


April 18th, 2006

Okay, I’m just hurling myself into a whole new technological plane here. This is a short video of me working on my graphic novel “Fun Home” last summer, and explaining a little bit about my peculiar obsessive-compulsive process. Video shot by Amy Rubin.

Uh..having trouble getting the video embedded in this new website. Here’s the link to it on YouTube.

Queer Comics exhibit in San Francisco

April 16th, 2006

Originally uploaded by Alison Bechdel.

If you’re gonna be in Frisco between now and June 22, check out this great exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum. There’s work by Craig Bostick (Go-Go Girl), Paige Braddock (Jane’s World), Tim Fish (Cavalcade of Boys, Strugglers), Leanne Franson (Liliane, Bi-Dyke), David Kelly (Steven’s Comics), Robert Kirby (Curbside, Boy Trouble), Ariel Schrag (Potential), Jennifer Camper (Rude Girls and Dangerous Women, subGURLZ), Tristan Crane with Ted Naifeh (How Loathsome), Diane DiMassa (Hothead Paisan), Roberta Gregory (Bitchy Bitch), Justin Hall (Glamazonia, The Uncanny SuperTranny), Eric Orner (The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green), Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze) and David Wojnarowicz with James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook (Seven Miles a Second).

The show will also feature “individual spotlights” on yours truly and Howard Cruse, creator of the series Wendel and the award-winning graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby.

cavalcade o’guys

April 12th, 2006

I went down to White River Junction today to hear a panel discussion with Chris Ware, Seth, and Ivan Brunetti at the Center for Cartoon Studies. I forgot my camera so I had to draw. Here’s Seth. Seth
And Chris Ware. chris ware
And Ivan Brunetti. ivan brunetti
And James Sturm, the director of the school. james sturm

Episode 485

April 7th, 2006

Here’s the latest strip, hosted on Flickr again until I get something better figured out. Apologies to everyone whose browsers won’t enable them to read it. Soon, one way or another, I’ll have a functional setup for everyone. Read the rest of this entry »