Saturday, September 20, 2014


Buried amongst all of the variously bad, alarming, terrifying and plain old depressing news stories a couple of days ago was some unexpected and great news: Alison Bechdel has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship "genius" grant. 

Bechdel writes and draws comic books. She has made two of them. They are both very, very good. In fact, they are shining examples of what the medium is capable of. They are pretty harrowing going in places, and "Are You My Mother?" loses me with its feminist/literary theory at times (here I concede I am as far from her presumed target audience as it is possible to be while still being human). But they are brilliantly executed, highly readable, and I dare say you can find both of them (as I have) at your local library.

It always amazes me when someone not only can both write and draw pictures, but can do both to such a high level that the comic book is their perfect medium of self-expression. It's a rare combination of gifts. 

Well done, you.