2024 Student Research Conference:
37th Annual Student Research Conference

Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: An Intrinsically Queer Comic

Robin Kincaid
Dr. Heidi Cook, Faculty Mentor

In 2006, Alison Bechdel published Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, a graphic memoir chronicling her childhood with her closeted gay father and the aftermath of his passing. Once Alison comes to terms with her lesbianism, she recontextualizes her family in terms of how it was changed by hidden or unrecognized queerness. This project examines Bechdel’s use of the medium of comics to meditate on the questions of Fun Home. I argue the novel’s specific medium allows readers to intimately experience Alison’s subjectivities. The novel subtly details queerness’s impact on her family without reinforcing stereotypes common in mainstream comics culture. Furthermore, Fun Home’s dual visual and literary qualities, and rejection of simplistic conclusions, inherently queer the novel. This presentation will expand on how techniques like closure, multiple gazes, juxtaposition of images and text, and visual iconography address questions about how a queer person constructs her lived experience between extremes. 

Keywords: Alison Bechdel, Fun Home, comics, graphic novel, LGBTQ, memoir, queer identity, family dysfunction

Topic(s):Art History
Women's and Gender Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 305-3
Location: SUB 3201
Time: 1:15

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