The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing

Intermission for class today: Fun Home

Here are three pages from Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home (Houghton Mifflin, 2006). The first two — from the first chapter, “Old Father, Old Artificer” — contrast young Alison and her father. He was a high school English teacher who invested considerable energy and skill into restoring the old 19th century Gothic Revival house that they lived in to exacting and authentic standards. 

And then this page from the beginning of chapter three, “That Old Catastrophe,” describing her parents’ response after she comes out to them while she’s in college. Not long after she sent that letter, her father was killed when he was struck by a Wonder Bread truck in what might have been an accident or might have been suicide.

Intermission for class today: Asterios Polyp

Here are five pages from David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp (Pantheon Graphic Library, 2009). In this scene the protagonist named in the title of the book, a self-important architecture professor and his girlfriend Hana, a Japanese American artist who is caring and patient, are with Willy Chimera, a collaborator of Hana’s, who takes them to meet Kalvin Kohoutek, an experimental composer. You don’t need to get too caught up in following the details of the intellectual conversation between them, but how do the visuals of this scene convey what’s going on between the four characters?

Mazzuchelli_Asterios Polyp 205-210