In her recently published book Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics, Hillary Chute explores the aesthetics and politics of five acclaimed autobiographical comics by women.
Three of those artists who she writes about in Graphic Women she also mentions in an interview with FiveBooks. More specifically among the five books she cites as some of the best graphic narratives, she recommends Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Lynda Barry’s One Hundred Demons, and Love That Bunch, by Aline Kominsky-Crumb.
Here’s an excerpt in which she discusses Alison Bechdel’s meticulous redrawing of family documents by hand to re-present the author’s past.
When comics are interesting, they’re a hand-made form. That’s the connection between comics and autobiography. On every page of the comic you have an index of the body of the person making it. I think redrawing all these documents gives her a way of going back into her family history and marking it with her own body. It’s an amazing act of self-possession – taking control of the archives, making a shadow archive, mimicking. It’s very much about being a child – what it’s like being a child relating to parents.
Read some praise for Graphic Women.