Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fathers and daughters

Hillary Chute profiles Alison Bechdel at the Voice; Powell's also has a very interesting conversation between Bechdel and cartoonist-graphic novelist Craig Thompson. (Thanks to Sara Ryan for the link.)

The funniest part of their exchange comes after they've been talking about writing versus drawing (Bechdel having characterized herself as more comfortable with writing than the visual):

Bechdel: Really, though. I feel like as part of a younger generation you've been exposed to more visual language. And you've internalized it. At least that's my theory about you. I would never think of the way you see those things.

Thompson: If we're going to talk generations of cartoonists... you're older than I thought.

Bechdel: I'm very old. I'm forty-five.

Thompson: I had no clue. But Joe Sacco is roughly the same age, and he's also very young-looking, like you. The cartoonist Seth...

Bechdel: I just met Seth.

Thompson: I was surprised that he is as old as he is.

How old is Craig Thompson?!? (Born in 1975, I learn from Wikipedia.) It does sound funny, though, doesn't it? Not very polite, although I don't know why we should care--the place where he said "I had no clue" is where he should have said "Oh, that's not very old!"

In any case everyone should read Fun Home (here's what I had to say about it in June). I sent a huge box of books recently to my brother who was hanging around in Alpine, Texas with not much to do, I wrote on a post-it "read this first, it is a work of complete genius" and stuck it onto the front of Bechdel's book.

(Then I got sucked into writing annotations on a lot more post-its too for the other fifteen or so books I sent, it was pretty maniacal--I had a horrifying glimpse of a mad elderly future self going around sticking crazy notes on books and sending them to everyone I know....).

And when I talked to him the next week (charmingly he had in the meantime found something to occupy himself--his girlfriend's working on a movie down there but in the end he wasn't able to get hired on the job though he thought he might--& was at work in a carport next to a geodesic dome building the prototype puppets for a piece of puppet theater written by Daniel Day-Lewis's eight-year-old child, to be performed in a lunch truck on the set of There Will Be Blood, which is an adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel Oil! whose title really does include that exclamation point). And he agreed that it is a work of genius. And if I have inappropriately breached either family or movie-set privacy rules someone must e-mail me and tell me to edit this post retroactively.

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