This Used to be a Fun Home

Fun Home musical poster

Fun Home musical poster

I’d read about this years ago and hadn’t heard about it again until today, but Alison Bechdel‘s graphic novel memoir Fun Home has been adapted into a musical by composer Jeanine Tesori and is now up at the Public Theater.  Don’t know how I missed the premiere a full year ago, but better late than never…  Here’s the latest New York Times review.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home, Copyright Alison Bechdel

Obviously Bechdel is (or maybe was, before Fun Home) best known for her long-running strip Dykes to Watch Out For, and Tesori is known for musicals like Violet and Caroline, or Change, though also for the Shrek musical and for scoring several Disney animated sequels and prequels…  Here’s a clip of the production of Violet at Endstation Theatre in Virginia:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__oiuVMbqgM&w=350&h=300]

In other Tesori news, the score of Caroline, or Change is now available to stream on Spotify!  Good preparation maybe…

Retro Wonder Woman

DC Comics’ premiere heroine recently received a rocking retro reinvention in their DC Nation series of shorts.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHZKIVS3h2g&w=350&h=300]

Created by cartoonist, animator, and illustrator Robert Valley, these shorts have brought Wonder Woman some much-need media exposure at a time when higher-ups in DC Entertainment cite her “tricky” background as an impediment to her own TV show or movie.  Sue, the blogger on DC Women Kicking Ass, has used these shorts as proof to the contrary, and Comics Alliance called them the cartoon equivalent to a summer jam.

The shorts so far are now officially available in full on YouTube, starting with the one above.  Here are Part 2 & Part 3.  I have to admit I found the last installment pretty sexy, what with Wonder Woman saving dude-in-distress Steve Trevor on a surfboard, full 70s style.

Bechdel Test Visualized

My sister shared these charts with me the other day, visualizing the proportion of movies that pass the Bechdel Test, which is made up of 3 rules as follows:

1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

This is of course named after famous cartoonist Alison Bechdel, whose long-running strip Dykes to Watch Out For basically always passed the test…  Even though in this case, which may actually be the very first strip, from 1987, it’s two lesbian women talking about women…  Seems like a technicality…

Cartoonist David Willis is always pointing out sexism in the geek world in Shortpacked!, and in his college webcomic Dumbing of Age he has a whole chapter called “The Bechdel Test” in which a Gender Studies class applies it to their own favorite movies:

Data visualization is another big emerging field in the library world apparently, so I was quite taken by those Bechdel charts.  Wish I’d thought about it first…

show us yer boobs…

Oglaf creators Doug Bayne & Trudy Cooper provide this little gem about the unrealistic pressures women warriors nowadays have to face, re: showing their tits.

Oglaf webcomic: Glamazon Way

Oglaf copyright Trudy Cooper & Doug Bayne

This comes at a good time, given all the discussion in mainstream American comics about strong female characters and the tendency of their costumes to expose as much skin as possible…  Wouldn’t want anyone thinking they’re some kind of turbo dyke!

Wonder Women of (not through) History

If you’re like me and you missed PBS‘ screening of Kristy Guevara-Flanagan‘s documentary Wonder Women!, you’re in luck, because the whole thing is up on the Independent Lens documentary minisite for your viewing pleasure.

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines on PBS

It occurred to me after posting on Monday that my title sounded kinda familiar…  Here’s why:

Wonder Women of History by Alice Marble

As Brian Cronin lays out in this installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed, Wonder Woman‘s 1940s series, by what was then All-American Publications, was graced with the #1 woman’s tennis champion as associate editor!  After retiring from her historic tennis career, Alice Marble went about publicizing Wonder Woman as a icon for young girls and wrote a back-up segment in each issue celebrating notable historic women.  Adorable, no?  Click on the image for the full post and the full Nightingale story too!

Alice Marble had a pretty eventful retirement, later claiming that she had worked as a spy for the US government during WWII.  When I was taking my first class on making comics, with cartoonist Tom Motley, I actually wound up using her as my subject!  Not the greatest, but if you’re curious about Marble or my art “skills”, the story is up in full on my woefully neglected DeviantArt account:

My short comic about Alice Marble

Ms. Marble, by Me!

Wonder Women through History

WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines from Vaquera Films on Vimeo.

Short notice since I thought this was airing later, but tonight, in a new installment of PBS’ Independent Lens series of documentaries, is the nationwide TV premiere of Kristy Guevara-Flanagan‘s Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.  The movie looks at how depictions of female characters in popular media, especially superheroes, reflected changing attitudes towards women and women’s issues throughout American history, starting with the grandmommy of them all, Wonder Woman!

You can learn more about the film on PBS’s site for it, including additional air times.  PBS has an interview with the director as does Newsarama.

This double feature might’ve worked better if I’d posted a bit earlier, but PBS has a web-series called Off Book on new forms of artistic expression, and there’s one on Webcomics!

Lucy Knisley is an interviewee, and they show a whooole lot of xkcd and SMBC

Gender through Comics

If you like discussing gender and society and you love comics, the free Gender through Comic Books online class from Muncie, Indiana’s Ball State University may be the MOOC for you (that’s Massive Open Online Course, btw).  Taught by doctoral assistant Christina Blanch, you can see the assigned reading list on Comixology.  Sort of an appropriate way to mark Women’s History Month, even if it does start in April… 

Enroll here; class starts next week on April 2nd.

I learned about this from DC Women Kicking Ass which, despite it’s narrow-sounding focus, is still a great place for anyone concerned about representations of women and diversity in general in maisntream American comics.