Every three years, a new cartoonist laureate is crowned in Vermont. After the ceremony at the Vermont capitol in Montpelier, Alison Bechdel came straight down to The Center for Cartoon Studies. After some lovely words from Michelle Ollie, she talked about what her career has been, how she got to this point.
Alison Bechdel has been making waves in the last five years. In 2014, she won the MacArthur Grant. In 2015, the Off-Broadway musical adaptation of her graphic novel Fun Home won a Tony Award for Best Musical.
But when she started, she was making comics for herself, Dykes to Watch Out For. Everyone wants to know what it was like being the voice of a generation. But, no. She never did that. It was just comics about her and her friends’ life experiences. It was just their lives, not a poignant statement. But from small truths, we often get the most important tales.
Alison also spoke about the Bechdel Test, which was actually thought up by one of her friends. Alison happened to communicate it to the world. It caught on. The Bechdel Test is a way to look at works of fiction: Do at least two female characters talk to each other about something other than a male character?
Photos courtesy Abe Olson.