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A Comics Genius: FUN HOME Creator Alison Bechdel Wins MacArthur Grant

It’s official: Alison Bechdel is a genius.

Or, at least the MacArthur Foundation believes that the Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home creator deserves one of this year’s genius grants. The $625,000 prize is given to U.S. citizens who “have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction,” according to the foundation’s own mission statement.

Pennsylvania native Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For – serialized between 1983 and 2008 – took a look at the lives and loves of lesbians. Her at times funny and often harrowing comic memoir Fun Home (2006) looked at life living with an English teacher father who struggled with depression.

Some of you might know her name from the so-called “Bechdel Test,” which originated from “The Rule,” an installment of Dykes. The three-question standard for women in film requires that a minimum of two women are captured talking in a film about a subject other than a man, and that both characters be named. “The Rule” skewered then (as now) contemporary film’s tendency to marginalize women unless they were talking about or included in a man’s story.

The MacArthur Foundation site says the cartoonist was awarded one of this year’s grants for her sophisticated narratives which captured the impact of the lesbian community in culture and the world.

Bechdel joins 20 other fellows this year, including scientists, poets, and musicians. Among those is The Art of Killing filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer. Seriously, if you have access to Netflix, just watch this fascinating look at the impact of war and brutal violence in a country still reeling from decades of anti-Communist terror as some of the torturers and abusers join the filmmaker in staging an action movie spectacle which will reenact some of their most brutal acts of violence.

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]

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