Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is Alison Bechdel's first graphic memoir. Bechdel, who has been working as a cartoonist since the 1980s, took seven years to complete Fun Home. Its publication in 2006 brought her wide literary renown.
Bechdel used Adobe Illustrator to create Fun Home. She started by drafting a storyboard with notes about what each of the drawings would represent. She then printed out the text-filled pages and began drawing by hand. She used tracing paper to add layer upon layer to her frames as a way of endowing her images with nuance and intricacy.
During the illustrating process, Bechdel used family photographs and Google Image searches to research how people dressed during past eras and to envision settings she could not remember in detail. She also posed for self-portraits, mimicking the positions that various characters in her scenes were supposed to be in, and based her sketches on those photographs.
Once the pencil sketches were complete, Bechdel then used a drawing pen to "ink" the drawings. Afterwards, she erased the pencil marks and scanned the ink images into Adobe Photoshop. She painted with watered-down ink to craft a separate layer of shaded images, scanned them as well, and then used Photoshop to combine the two layers. This process allowed her to give the images more depth.
Fun Home was received very well by readers and critics. The tome spent two weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. It also won an Eisner Award and was nominated for several other awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Fun Home has attracted mostly positive attention from academics and is widely studied by scholars of cultural studies, gender studies, and other fields. However, its content has also been the subject of controversy. Conservative groups have challenged the inclusion of Fun Home in some university curriculums. The residents of a Missouri town successfully campaigned to have Fun Home removed from the public library - but it was allowed back in after only five months.
A musical adaptation of Fun Home, written by Lisa Kron and with a score by Jeanine Tesori, ran off-Broadway at New York's Public Theater during the 2013-14 season. Like Bechdel's book, the play was well received and had its run extended multiple times. It was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical, and the Obie Award for Musical Theater. Fun Home will be coming to Broadway in the Spring of 2015.