(Not-such) Fun hype
As every former child prodigy knows, high expectations are both a blessing and a curse.
A blessing, because past accomplishments open doors which might otherwise stay closed; a curse, because where others are free to hone their craft in obscurity, the prodigy is watched by every critical eye the moment they through that specially-opened portal.
Alison Bechdel was no child prodigy, but she had a long run as a strip cartoonist during which time she was able to hone her craft in a gradually decreasing obscurity with Dykes to Watch Out For, an episodic strip that managed (at least to some extent) to broaden Bechdel's audience from its lesbian (and gay) base to many people who simply liked good comics.
But getting your work noticed by The Comics Journal is not in the same league as creating Time Magazine's Book of the Year for 2006, as Bechdel's first graphic novel, Fun Home, was. My copy opens with three pages of review excerpts containing words like "Masterful" and comparisons to David Sedaris, Charles Dickens and Vladimir Nabokov, among others.
High praise indeed; not many books could live up to it all. Does Bechdel's?
No surprises: it doesn't. So why all the hype?