Drawing On the Truth

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“It’s a tricky business, legitimacy. Often, as we dole it out, our decisions are informed by invisible forces that are anything but objective. Who sets the standards? What happens when we label someone else’s story as invalid? And how could the benefits possibly outweigh the risks?”

The above is from Kim O’Connor’s extensive piece, “Penis Rays, Self-Loathing and Psychic Voodoo: Autobiographical Cartoonists on Truth and Lies,” published over at The Awl today.

Through interviews with greats like Alison Bechdel, Phoebe Gloeckner, Justin Green, Aline Kominsky Crumb, Seth, and Craig Thompson, and assessment of the work of Joe Sacco, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, and Lynda Barry, O’Connor asks what responsibility the artist has when it comes to handling the truth in autobiographical graphic novels and comics.

For some complementary reading, check out the recent Rumpus interviews between MariNaomi and Alison Bechdel and Anne Elizabeth Moore and Lynda Barry. And one from the archives: “R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman Talk Comics.”


Rebecca Rubenstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Midnight Breakfast. When not reading books made of paper, she can be found thinking aloud on Twitter. She resides in San Francisco and maintains a healthy relationship with the fog. Rebecca is Interviews Editor Emeritus for The Rumpus. More from this author →