The Graphic Lives of Fathers

Memory, Representation, and Fatherhood in North American Autobiographical Comics

  • Mihaela Precup

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Comics and Graphic Novels book series (PSCGN)

About this book


“This book makes a high-quality and original contribution to the field…Mihaela Precup demonstrates a superb grasp of the scholarship in the fields of Comics Studies and autobiography studies and related areas, and the works analyzed combine widely studied examples such as Fun Home with less well discussed works such as the comics of Joe Ollmann. …Her close readings are selective and analytical, adding both depth and context to the works under discussion.”

--Ian Hague, Contextual and Theoretical Studies Coordinator, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, UK

This book explores the representation of fatherhood in contemporary North American autobiographical comics that depict paternal conduct from the post-war period up to the present. It offers equal space to autobiographical comics penned by daughters who represent their fathers’ complicated and often disappointing behavior, and to works by male cartoonists who depict and usually celebrate their own experiences as fathers. This book asks questions about how the desire to forgive or be forgiven can compromise the authors’ ethics or dictate style, considers the ownership of life stories whose subjects cannot or do not agree to be represented, and investigates the pervasive and complicated effects of dominant masculinities. By close reading these cartoonists’ complex strategies of (self-)representation, this volume also places photography and archival work alongside the problematic legacy of self-deprecation carried on from underground comics, and shows how the vocabulary of graphic narration can work with other media and at the intersection of various genres and modes to produce a valuable scrutiny of contemporary norms of fatherhood.

Mihaela Precup is an Associate Professor in the American Studies Program at the University of Bucharest, where she teaches American visual and popular culture, as well as contemporary American literature and comics studies. 


Autobiographical Comics Fatherhood North American Comics Graphic narratives Parenting Masculinity Alison Bechdel R. Crumb

Authors and affiliations

  • Mihaela Precup
    • 1
  1. 1.English DepartmentFaculty of Foreign Languages and LiteraturesBucharestRomania

Bibliographic information