Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist

Bill Griffith. Fantagraphics, $29.99 hardcover (208p) ISBN 978-1-60699-895-3
This autobiographical story by the creator of Zippy the Pinhead will ring true to anyone who has ever watched their parents’ marital misery around the dinner table and wondered what was really going on. When Griffith’s father returns from war and finds himself demoted due to military cost-cutting measures, his authority—and, by association, his masculinity—is diminished, leaving him unemployed and leading him to become a tyrant at home. That behavior intensifies when his wife steps up and applies for work as secretary to the prolific cartoonist and pulp fiction writer Lawrence Lariar, a position that blossoms into a years-long affair. Weaving a tapestry of family dysfunction and clandestine liaisons set against the backdrop of the 1950s and ’60s, Griffith’s journey of discovery and uncovering of long-buried truths depicts the deterioration of his parents’ relationship, and his mother’s problematic discovery of sexual fulfillment in an extramarital affair. Discovering all this only later in life, Griffith comes to know and understand his close-mouthed parents in ways that he never could have while they were still alive, and his archaeology of his family’s past is an evocative portrait of postwar America. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/21/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Comics
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