C. Tyler is the author of You’ll Never Know: A Graphic Memoir. In an illustrated conversation with USC Annenberg’s Henry Jenkins, C. Tyler will talk about comics, family memories, material culture, gender, generations and the stuff that gets exchanged between members of a family.
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One night, the underground cartoonist C. Tyler received a phone call from her usually taciturn 90-year-old father, a World War II veteran, who suddenly wanted to unload memories of long-ago experiences which until that moment fell into what Tyler calls “the category of ‘leave it the hell alone’ or ‘it’s none of your goddamn business.’” Tyler tried to capture her father’s memories first with a video camera and later through a trilogy of graphic novels, which expand to tell the story of her family’s history. Sometimes she uses the printed book like a scrapbook, incorporating a yellowed news clipping documenting the childhood death of her sister, or wartime letters from her father to the woman he would marry. She incorporates maps, charts and graphs designed to explain aspects of her family’s experience. Often they are used in a less than naturalistic manner, as when she offers a blueprint of her father’s surgery. Ultimately, the finished product, You’ll Never Know: A Graphic Memoir, is, as Tyler told one interviewer, about “the stuff that gets passed down to the next generation,” with “stuff” meant to describe material culture stored away in the basement, as well as the emotional baggage that her repressed and sometimes overbearing father passed to her generation.
In this illustrated conversation with Henry Jenkins, USC Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts, C. Tyler will talk about comics, family memories, material culture, gender, generations and the stuff that gets exchanged between members of a family. She will dig into her family archives and share the raw materials, including the home movies and photographs, through which she reconstructed her parents’ stories.
Organized by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Co-sponsored by the USC Gender Studies Program and the USC Comic Book Club.Image: C. Tyler