The Fun Family
Created by Benjamin Frisch.
Looks—and surnames—are deceiving in Benjamin Frisch’s debut graphic novel, The Fun Family, “a surreal exploration of the fractured suburban family” (Publishers Weekly). They may look like they’re straight out of Family Circus, but for the Funs, life in sunny Suburbia is about to get dark—very dark.
Robert Fun is a successful cartoonist whose work is based on his own family life. He’s earned a devoted following for his circle-shaped newspaper comic strip, celebrating the wholesome American family. His wife, Marsha, keeps a beautiful home while juggling the activities of their four children, Robby, Molly, Mikey and J.T. Things just couldn’t be more perfect.
Until… a death in the family leads to a bizarre secret being revealed when Robert shares his underground porcelain doll second family (yes, you read that correctly) with his son Robby. When Robby blurts out the secret in a family therapy session, the Funs are pushed to their limits. Pot roasts, movie nights and summer camp are traded in for sadness cocoons, church-loving ghosts, crackpot doctors and some major child labor law violations.
Marsha moves out and begins to enjoy her life outside of the “prison of family life,” and Robert puts even more pressure on his children to grow up too fast when he puts Robby to work as his ghostwriter/artist, making him the sole breadwinner of the household. The foundation of the American Dream begins to crack before our eyes, leaving the Fun kids to pick up the pieces.
With cunning satire, The Fun Family dives deep into the desperation of a family trying to hold it all together and weighs heavy with the resulting baggage they’ll likely be tormented with their entire lives. In a time when people strive to create the perfect persona on social media, Benjamin Frisch uses the quaintness of 1980’s Sunday comics to deconstruct childhood, adulthood, and good old American image obsession.