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March 30, 2009 | by  | in Books | [ssba]

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For

Alison Bechdel has been writing her Dykes To Watch Out For series since her college days. I first read them as a Queer Studies student in 2007, but then I’m a late bloomer in some aspects. She’s had a following from my generation for two decades, and is probably the most famous feminist dyke cartoonist in the USA. Her characters move from college exploits in the early series, to the current cartoons, showing blended families, community houses, independent women’s bookshops being menaced by the ‘big-box’ retailers, librarians with attitude, and every stereotype of lesbian community relationships. Kinda like a cartoon story-board for The L-Word.

In 2006, Alison published Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, the story of her early family life, which was received with critical acclaim as the best biographical graphic novel published that year (or, I suspect, any year) in the USA. The project of collating a ‘best-of’ from DTWOF had been on her mind, and the acclaim for Fun Home gave her the space to go on with it, much to fans’ delight.

There is a newly drawn introduction from the author, and some new strips from 2008 added to the end of the series, but mostly this is a compilation for the fans. A very complete compilation, and to die for!

My copy again was supplied by the redoubtable LILAC library, and my flatmate went straight out and bought a copy, having found two or three stockists on the first look, at a reasonable discount from the $50 list price quoted by one independent feminist bookshop.

Alison Bechdel, 2008, Random House/Jonathon Cape Books.


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