By December 4, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Dykes to Watch Out For, The Greatest Hits

EDTWOF cover

Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir, Fun Home, received rave reviews all over the place when it came out. It’s an insightful, tender, exquisitely and excruciatingly detailed coming-of-age story, in which the author discovers that she is gay, and in quick succession learns that her father was a closeted homosexual just before his accidental death.

But Bechdel’s memoir, lauded as it is (and rightly so), is not how most readers were introduced to her comic artistry. It all started with a little strip called “Dykes to Watch Out For.”

I was aware of the strip at the time, and saw calendars and books in independent bookstores, but did not pick it up until after I read Fun Home.

I placed holds on my library’s flimsy, Garfield-sized copies, and reveled in their humor, warmth and drama (when the pages weren’t falling out). I found it ironic and a little sad to find that life hadn’t changed much in 15+ years: the characters were all complaining about Bush (Senior), the war in Iraq (Desert Storm), homophobia (yes, still with us) and threats to women’s rights (also still with us). Bechdel had her finger on the pulse of her times, and also did what few people were doing at the time–focusing on lesbian characters.

Just in time for the holidays, a selection of the “Dykes to Watch Out For” comics are being released in a hardcover. The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For is now available. The New York Times just published a lovely review and included a nice slideshow. 

I know what I am putting on my wish list.

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About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

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