The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For

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by Alison Bechdel
     
 

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From the author of Fun Home—the lives, loves, and politics of cult fav characters Mo, Lois, Sydney, Sparrow, Ginger, Stuart, Clarice, and others

For twenty-five years Bechdel’s path-breaking Dykes to Watch Out For strip has been collected in award-winning volumes (with a quarter of a million copies in print), syndicated in fifty alternative newspapers,

Overview

From the author of Fun Home—the lives, loves, and politics of cult fav characters Mo, Lois, Sydney, Sparrow, Ginger, Stuart, Clarice, and others

For twenty-five years Bechdel’s path-breaking Dykes to Watch Out For strip has been collected in award-winning volumes (with a quarter of a million copies in print), syndicated in fifty alternative newspapers, and translated into many languages. Now, at last, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For gathers a “rich, funny, deep and impossible to put down” (Publishers Weekly) selection from all eleven Dykes volumes. Here too are sixty of the newest strips, never before published in book form.

Settle in to this wittily illustrated soap opera (Bechdel calls it “half op-ed column and half endless serialized Victorian novel”) of the lives, loves, and politics of a cast of characters, most of them lesbian, living in a midsize American city that may or may not be Minneapolis.
Her brilliantly imagined countercultural band of friends—academics, social workers, bookstore clerks—fall in and out of love, negotiate friendships, raise children, switch careers, and cope with aging parents.

Bechdel fuses high and low culture—from foreign policy to domestic routine, hot sex to postmodern theory—in a serial graphic narrative “suitable for humanists of all persuasions.”

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This weighty and winning volume could well be titled 'Alison Bechdel's Greatest Hits.' It features faves from 11 past collections, as well as recent strips, and underscores why Bechel is at the forefront of the growing graphic movement."—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Dwight Garner
Taken together, these comic strips don't have the tightly coiled impact of Fun Home, but in some ways they offer greater consolations—they're looser, more funny, and they offer the chance to watch a group of very appealing women grow and change (and struggle to have better sex) over the course of more than two decades. Ms. Bechdel calls her strips "half op-ed column and half endlessly serialized Victorian novel," and that's not far off. I suspect that, over the years, Dykes to Watch Out For has been as important to new generations of lesbians as landmark novels like Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle (1973) and Lisa Alther's Kinflicks (1976) were to an earlier one…The most important thing to know about The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, however, is how deeply amusing it is. It crackles with one-liners.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

This ongoing comic strip chronicles the lives of a tight-knit group of lesbian friends over an astounding 21 years of life, work, love, boredom, political activism and countless reversals of fortune. At its heart are six women: the promiscuous Lois, a feminist bookstore clerk with a penchant for gender-bending; her two roommates, the overworked academic Ginger and self-identified "bisexual lesbian" Sparrow; their domestically partnered friends Clarice and Toni; and Mo, who despite (or perhaps because of) her frequent politically charged outbursts of neurosis is the hub of her circle. These characters, flawed but endearing, are brought to life by Bechdel's quirky artistic sensibility. Facial expressions are carefully nuanced, and she seems to take great joy in using small details to differentiate emotions. Late in the collection, when a character receives treatment for cancer, a tiny caret in her cheek is enough to transform her from a fresh-faced mischief-maker into a sallow and frightened chemo patient. What cannot be overemphasized is the sheer scope of the collection, which follows these women from idealistic young adulthood to contentedly disillusioned middle age and, for some, parenthood. All eventually end up a little more haggard than they began, but there isn't one whose Bechdel-illustrated bags under her eyes were not hard fought for and hard won. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618968800
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
11/12/2008
Series:
Dykes to Watch Out For Series
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
155,819
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

ALISON BECHDEL has been a careful archivist of her own life and kept a journal since she was ten. Since 1983 she has been chronicling the lives of various characters in the fictionalized “Dykes to Watch Out For” strip, “one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period” (Ms.). The strip is syndicated in 50 alternative newspapers, translated into multiple languages, and collected into a book series with a quarter of a million copies in print. Utne magazine has listed DTWOF as “one of the greatest hits of the twentieth century.”

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