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December 02, 2008

Alison Bechdel Readings Tonight and Tomorrow

Sotabechdel Back in May, Bolton cartoonist Alison Bechdel stopped creating new episodes of her 25-year-old comic strip, "Dykes to Watch Out For," which used to run in Seven Days.

If you miss the strip as much as I do, you can get your DTWOF fix by checking out The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For, a new compilation of the strips, released last month from Houghton-Mifflin. I tell you, not just because I know Alison and used to work for her, but because, being a DTWOF myself, I'm a longtime fan.

Alas, the new collection is not quite complete. Here's Alison's explanation, from her website:

I would love it if this book contained all the Dykes cartoons I ever did, from the early single-panel cartoons, to the early, pre-Mo strips, to the calendar cartoons, to the graphic novellas. But it was just too much stuff for one book. Plus it was expensive getting permission from the old publishers to reprint things.

And besides, there was a lot of older, weaker material that I was kind of happy to leave on the cutting room floor. In the end, I think ESSENTIAL represents the strip really well. It contains 390 of the extant 527 episodes. That’s 74%. Note: All the new episodes since the last collection (Invasion of the Dykes To Watch Out For, Alyson Books, 2005) are here! Numbers 458 to 527.

There’s also a 12-page “cartoonist’s introduction,” in which I look back over my career. It was hard to settle down to this task — there was a way it felt like building my own coffin — not a pleasant prospect, I assure you. But once I got into it, I think I found a way to take a historical perspective without trapping myself in amber.

For the last few weeks, Alison has been on a book tour promoting the new collection, and she finishes up with slideshows tonight and tomorrow in Vermont. Tonight at 7 p.m. she's at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, tomorrow at 7 she'll be at the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne.

I'm trying to go to the one tomorrow, but I gotta bring my 2-year-old, and I'm not sure he'll sit through it.

Photo by Jordan Silverman.

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