The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel
Reviewed by John Glover, Reference Librarian for the Humanities
The first strip of Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel's famous counterculture comic strip, appeared in 1983. The strips collected in this volume chronicle the massive changes that took place between then and 2008, built into and around the lives of a group of recurring characters. Over the twenty-five years covered, they watch, protest, observe, are part of, and rail against what's going on in the United States and the world, always bringing an LGBT perspective to what's happening. That perspective changes over time, reflecting increased acceptance of the characters by society even as they struggle to define themselves and remain true to ideals that parenthood, marriage, and increased acceptance itself force them to reconsider. This collection is by turns funny, sad, engaging, and eye-opening in its frank and forthright treatment of the lives of LGBT people in the United States over the last quarter century. Bechdel, author of the award-winning autobiography Fun Home, draws in a style reminiscent of her stylistic idols, Hergé and R. Crumb.