Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For

2005, first edition, published by Alyson Books
Alison Bechdel
Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For
Bought new for $14.95
Slightly worn paperback

While there's still some good, sometimes funny, stuff here, I found it somewhat of a downer, as even Bechdel acknowledges, in a wall-breaking sequence (which also shows Stuart as a leather daddy).  It's not even because of the War on Terror, since her characters have seen (and protested against) past wars and invasions.  It's more how they interact with each other, especially in the bonus story, "Theory & Practice," where Sydney cheats on Mo (with an ex-lover and fellow cancer survivor) and, more heartbreakingly, Toni cheats on Clarice with long-time crush Gloria.  Yes, Toni and Clarice have discussed polyamory in the past, but this is not a negotiated outside relationship; it's clearly presented as something hidden and dishonest.  

Less troubling, I didn't like some of Stuart's child-rearing ideas, not just for the baby he and Sparrow have together, but for Jonas-Janis, who still drops by a lot.  Since he becomes a stay-at-home dad, no one really challenges him on this, although he does get yelled at for not respecting the Christianity of Cynthia, Ginger's right-wing lesbian student.

Yeah, it's not the small inbred DTWOF world of a couple decades before.  Well, it's still very inter-related, but more complexly than when it seemed to just be mostly Mo, Harriet, Toni, Clarice, and Lois.  I don't own 2008's The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, which had most of the strips to that point.  I've read online what's happened to some of the characters, and I would like to see a 2010s update someday, but this isn't a bad place to end.

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