hardcover, harvey, hens-of-the-woods, haircuts

October 16th, 2008 | Uncategorized

1. I got my advance copy of The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For the other day. See? All my various collections squeezed through a funnel into one large, handsome, hardcover tome.

You will find most, but not all, of the 527 extant episodes of the strip here. (If you care to, you can read this for details on exactly what is and isn’t included in the book, and why.) Everyone who contributed to the Daily Distress fake tabloid will be getting their copy in the near future.

It’s a little overwhelming to have such a beautiful book full of my cartoons. I can only pick it up and look at it for small doses. I’m also extremely happy about some early reviews that have been coming in. Booklist gave it a starred review which ends with this sentence. “Bechdel’s comics autobiography Fun Home (2006) has brought her much greater general attention than Dykes ever did, but make no mistake—the strip is her masterpiece.” Is that AWESOME or what?

2. Tomorrow I’m going to Charlotte, NC, where I’ll be doing an event for the Novello Festival of Reading with Harvey Pekar. Remember the graphic I did for this back in August?
harvey and me

We’re also doing a signing at Heroes, a comic book shop in Charlotte.

3. Here’s a short film I made of my cat being savagely set upon by wild forest chickens.

hens of the woods

Well, not exactly. But my cat does feature prominently in it, and so do my neighbors’ itinerant hens.

4. On the last post, Noominal asked for tips on short haircuts. I just visited one of my very favorite barbershops–Astor Place in NYC. See the side of my head here?
Photo 315
That’s your #1 clipper guard. One eighth of an inch.

5. Our friend June has just been to Japan. She and her girlfriend made this very wonderful video of themselves reciting Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “Questions of Travel.”

6. State By State. has gotten some more press. AfterEllen makes special note of the lesbo contributors to the book–me and Carrie Brownstein.

And the NYTBR gave State by State a nice review in the last issue–thanks to the folks who linked to it on the last post. My essay got a mention. “Lovely and fact-filled.” Fact-filled! I can’t think of anything I’d rather be.

59 Responses to “hardcover, harvey, hens-of-the-woods, haircuts”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I started read this post and stopped to preorder EDTWF. I’m pretty excited!!! Thank you for all your amazing work.

  2. simmonsgal says:

    I just received a email from the IT department at my work with my most visited websites. (a reminder that they monitor our web activity daily) Anyway, my most visited website on a daily basis is DTWOF!!! I love your work Alison. Even my professor refers to it in “Visual Communications” class. Keep it up!

  3. CateinTO says:

    >“Bechdel’s comics autobiography Fun Home (2006) has brought her much greater general attention than Dykes ever did, but make no mistake—the strip is her masterpiece.” Is that AWESOME or what?

    That IS awesome!!!!!!

    (Running off to order two copies, to satisfy the insatiable ache for a visit from the gang)

  4. BrooklynPhil says:

    DTWOF is indeed a masterpiece– something that harkens to other works of literature (or other media), explores the author’s unique point of view, is both topical and timeless, and offers new readings each time it’s read.

    I can’t wait to add the Essential to my library.


  5. LondonBoy says:

    I want!

  6. shadocat says:

    Such an informative post! It’s good to know the Big Book is nearly here…

    I loved June and Rosemary’s video; always wanted to visit Japan.

    And to the good Dr: I feel your pain. I was set upon by my grandma’s chickens when I was about four, and STILL have the infrequent nightmare about it.

  7. Ready2Agitate says:

    Congratulations, Alison! Woo-hoo!

    And what a beautiful portrait of the good doctor setting ‘pon the porch at the end of the chicken video (must run find kittie now). Cute funnel too. Lots of smiles tonight…

  8. Debs says:

    When you said “hen of the woods” I assumed you meant the mushroom! Which makes the idea of it attacking your cat even funnier.


  9. Ginjoint says:

    That poem video…what a cool idea. It makes me want to do something similar in my own city. (It would have to be here, because I never go anywhere.)

    And masterpiece…yeah, I’d say that fits. I’m planning on buying my copy of Essential at Women & Children First, when you come next month.

  10. Heidi says:

    Yesterday I finally ordered State by State from my local feminist bookstore. Now I’m just waiting for it to come in. Sure, I could have gotten it somewhere else immediately, but it’s worth the wait. Plus, delayed gratification is more exciting anyway, right?

  11. sillipitti says:

    It’s probably been there for months, but allow me do praise the greying temples–very dashing.

  12. Ian says:

    That review is completely awesome and fantabulosa! Of course, us fans’ve known about your masterpiece for a while now and it’s about bloody time the mainstream is starting to cotton on to it.

    Ah the good Dr. Chickens are strangely intimidating, but nowhere near as bad as geese, or seagulls. I’ve had friends mugged for their ice cream or fish n’ chips at the seaside. My Auntie Win used to keep geese that apparently chased my Uncle David around the garden! She didn’t need an anti-fox cage as the geese used to beat up the foxes! The good Dr obviously needs cuddles n’ kitty treats for easing of said trauma. Do they have coyotes in Vermont? If they’re not careful, those chickens’ll get ate.

  13. Aunt Soozie says:

    That’s a way seriously cool haircut… it does bring out the gray.. nice. I was looking at those super heros on Alison’s flickr page and wondering how she’d cope if’n each one o’her boobs was as big as her head… be alot o’getting used to… and I also love Harvey Super Hero’s socks and loafers… a bit of himself remains even after the transformation. Wish I could be in Charlotte to hear you.
    Maybe next time you’re in NY or PA. oh well… and can’t WAIT to get my hands on my EDTWOF! I think I may have to order a few too… gifties and all… Ian… I think they’d done git et. but, I guess it all depends where you hail from… geese are far more scarier… they’ll come for you.

  14. Miss Z says:

    If I have all eleven volumes of DTWOF, The Indelible Alison Bechdel, Gay Comics #19, Juicy Mother #1 and #2, Fun Home and State By State, am I missing anything else penned by Alison that is still in print?

    Also, Alison, a belated and very heartfelt thank you for your beautiful sketch of you and your father in my copy of Fun Home while you were in San Diego for Comic Con. Truly, it was your suggestion but it could not have been more apt. My father, with whom I always had a difficult relationship, passed away in the following November. Your memoir is an inspiration and a comfort.

  15. Ready2Agitate says:

    Miss Z or Noominal, I kinda feel like sending one of you my copy of The Daily Distress if there aren’t any more. Do both of you already have it…? (a genuine offer) — spread the mirth around (yes, a bad paraphrase of one of those two very talkative male candidates I’m getting very tired of in these final weeks).

  16. Ready2Agitate says:

    ps The red star on Harvey Pekar’s pee-pee reminds me of the sad scene in “American Splendor” where his wife discovers a lump — prostate cancer (although Wikipedia says he suffered from lymphoma). The cancer graphics he’s drawn are powerful and powerfully cathartic.

  17. Ready2Agitate says:

    oops but now I remember he didn’t always draw the artwork. but still…

  18. Miss Z says:


    No, I don’t have The Daily Distress, but now that you mention it, I remember what it is. How did you get your copy? And thanks for your lovely offer to spread the wealth, er, um, mirth! I would love one!

  19. The Cat Pimp says:

    Congrats on the great reviews as well as the eminently pettable haircut.

  20. minnie says:

    Awesome indeed, Booklist’s review! I was moved to go check my Powell’s Books order for “The essential Dykes To Watch Out For”, and it’s still there, “locked”. That means no funny stuff like canceling the order.

    Tickled to know this multi-faceted blog entry is here to delve into later. (Feral fowl?!)

    Ahh, Harvey Pekar — I hope he’s doing well. Oh to drink in his knowledge and love of Jazz…
    Have a wonderful time.

  21. Hey, there are still a few Daily Distresses if anyone wants one! Just send me a 9 x 12 SASE and I’ll mail ya one. Or a small envelope if you dont mind it getting all folded up. Po Box 215, Jonesville, VT, 05466

  22. NLC says:

    For Miss Z (and my other fellow completists):

    A couple other items that I’m aware of:

    “What do Cats Dream” and “What do Dogs Dream”: Text by Louise Rafkin with illustrations by AB. (I’m not sure of the actual “in print” status, but there are copies available on Amazon.)

    “Found Goddesses: Asphalta to Viscera”: Text by Morgan Grey and Julia Penelope with illustrations by AB. (Ditto its availability)

    There is a pair of strips that appear in the “The Indelible..”, which AB wrote with Harvey Pekar. These also appears in one of the volumes of “American Splendor”.

  23. irezei says:

    Good news! But I still miss the strip, especially in the actual political situation – I can SO imagine what all the caracters would have to say (and to do) about the presidential elections and the economic crisis and… sigh!

  24. judybusy says:

    Hooray! I almost never buy books, but this one I will, from the local bookstore fka Amazon, now True Colors in Minneapolis! Congratulations, Alison–

  25. Miss Z says:

    Alison – I’m sending my SASE off today! Thanks much!

    NLC – Ah, yes. Thanks for reminding me about Cats and Dogs. Was not aware of Goddesses. Do you know if there are more collaborations with Pekar than the ones in Indelible?

  26. Adena says:

    Your masterpiece! Absolutely. It’s so satisfying when reviewers get something right. Any chance you’ll be coming back to the Big Blue Marble bookstore in Philadelphia? Maybe in December?

  27. chriso says:

    I’ve already had my friend place a hold for me on EDTWF at the bookstore sie works at so I will get it IMMEDIATELY upon arrival and be supporting a rad local bookstore to boot.

  28. --MC says:

    Miss Z, there are a couple of Comics Journal interviews with Alison that you should hunt up.
    #237 — AB interviewed by Trina Robbins.
    #282 — the long interview with Lynn Emmert (and the notorious “nude wood chopping” cover).
    The Fantagraphics Books site is still selling #282, and you could probably scare a copy of #237 up on Ebay. I’m not selling mine though.

  29. Dale says:

    Not to change the subject, but this was sent to me and I could not stop laughing! http://www.palinaspresident.us/ Click on stuff around the office and hear Palin say things such as “I’m a maverick!” or “Drill baby, drill!”

    Back on subject – when is the release date? I’ll have to camp outside my local bookshop and snag one as soon as they open the boxes.
    My, what green eyes you have! I may attempt that haircut on the ex. She’ll love it!

  30. NLC says:

    MC, MissZ

    Not the same as having the original hardcopy, of course, but the Trina interview is available on-line here:

    A sizable excerpt of the Lynn Emmert interview is here:

  31. Sillipitti and Aunt Sooze, my hair is indeed graying, but not at the rate it might appear. That’s mostly my scalp showing through.

  32. Xena Fan says:


    Is there a book tour in the near future so we can get autographed copies?


  33. mrc1217 says:

    I’m so excited that you are in Charlotte! What a rare treat. I am getting ready to go to the theater now. Yay! I noticed your other stops are all very far away from here… I guess that is our fault for not inviting you often?

  34. Ian says:

    I wonder if we can tempt AB over to Britain so I, Pam I and Londonboy can get our copies of Essential signed, although 3,000 miles is a long way to go to do 3 autographs! A tour of Lesbian London maybe? Pilgrimages to the graves of Virginia Woolf and Radclyffe Hall? There’s gotta some famous lesbos in Highgate Cemetary! A personal introduction to the Loch Ness Monster? (It can be arranged if you know the right people – she’s very polite you know and her partner Tallulah is delightful).

    By the way, I love your Titans cover. Speaking as a size queen Harvey’s basket ain’t big enough, but I lurve your boots!

  35. Ellen O. says:

    For those of you who have not wandered over to the appearances section of this blog lately, here is the book tour news. Subject to change, I’m sure.

    November 6, 2008. The University of Texas in Austin. This event will be part of an ongoing series of lectures from visiting writers.


    Fri, Nov 7, Book People, Austin. 5pm, signing only–no presentation.

    November 8 or 9, Wordstock in Portland, OR.

    November 10, Booksmith in San Francisco.

    November 11, UC Berkeley Bookstore.

    November 12, Book Soup in LA.

    November 13, Women and Children First, Chicago

    November 17, Barnes & Noble, NYC

    November 18, The Center for New Words, Cambridge

    November 19, Broadside Books, Northampton

    December 2, Bear Pond Books, Montpelier VT.

  36. Ted says:

    Book pre-ordered on Amazon.

    Here’s some good news if you haven’t heard it yet.

    Comedian Ellen DeGeneres has bought $100,000 of television airtime to urge Californians to vote to save the right to gay marriage in a November ballot, campaign organizers said on Friday.

  37. Bob Morgan says:

    Hello. Just saw you and Mr. Pekar at the Titans of the Graphic Novel event in Charlotte. Thank you for showing some of your process including Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I use those two in my work quite a bit and it was nice to see how they integrate with comic/graphic novel writing. I’ve been working on a piece now for 2 years+ and both you and Mr. Pekar are very inspirational. Thank you.

  38. Agueda Macias says:

    Nice! I’ve already ordered the ‘Essential’!
    Just to let you know you have big fans in Brazil.
    Have a great weekend!

  39. Miss Z says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the AB interviews, MC!!

    Just got my copy of State by State and went right to Vermont — beautifully and brilliantly done!

  40. j.b.t. says:

    Congratulations on all the great press, Alison! Woo Hoo!

    I’ll be visiting San Francisco the weekend of Nov. 8-9, leaving Monday the 10th. If I’d known Alison would be there that night I could have made my return trip the 11th! Bummer.

    And just a reminder to anyone in the Twin Cities area: tomorrow night I am hosting a fundraiser for the Obama campaign at Lee’s Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis. There will be 6 cool Americana/roots/folk bands, including the dykelicious DitchLillies, guys from Trailer Trash, and the Fabulous Molly Maher. 8:00 p.m. $10 suggested donation. Please come!


  41. Feminista says:

    Well,I don’t have Ellen’s big bucks,but I just made a donation to the CA No on 8 campaign. Any $ donated before Oct.19 (evening) will be matched.

    ATT: Western OR folks. Alison will be part of LiveWire,a radio program on OPB,the eve of Nov.8. She will give a reading at Wordstock on Sunday. I’ve talked with Greg of the Wordstock staff and he will do what he can to help us organize a meal get-together with AB.It all depends on when she’s arriving and leaving Portland. Assuming,that is,that any of y’all want to do this.

  42. an australian in london says:

    Definitely a masterpiece.
    I’ve acquired every one except DTWOF and Hot, Throbbing DTWOF in the past few years, mostly this past year. Bad timing?
    No, I think I’ll always like having the little volumes, and I think I’m still going to try to buy hot throbbing, if only for Sydney and Mo’s first date, with the strap on, as well as the new one, for the new episodes. I am less disappointed if it is such a beautiful book. Yay for Booklist.

  43. anon et al says:

    oh, I really loved the Bishop poem video. Can’t wait to use it in my high school senior poetry class. Please thank Rosemary and June!

  44. ksbel6 says:

    Ginjoint: I would love to come to Chicago on Nov 13, but my fall has been busier than I thought it would be and I don’t know if I will be able to take the days off from school. If I do though, I would love to meet you while there 🙂

  45. Aunt Soozie says:

    Oh, I see… your scalp needs a tanning salon… or maybe some tattooing to darken it up… or, uhm, not!

  46. Donna says:

    I hope the neighbors got their chickens back. They looked like they were lost.

  47. f/m/ says:

    #1 clippers. nice.

    something about a a fade has always turned my head, gotten under my skin, made me want to run my hand over it and sink teeth into neck.

    must have somethin’ to do w/ growing up in the Midwest.

    anyway, AB, the cut is very hot. keep that barbershop on your shortlist!

  48. Aunt Soozie says:

    I feel the same way and I’m from the northeast…
    maybe it has something to do with being a dyke to watch out for…
    but, I dunno.

  49. Nick Van der Graaf says:

    You so funny!
    I laughed when I saw the ‘funnel’ photo above, and I laughed when I immediately recognized Pekar in your drawing. I have to admit that I am keen to see “Dykes” back in production – I miss it!

  50. JenK says:


    The following items have been shipped to you:
    Qty Item Price Shipped Subtotal

    1 The Essential Dykes to Wat… $16.50

    Shipped via UPS


  51. Ginjoint says:

    Hey, ksbel! I’d love to meet you, too! Just keep me updated here as to whether or not you’re able to make it.

  52. Danyell says:

    When does it come out? I just saw it for preorder on Amazon…

  53. noominal says:

    Okay, what made me very happy today?

    Not just getting my new bookie, TE DTWOF…

    …but noticing in the wonderful “Cartoonist’s Introduction” that you are indeed wearing those notorious Blue Crocs!

    Awesome Al!

  54. naomi says:

    i preordered the book in june and am still eagerly, though somewhat impatiently awaiting its delivery. amazon.ca estimates the beginning of december. meanwhile, i make due with the dtwf that i have and hope that amazon is being too conservative in their time estimate and it’ll be here earlier.

  55. Ian says:

    The US hardback (in a delicious irony) appears to be available on Medusa UK from the 4 November! The Jonathan Cape paperback is available from 4 December.

    All these 4’s! The universe is trying to tell me something!

  56. Ian says:

    Hoping this doesn’t breach copyright, but here’s the Jonathan Cape blurb:

    “When Alison Bechdel’s unflinching graphic memoir, Fun Home, was published in 2006 it was met with universal acclaim and named by many reviewers as the graphic book of the year, bringing her once-underground work to a wider audience.

    Cape is now proud to announce the publication of the strip that made her name. Since i[t]s inception in 1983, Dykes To Watch Out For has become a counterculture institution. The first strips were stand-alone pieces, each offering an eye-opening and acerbically funny insight into the Lesbian society of 1980s America. Here we learnt the terminology of that world (‘Luppies’, for example, are Lesbian Urban Professionals) and discovered its codes of conducts, like the dos-and-don’ts of a couple’s first night together.

    Soon, after those first few strips, a compelling and addictive soap opera developed. We met Mo, a neurotic feminist book clerk, and her unforgettably eclectic group of friends. There was Lois, the voracious Lesbian Avenger, Clarice and Tony the Lesbian Moms, and Sparrow, who couldn’t kick her self-help habit. We follow their sex lives, their political activism and the minutiae of their lives right up to the Iraq War.

    On the way, we see a counterculture movement slowly embraced by the mainstream, while Mo and her friends, now in steady relationships and having children, begin uneasily to ‘fit in’. The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For brings together for the first time one of the most important and avidly read strips of the last thirty years and confirms Alison Bechdel’s reputation as one of the finest cartoonists at work today.”

  57. G. Baptiste says:

    So wait, does Essential contain all of the story strips, leaving out only the early pre-Mo strips? Or does it jump around?

    I suppose either way there’s no chance of my old collections becoming hand-me-downs, since those have the wonderful novellas in them, but it would be nice to know if random other memories I have of the characters will be unshared by friends who just read the new omnibus.

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