Archive for March, 2006

Smith College

March 31st, 2006

Originally uploaded by Alison Bechdel.

I spoke last night at Smith, for I think the fourth time in my career. God, I love that place. I meant to take a picture of the campus, or the audience, but I was so frazzled I didn’t even remember I had my camera with me until after it was all over and I was getting a burrito to eat on my drive back home from MA to VT. Thus this irrelevant photo in the burrito shop.

But what a great audience those Smithies were! They laughed at everything and indulged my discursive pointy-headedness. The student who brought me discovered my work on PlanetOut when she was ten. Ten! Every time I go back to Smith College, I’m a thousand years older. But the students are all still ten. Well, maybe twenty.

Before my presentation I had a lovely visit with my friend Susan Stinson. We talked about writing and she let me ride her awesome trike around campus in the lovely spring afternoon.
When did I start bandying about the word “awesome” like this? I’m sorry to contribute to its utter devaluation by overusage. But Susan’s trike really did inspire awe.

Update on the new site

March 28th, 2006

I have a new, more integrated website in the works and am continuing to strategize about the best way to make the strip available online. Thank you so much to everyone who’s been begging to give me money—I could weep. One person actually just mailed me a check for $30!

You might very well get a chance to dispose of some of your hard-won cash here soon. It’s looking like I’m going to go with a subscription-model site—though rest assured that if I do, there will be some kind of sliding scale. But I’m also exploring the possibility of hosting the strip on They approached me about this, but I’m not exactly clear yet on how it would work, or if it’s something I want to get into. It would mean the strip would remain available for free, but on their site and with ads.

Sorry to everyone who’s having trouble with the Flickr image of the last episode. It sounds like that’s a browser issue, and I’m not going to bother sorting it out just yet because it was just a temporary solution anyway.

And here are direct links to episodes 481 and 482 on PlanetOut in case you missed them.


March 14th, 2006

I know this isn’t the best way to do this, but I’m just experimenting with using Flickr to post the strip. Here’s the latest episode, hot off the drawing board. Read the rest of this entry »

Steal This Book

March 5th, 2006

My friend Judith Levine just wrote this kick-ass book about the year she spent not buying anything. It’s smart, radical, hilarious, and beautifully written. But don’t take my word for it.

not buying it

Barbara Ehrenreich says, ““With great wit and spirit, Judith Levine tackles a profound question: Why do we buy and what do we get out of it? Clue: the answer is not just things. Outside the marketplace, the author travels from Simplicity self-help meetings to the terrorism marketplace, from confrontations with private longing to celebrations of the public good—and from consumer to citizen. If you have to do without, or just want to do with less, Levine is the person to do it with.”

If you live in New York, catch Judith reading on March 14 at 7pm at McNally Robinson Booksellers, 50 Prince Street (between Lafayette and Mulberry) (212) 274-1160. Or in Brooklyn on March 23 at 7:30pm, Barnes & Noble Park Slope, 267 Seventh Avenue (at Sixth Street) (718) 832-9066


March 3rd, 2006

I’m sorry, but because of my February jaunt to the UK I was too busy to do new strips for this month. I sent out “archive” episodes from 1996, featuring Toni and Clarice in happier times. I don’t know if PlanetOut will bother posting them. Here’s a little glimpse.
archive art

It was a good month not have to follow the news, though. Is the world hurtling hellward even faster than usual, or is it just me? At any rate, I’m back at the drawing board trying to make sense of it all, and will have fresh comics soon.

Mo’ Mo

March 1st, 2006

Thanks, everyone, for the huge response to my last post. I’m really grateful for all your thoughtful, practical, and supportive comments. You’ve helped me to clarify my thinking about DTWOF online, and now I’m getting all excited about it.

There was a gratifying consensus that PlanetOut sucks and we’re all better off without them. There were several good examples of other comics sites that I might want to model mine on. There were lots of suggestions about how to generate income from the site. And there was a lively debate on print media vs. the web.

Much as I love newsprint, and much as I’m indebted to the LGBT press, the media landscape is changing. I see web delivery of the strip as supplementing print readership, not eroding it. I also think that hosting the strip myself, rather than trying to find another web publication to carry it, makes much more financial sense in the long run. I already have a strong community of readers, why not exploit them interact with them directly? I could make a really great site. I’d like to integrate this blog with the strip more, for example. And I’ll find a way to put up a neater, higher-res version of the artwork than PlanetGout did.

The big challenges are time and money. I made about $350 a month from PlanetOut, which I really need to find a way to recoup. Blog ads don’t sound worth the bother. People seemed pretty positive about the idea of paying for subscriptions, but I need to think about this some more. I’m less reluctant than I used to be about paying for online content—I can’t bring myself to pay for Salon, for example, but for some reason I shell out for the NY Times.

The bigger cost to me will be the time it’ll take to set up and administer the site. I’m already working constantly, and I’d rather be drawing than fiddling with a website. But I’ll figure it out. I’m definitely moving forward with this, and would love to keep getting your input.