DTWOF Archive Episode #3

May 29th, 2007 | Uncategorized


Here’s the …uh…newest twenty-year old episode. As I recently announced, I’m cutting back to one new episode per month for a while, and in between I’m running strips from 1987. But to make things even more complicated, I’m not running ALL the old strips. That’s why this second one is actually number three. Got it?

63 Responses to “DTWOF Archive Episode #3”

  1. NLC says:

    Wow!! Not only a 20-year-old strip, but an historically significant one as well!!

    There, in the next-to-last panel, the first appearance of the Bechdelian Eyeglass-Lacuna!

    [I.e. note the edge of Mo’s eyeglasses. The overlapping portion of the glasses disappear so as not obscure the expression in the underlying eye.]

    We feel so honored!

  2. Feminista says:

    Ah,I remember this one. Mo had recently gotten a bad haircut,which didn’t help her mood. Later,Lois helped her get a job at Madwimmin,which then paid $5/hour with no benefits.

  3. elteegee says:

    Why am I alternately disgusted and bemused that this strip plays pretty much as relevant today as it was 20 years ago? Tweak a few small details on the political rant and you basically have 2007. Have we made so little progress in all that time? Now *I’m* anxious and depressed!

    OK, but that Lacuna thing is pretty funny…

  4. Al, et al. says:

    I’m with you, elteegee. But also throw in a little teary nostalgia for Clarice and Toni in happier times.

  5. LondonBoy says:

    Not sure if I’m entirely qualified to make this comment, what with my being a gay man and all, but… I’d forgotten how hot Toni used to look ! ( Particularly in the lower half of panel 4 ). Interesting Nicole Hollander-style profile in panel 7, too.

    I can’t believe the terms of the political debate have barely evolved over 20 years, though, at least with respect to right-wing presidents.

  6. lb says:

    I can’t believe that this stip’s as old as I am. And that Toni and Clarice used to be happy. And cute together!

    I don’t think I can handle these flashbacks.

  7. calamityJ says:

    I’m just perpetually struck by how damn cyclical things always are. From despair to hope, then back again…

    Toni was & is hot, tho I was glad when she lost the mullet. Is hair our only hope for progress??

  8. louise says:

    Now those secret weapons deals with ‘Freedom Fighters’… that was primarily for overthrowing Latin American governments per the Monroe Doctrine, right? But then in the Middle East, we were also arming and training people that we are currently fighting? I’ve taken my contemporary world history with concerned professors, and I remember being properly shocked, but…is there anyone with a good memory for history and politics who wants to provide a refresher course for what was happening in 1987?

    I’m afraid to say it but the mullet is seeing a resurrection in certain circles.
    Toni: “Gee, Mo…” hee hee…

  9. Annie in Hawaii says:

    Frick! You knew this would happen, Alison. We’ve lived long enuf that your recycled strips are right on the money (again!). Yep, Toni always was (is) a hottie. Speaking of haircuts: I used to have Mo’s buzzcut. I’m looking at my own skunk stripe.

  10. Doctor E says:

    Great! Now i have to go back and look up what Episode 2 was!

    Who wants to start the idle speculation on why it was skipped?

  11. Al, et al. says:

    All I remember is that Mo laments that she looks like a transexual marine. Or was that Ep. 4?

  12. van says:

    AB, really awesome how a piece of paper and some ink can be so potent in your hands, now and even whe you were twenty years younger. Enviable and awesome. I can’t wait to get my copy of Fun Home. Should be arriving soon.

    And speaking as someone with not so great penmanship, I greatly appreciate how clean your block letters are now, so clean it almost looks typed in.

  13. lunchmaker says:

    does anyone else feel like alison’s bodies in these early strips were a little more squishy & less muscular than more recent ones? if so, sort of an interesting lesson on changing body standards.

  14. Jaibe says:

    I soooo love the line “Thanks for the lentils! I have to go home now and rethink my priorities!” Actually, I think that every time I get served lentils.

  15. Michelle says:

    Oh my!!! Yes I still remember the old episode that strips’s first one. I whorship Mo is my hero!!! LOLOLOL I am telling you that old one was the best humor ever!!

  16. Eva says:

    Hey Lunchmaker, Regarding squishy bodies. I was thinking something similar, especially that Toni was not only larger but taller then than she is now!
    But seriously, I think the difference is that back 20 years ago Alison didn’t draw her characters from posed photos, I think she drew them free-hand from memory/imagination with the possible exemption of hands. So, if you’ve seen any of her recent freehand drawings (posts from her journals, as opposed to the strips) you’ll see squiggly lines and slight variation on body proportion.

    However, upon reflection I would say even her recent freehand drawings are skinnier than the strip drawings from 20 years ago…so yeah, things do change, although I don’t think Alison herself was noticably different 20 years ago (I’m a fan from way back)…but maybe she works out more now than she did then!

  17. Alex the Bold says:

    I like Clarice’s look in the second-to-last panel. Haven’t we all had a friend wig out and had that look on our faces?

  18. EB in UK says:

    I’m struck by how the expressions on the faces are, well, the same.

    It seems that AB already had the faces and characters of Toni Clarice and Mo firm in her mind.
    Look at
    – the ‘Mo mope’ in panel 3, and bottom 1/2 of panel 4;
    – the sly exchange of looks between Toni and Clarice (panel 4 again)
    – the anxious & depressed on Toni, last panel

    I’m certain that I’ve seen these same looks many times, in many DTWOF panels, over the years.

    AB’s drawing is richer, and more consistent w/ human proportions now – less cartoony. But I ‘recognize’ these expressions clearly, like on the faces of friends.

    AB, while we enjoy the trawl through the archives, I hope you’re getting the balance of time and work stabilized, and keep generating the wit and wisdom we all enjoy.

  19. Ally says:

    Yay! Any DTWOF is good for me! Be it young or old, squishy or firm….

  20. mlk says:

    how many times over the years has Mo had lentil stew with Toni and Clarice? it’s kinda a running joke!!

    just love Mo’s “unfortunate haircut”!

  21. Duncan says:

    What I notice in these older strips is that Toni looks more butch than she does in later strips. Even if the bodies are squishier and less muscular.

    On the politics, I don’t see a cycle: we’ve been in an aggressive militarist state all along. If anyone thinks that changed during the Clinton years, they weren’t paying attention. (Half a million dead Iraqi children, for instance, but as Madeleine Albright said — on national TV! — “we think the price is worth it.”) Alison’s strips from the 90s, such as the one mocking the Communications Dececy Act, show that at least *she* was.

    Another way of seeing it, to my mind, is to look at the response of liberals to lefties like Mo all along: oh, Mo, you’re just stuck in the 60s, Vietnam is so yesterday, things are different now. Mo’s criticisms our government and our society have always been correct; the middle-of-the-roaders around her are the ones who were in and out of focus. Only the occasional outbreak of state violence would get them to demonstrations for a day or two.

  22. Sir Real says:

    Maybe AB skipped #2 due to the `transsexual marine’ kvetch by Mo over her overly-short haircut (I’ve wondered – FtM or MtF transsexual marine? hmm…)
    But I also recall Mo hunkering down to wait until her hair grows out with the consolation of a bottle of Coke… rather out of her subsequent character!

  23. ericaequites says:

    Cooking lentils as chili with spices and served over buttered whole wheat pasta make them much more patable.
    Vegetarian cooking is only unpleasant when seasoning is ignored.

  24. a different Emma says:

    The sporradic episode posting is economically savvy.

    Can’t very well put up all the cartoons ever drawn–the books still sell, right?

  25. a different Emma says:

    Also woth mentioning: boobs! Yeah!

  26. re:louise- what was going on in the 80s says:

    ah the 80s! actualy, even though the comic is still pretty politically relevant, things are MUCH worse now(she said with chilling glee!)

    in the 80s we were gettin’ busy helping to destroy the marxist sandanista government in nicaragua. they had arevolution and elected president ortega, who implemented a kind of socialist state. there was meant to be free health care, edeucation, and so forth for everybody, and redistributed land and so forth- but by the time the fldedgling sandanista government got done putting 90% of its budget into fighting off teh Contras- who were into bombing things, slaughtering entire villages, and cutting poeple’s tounges out- there wasn’t much left for education and health care and poverty stopping programs. the contras were financed and backed the the US government. eventually a pro-western slate ran for office(the Uno party i think they were called) and won, because everyone was really sick of fighting a losing battle against an american backed guerilla movement. i have met american leftists and anarchists who went i nicaragua and took up arms to fight the contras. . . . . rather like those who fought against fascism in spain earlier in the century.

    honduras served as a base for teh contras, and was also wracked with fantastic bouts fo violance and horrifying depravity during the 80s.

    there was fighting in el salvador also- another place wracked by conflicts caused by extreeme poverty- whcih in turn was caused by colonialism and good old fashioned american corporate misdeeds. we helped fund teh extreemely wealthy faction of the civil war that happened there.

    then there was the Arena party in brazil- trained at the school of americas, arena party leaders were famous for “dissapearring” folks who disagreed with their point of view(american military-centered, of course).

    meanwhile, we were also involved in iran and iraq and afghanisthan. we were fighting a kind of proxy cold war by training and sometimes funding various radical fighters in afghanisthan to wrest it from the U.S.S.R.. thats where osama bin laden got his training actualy. we also helped topple the government in iran, whcih led to more complete chaos, death, and insane fundamentalism(muslim-flavored there, christian flavored here).

    since we were busy toppling the government of iran, we were buddies with folks in iraq (ha ha so to speak). one of our “buddies” at the time was saddam hussein. there’s a famous picture of reagan and saddam hanging out, talking about the future. . . .

    and then- there was REAGAN! good old REGAN! god- thats KINDERGARDEN stuff compared to what’s going on now! Yagh! I sympathise with MO today! yes i DO! yeow!

  27. katt says:

    whew replier, thats quite a sequence of events. i remember all that– also teh starving children in ethiopia, and the time we bombed quadafi’s wife and kids in libya- not to mention ketchup being classified as a vegetable. And i’m afraid its true- doesn’t come close to the magnitude of what “they” are doing to destroy the world now. . . .

    o god regan! i remember reagan! the mutant plastic elias brothers big boy’s evil twin robot destroyer fascist alien monster!!! reagan was a toad. . . . . and after spending teheentire iran-contra hearings saying “i forget, i don’t rememebr” he got teh alstheimers he deserved. anyone else attend services for people who died because of reagan’s social policies when he croaked a little while back? we had one in cambridge- folks from homeless coalition, aids organizations, soup kitchens, and other social services organizations came and did a multi-denominational prayer/meditation for everyone we all met who died because of reagan’s destruction of our social safety nets. . . . .

    i’m calm. GOD i’m calm. . . . .yes, i too sympathise with Mo today.

    and very happy to see these old strips again- –sigh– reminds me of the good old days when there was no internet and people used to hang out at bookstores!! i miss madwimmin! waaaaaah!

  28. Uhh says:

    God i hate lesbians. Except the hot ones. and I hate this strip. It drives me crazy. get the hell out of Vermont, you stupid hippy college-type liberals are the reason it sucks now. All the real native Vermonters are almost always very conservative, trust me. It’s stupid hippy collage kids and all those damn gay poeple who move up here for the right to marry that make up the liberal population. Go to hell. I say take back Vermont for the real Vermonters, not fake Pennslyvannia natives.

  29. Al, et al. says:

    “Collage kids”? You mean, like, multi-media art students?

  30. Ginjoint says:

    Oh, it’s a quiet evening, why not poke it for a reaction?

    The screen name says it all.

  31. Speedy says:

    I must be a fake Pennylvania native, I moved
    to PA from Oregon. Uhh would make a great guard at
    a Nazi concentration camp.

  32. Speedy says:

    Alison, I voted for you as Woman Cartoonist
    of the year on the Lulu ballot.

  33. geogeek says:

    I like the idea of collage kids – when I was probably 8 to 13 or so I bought up all the National Geographics I could find in garage sales. i would then cut out all of the nature pictures – nothing with buildings or people, even trimming off tlelphone wires or trails – of all sizes. I kept them in folders and woudl arrange them endlessly on my bedroom floor, by color, by size, in squares, in spirals… sunsets were my favorite, oceans a close second.

  34. Al, et al. says:

    Well, clearly, geogeek, you’re what’s wrong with Vermont. Or, you know, not. I used to cut the pictures off the Celestial Seasonings tea boxes and hoard and play with them, too. And I’m a Pennsylvania native (from Ardmore), now living in New York. Which I think makes me a fake New York native, right? I think uhh needs to hone his ranting skills a bit.

  35. calamityJ says:

    We have nothing to lose but our Scrapple!!

    And Uhh, you might like it there, w/the Aryan Brotherhood as new neighbors, fellow transplants, and kindred spirits, apparently…

  36. Andrew B says:

    Louise, here’s an earnest nerd response to your question… Alison was referring to the Iran-Contra affair, which I’m not going to try to explain at length. It was really the intersection of two issues: the Reagan administration’s unlawful support for the Nicaraguan contras, and its attempts to get the Iranians to influence Lebanese Hezbullah to release hostages they were holding. Each issue is pretty complicated by itself.

    One of the incidents was exactly what Mo says. We sold weapons parts to the Iranians at inflated prices, then donated the difference between that and the real price to the Contra terrorists who were seeking to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. Here are some suggestions for subjects to look up. Wikipedia is usually a reliable source but I have not checked their articles on these subjects.

    – Iran-Contra (affair, or scandal)
    – North, Oliver
    – Abrams, Eliot (might be Elliot)
    – Pointdexter, John (might be Poindexter)
    – Iran-Iraq War
    – Sandinista
    – Contra

    Also, look for the name of Pointdexter’s predecessor as Reagan’s National Security Advisor — I can’t remember off the top of my head.

    An excellent book on the specific ways in which we helped foster Sunni radicalism is Steve Coll, Ghost Wars. It’s probably an overstatement to say we armed and trained the very people we’re now fighting. If you’re truly interested, I could come up with another couple things to read — or perhaps someone else could.

  37. BeckyM says:

    What really creeps me out about this episode is that the things that Mo is freaking out about are more true than when I first encountered it…

  38. Never teh Bride says:

    Now *I’m* anxious…

  39. hetero genus says:

    maybe the skinnier bodies are to fit more grand detail into the little panels in a tidier fashion. While the strip has refined, and done it well, the unique outlook, content, and capture of expression and the human condition has fortunately remained unscathed.

  40. K.B. says:

    and Mo was already spouting “P” alliterations at this tender age!

  41. Hayley says:

    You wonderful people…I think uhh was perfectly handled. I especially love Ginjoint’s “poke it for a reaction.” I am a proud, pretzel eating, souse and head cheese hating, county fair and dutch amusement park loving, Straub drinking PA native. And it is the keystone that supports the arch…

  42. Doctor E says:

    I’m not a native, I just like it here.

  43. xckb13 says:

    I went to school near Philadelphia – can I be an honorary PA citizen, if not a native?

  44. Al, et al. says:

    Where did you go to school, xckb13. And did you study collage there?

  45. Suzanonymous says:

    Alex the Bold, I love Clarice’s look there, too.

    K.B., that’s funny about Mo’s P-words. And sad that similar things could also have been said about politics early in the Vietnam War, Duncan.

    And Alison, I hope the trips go great. :o)

  46. Suzanonymous says:

    oops. that was supposed to be a smile.

  47. Ginjoint says:

    Hey Al, I went to an art school – I had classmates who majored in decoupage, and minored in collage. A slim difference, to be sure, but a crucial one to those in the field.

  48. genevieve says:

    Aw….I remember all my friends saying “goddess knows” and the like back then. Good times. I also remember thinking with this strip that Mo didn’t know Toni very well at that point (or maybe there was new-gf-of-ex-gf weirdness), hence the “Antonia”. I don’t think we saw our usual characters call Toni by her full name after that.

    I’m a PA native, but I’ve never gone to Vermont.

  49. Duncan says:

    Actually, I still substitute “goddess” for “god” in various cliches, but for satirical purposes rather than because I take any god or goddess seriously. Sometimes, especially nowadays, I use “Chthulu” or “Buddha”:

    Buddha loves me, this I know,
    For the Sutras tell me so!
    I’ll escape the Gates of Wrath
    On the Noble Eightfold Path.
    Yes, Buddha loves me,
    Yes, Buddha loves me,
    Yes, Buddha loves me,
    The Sutras tell me so.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Apparently Vermont “natives” are not taught to speel properly. What a shame.

    — “Pennslyvannia” Pansy

  51. ready2agitate says:

    1980s eyeglasses were quite large, eh? (Mo’s in the first panel made me smile in that regard). I love T&C’s eyeball-popping stare when Mo starts her “omg you’re right, our freedom is at stake!” rant — just bc that panel delivers such great humor.

    “Freedom Fighters” were what Reagan (“Ray-gun”) called the Nicraguan Contras, as Andrew B. noted. It was a horrid time of semantics – the Contras were death squad-style guerillas that Reagan had the gumption to call “Freedom Fighters.” Ugh – it was obscene (as Mo notes – it was spine-chilling).

    Thanks for the links to the two articles about blogs. I’d never heard the term, “troll” before, but by golly, I’ve met my first one! (Ummm…)

    Oh, and anyone notice how Clarice delivers the punchline in this strip, and then years later, she engages in much the same angsting as Mo? (Is this a relationship defense?)

    PS I (heart) this blog & DTWOF.

  52. katt says:

    hah hah hah, i live in philadelphia, hah hah hah hah. . . . and i’ve lived in vermont!

    oh! and thanks for the iran-contra review- whew- lots to be learned from that whole central american in the 80s situation methinks- a mini-model of what the neo-cons are doing now on a much larger scale. . . . . let’s nto forget panama in the early 90s, either!

  53. Breena Ronan says:

    I didn’t read all the comments, but I love the rant on collage kids. I’m too old to be a collage kid, but I would love to spend some time studying collage. Seriously, I didn’t realize this was an old strip, because I feel like that some days. 🙂

  54. Natkat says:

    I think the difference in body size depicted in the cartoons then versus now says more about AB’s artistic skill than it does about body acceptance. I’ve seen it evolve over time and it’s fascinating. It has always been well done, but more recently the details are more crisp…for lack of a better word.

    I didn’t go to collage and therefore don’t have much of an art vocabulary.

    But I did stay in a Holiday Inn express last night.

  55. Annie Leslie says:

    A few other amusing details about the strip – as well as Mo’s unfortunate haircut, how about her equally unfortunate hat? As well as the lumpy down jacket . . . .

    And notice how her fingertips are apparently growing out of Clarices’s hair – almost look like horns.

    Yes, the politics do seem way too familiar, even though we in Canada have avoided the worst of the consequences – so far, anyway.

  56. Metal Prophet says:

    I like how George Carlin put it: “If fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight?”

  57. profmiguelito says:

    I have to say, I lOVE episode 2, with Mo’s “regrettable haircut,” her lament that she looks like a “transsexual marine,” the scene of her playing solitaire, drinking coca-cola and watching Captain Kangaroo, the scene of her standing in the unemployment line with that goofy hat hiding her haircut, the phone conversation she has with Lois–while Lois is having sex with Naomi. . . . I don’t know why Alison chose to skip this strip, but if you have the book, go back and take a look at it. It’s fantastic.

  58. an australian in london says:

    Forgive my UK/Aussie clothes size references, but I had noticed lately that Clarice is about the only DTWOF who would fit the size 12 clothes that fit the average woman of my acquaintance. I haven’t seen Jezanna or Harriet for a while, but on reflection they might be described as token ‘big’ women in a strip populated, not by the range of women I see in the ‘real world’, but almost solely by the thin and the very thin. This does not reflect what I have heard about the US population ‘at large’. Is it our beloved characters’ class at play? Even so, they are fast charging through their 40th birthdays and then some. Where have they been PUTTING all those lentils?

  59. CJ says:

    What happened to episode 509? It was here last week.

  60. mlk says:

    a belated response to austrialian in london’s query about those lentils . . .

    Toni’s gotten somewhat broad in the bum over the years, I expect that’s where she’s storing hers. and, while Mo’s not heavy by any means, she’s not as svelte as her creator — just look at the cover of The Indelible Alison Bechdel.

    most importantly, though, I suspect that abstaining from standard American fare has kept the dykes from becoming obese. I’ll bet they don’t eat hormone laden meats and dairy products, and those lentils haven’t been genetically modified. bits and pieces I’ve read indicate that our foods, particularly our meat and dairy, might be contributing to the weird fat distribution you see in so many Americans. I don’t think any of our lesbian babes are heavy drinkers — no beer guts like you see on so many American males — and, even though they’re in their mid-to-late 40’s, they’re still relatively active.

    bottom line — I don’t think our heroines are “thin and very thin.” they also aren’t the couch potatoes that generally populate America. see, clean living and socially responsible food choices *do* have a payoff.

  61. zxevil160 says:

    YQLIQT U cool ))

  62. Sora RYu says:

    once again mo predicts the future (note – reading series backwards) plus i got to see her breasts!!….i’m officially in love w. mo now <3