DTWOF episode 500

November 21st, 2006 | Uncategorized

Okay. Here’s number 500. I’m putting it up a week early, just because it’s number 500 and I’m so relieved to be done with it. People have been asking about the fundraiser–the grand total to date is $3081.52. SIX times the $500 by episode 500 that was initially proposed. Thank you all so much. I’m very, very grateful.DTWOF episode 500

167 Responses to “DTWOF episode 500”

  1. Maggie Jochild says:

    Thanks for the early treat, Alison. And for doing it your way — if we were cartoonists, well, then, we’d have our own strips, wouldn’t we? I especially love the prayer flags on the porch, and am trying to decide if they are symbols of many different religions or a more political version.

  2. Josh says:

    I have really loved seeing Cynthia work through her sexuality and how she squares it with her beliefs. She’s one of my favorite new characters in years! Nice to see her standing up for herself with the ‘rents. I hope she stays a Republican though — for diversity purposes!

  3. cybercita says:

    here’s to the next five hundred.


  4. Santorum says:

    Well here we go… Sydney’s dad has alzheimers. At least Cynthia is coming around to the dark side. Hearing her talk about her dad makes me wonder what has happened to both of them to make them such fundamentalists. Maybe dad has a deep dark secret…molestation? Time will tell.

  5. Lauren says:

    Congratulations, Alison, on a sterling episode 500. Thank you for sharing your talents with the world.

  6. Jamey says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for DTWOF. I love it.

  7. leah says:

    i love the little champagne bubbles in the air in the very last panel. that detail provides such a grand counterpoint to the emotional content. moments like that are the reason alison bechdel’s work is such a tremendous argument for the literary legitimacy of the graphic lit genre. such attention! so much meaning and feeling packed into the smallest ordinary places!

  8. Ellen O. says:

    500 Thoughts

    I don’t neccessarily think Sydney’s father has Alzheimers. I think it was a slip of the, err, tongue, especially since he knows about Sydney’s fling with Madeleine at the MLA conference.

    Yow! Cynthia is on fire! Love that “Oopsy,” after “asswipe.”

    Congrats to Mo on her library job. That should be a cool new setting.

    Finally, outstanding hair and eyebrows on J.R. in Panel 4. Alison has really captured kid energy.

  9. Ryan says:

    Amazing drawing as always! Thank you!

  10. Josiah says:

    I like to think that the champagne in the last tier is ever-so-slightly metatextual: celebrating both Mo’s new job and DTWOF’s 500th strip! Whether it was intentional or not, I’ll raise a glass to Alison and all other dykes to watch out for. :^)

    And isn’t it nice to have something political to give thanks for this year?

  11. Michelle from Van says:

    Beautiful as always… a wonderful #500

  12. Becky Asrai says:

    Congratualtions Alison on your wonderful creation – and thank you for giving us readers so much joy and sorrow and laughter 500 times!

  13. Deb says:

    Alison, Brava on #500 and giving us all so much to be thankful for this year.

  14. Ellen O. says:

    Josiah — Nice metatextual reading of the champagne. I’ll drink to that.

  15. shadocat says:

    This is too weird…

    1)Prayer flags on the porch that are just like the ones on MY porch.

    2)Sign in the yard-oh so similar to bumper sticker on my gf’s car.
    3)Ms. Cynthia—so much like my first gf, raised as a fundi, and now it looks like the parents will be disowning her, just like my ex’s did to her. (BTW- DTWO4 brought us together—and like all great lesbian relationships, she’s now my best friend).

    4)Speaking as a daughter whose father has Alzheimer’s, I agree with Santorum (never thought I’d be saying that): I’m betting Sydney’s dad is in the early stages. And since her relationship with him parallels that of mine with my dad, my heart goes out to her for what she’s going to be going through (also another thing I never thiught I’d say); plus my dad can never get my partner’s name right: “How’s Susie? Sallie? Sara? (Her name is Cyndi). That’s on a good day. Sometimes he thinks I’m my brother Steve…

    5)Can’t wait to see Mo at work in her new job—wonder if it’s at the “angel bear “library?

    Happy Turkey Day Alison—thanks for the early present!

    This is too weird…
    1) Prayer flags on the porch that are just like the ones on MY porch.
    2) Sign in the yard-oh so similar to bumper sticker on my gf’s car.
    3) Ms. Cynthia—so much like my first gf, raised as a fundi, and now it looks like the parents will be disowning her, just like my ex’s did to her. (BTW- DTWO$ brought us together—and like all great lesbian relationships, she’s now my best friend).
    4) Speaking as a daughter whose father has Alzheimer’s, I agree with: I’m betting Sydney’s dad is in the early stages. And since her relationship with him parallels that of mine with my dad, my heart goes out to her for what she’s going to be going through; plus my dad can never get my partner’s name right: “How’s Susie? Sallie? Sara? (Her name is Cyndi). That’s on a good day. Sometimes he thinks I’m my brother Steve…
    5) Can’t wait to see Mo at work in her new job—wonder if it’s at the “angel bear “library?

    Happy Turkey Day Alison—thanks for the early present!

  16. shadocat says:

    sorry for the double post-where’s that damn proof-reading fairy I ordered?

  17. Jaibe says:

    For all we know, Sydney’s dad could have run into Madeline more recently than that last MLA (e.g. at this year’s MLA.)
    Congratulations Alison & thanks for cutting off the speculation 🙂

    JR is *great* in this episode! All the intensity in her expressions. And brilliant to work the Haggard and election thing in.

    Episode 500 does address an issue from the very first episodes too — Mo finally has an `adult’ career! Hurrah! I wonder where she’s working? Maybe at the university?

  18. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    Hmmm. If Sydney’s dad has Alzheimer’s, she can join a support group with Nathan from “Chelsea Boys”.

    (She’s probably not the support group kind, though.)

  19. elisgem says:

    that was an unexpected but ever so delightful surprise!
    thank you and thank you and cheers to the next 500

  20. Alex says:

    YAY!!! Extra DTWO4, I needed something good today. I especially like tha Mo only frowned and Sydney just about choked

  21. meg says:

    Nice work, per usual – now take a break. Chop some wood, or do something simple and satisfying. Or – dare I say it? – RELAX!

  22. Angi says:

    Great work on achieving #500, Alison! So now…when is the next book coming out?!?!?! 😀

  23. Amy says:

    Wonderful strip. I love Cynthia’s character. Thanks so very much Alison for Dykes to Watch Out For. Your strip has brought me so much joy over the years!

  24. AK says:

    It’s good that Cynthia has a place to go for Thanksgiving. Where’s her parents’ compassionate conservatism? In college, my girlfriend’s mother threatened to cut her off from the family entirely, and forced my ex to make a choice between me and her family. It’s not just the fundies that use this cruel blackmail on children…my ex’s mother was a 70s radical who did SOA protests and human rights marches through the 90s. She was, just apparently, not *that* humane. With all the debt that a college education entails, I wouldn’t blame Cynthia if she relented and “confessed her sins.” But because she’s taking a stand for herself, I forgive her for her outburst in Ginger’s classroom. Thanks Alison for making a social conservative appealing. Cynthia finally won me over with this episode. The artwork was really tight too (even the word balloons are appealingly plump.) From celebratory to uneasy in half a frame. The next fizz Mo and Co. will be sharing is alka-seltzer. Oh, and question: that’s not an Xtracycle Stuart has in the first panel, is it?

  25. Eva says:

    A short off-topic pause for a review-blurb on this drawing/illustration site: http://www.drawn.ca/ (scroll down about 4 blurbs, which also look very interesting…)

    Then back to our regularly scheduled awesomeness here at # 500!

  26. K.R. says:

    Mo had better be taking a cataloging job, or I will be sorely disappointed.

  27. A. in Paris says:

    Congrats on episode #500; great drawing indeed, packed with the usual wealth of detail. But I especially love the triple-tiered variations on the father-daugther theme.
    And here’s to the next 500.

  28. judybusy says:

    The best line for me was Ginger’s about the impeachment petition’s being scrap paper BEFORE being made into snowflakes! And once again AB has captured a true-to-life dynamic of emotional blackmail by Cynthia’s dad. Congratulations, Alison!

  29. Xanthe says:

    Congratulations on reaching the big 5 Oh Oh 😀

    I’ve always enjoyed watching Ginger’s relationship with Cynthia – how much she seems to struggle with people whose values are different to her own. And I’m also really enjoying watching Cynthia blossom as a character.

  30. DW says:

    So if Mo is working at a library, will she be in on the aquisition debate about FUN HOME?

  31. uther says:

    Episode 500! Hot Damn, you keep goin, Grrl!

  32. Luna says:

    What an amazing moment, #500! Thank you for your beautifully aesthetic and socio-politically epistemic work. You inspire me to continue creating!

  33. Violet says:

    A wonderful 500th! And yay, Cynthia for standing up for yourself.

  34. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    Alison – I’ve been reading DTWOF since it was in Womanews in NYC and it’s been a delightful part of my life. Congratulations on your 500th strip. It’s been a pleasure to watch your development as an artist and writer and to follow the story threads of Mo and the gang. I’m so glsd the strip is online; it was tough keeping up the continuity with the occasional strip in Funny Times and Lesbian Connection.

    Thanks for your steadfastness and the many hours of enjoyment you’ve brought me and your other readers.

  35. shadocat says:

    DW-that’s just what I was thinking! Can you imagine how Mo would react to a situation lke that in

  36. Jeffster83 says:

    Santorum: I’ve noticed that foreshadowed deep dark secrets always turn out to be molestation. TV Movies, graphic novels, written novels … any time the blurb says “X has a secret” it turns out to be that X was molested. Tiresome, tiresome. If you are right, and he does have a secret, I know Alison Bechdel will find something original fresh and new for it to be. Five hundred, woo!

  37. louise g. says:

    It’s looking like Mo has a little doppelganger in J.R.

  38. AnnaP says:

    Thank you for every single episode of DTWOF and congratulations. I`ve loved your work trough my entire adult life and a little longer.
    And because of you, my english is what it is.

    Thank you.thank you thank you,thank you,thank you,thank you,thank you,thank you,thank you,thank you,thank you…………..(continuing 500 times all together.)

  39. Sophie says:

    Encore du champagne! J’adore!
    (Loose translation: More champagne! I just love DTWO4 to pieces!)

    Don’t you love this new spelling by none other than shadocat? Or has it been around in underground groupie circles, in which case why wasn’t I invited?

    JR’s ponytails and facial expressions are priceless. There’s the “cute” element, which instantly triggers a protective reflex we share with all other mammalians*… but also a lot of determination and curiosity. This is such a rich and quirky environment for a child to grow up in.

    * Female and male, at least in some individuals. I’ve seen a male cat allow kittens to suck his teats while their Mom was out. But as we all know, cats are unbelievable.

  40. --MC says:

    If in repose Cynthia’s father thinks it over, after he’s thrown the phone through the window, he’d realize that his daughter was at least in accord with the elders of Haggard’s megachurch, who voted to get rid of him after hearing his tearful confession in private, then watching him deny everything to the press minutes later.
    Episode #500, an early Thanksgiving gift.

  41. Jana C.H. says:

    Five hundred! And I’ve read every one. Woo-woo-wooooo!

  42. shadocat says:

    sophie- I wish I could take credit for DTWO4, but I can’t -think I stole it from someone in a previous post, or maybe my gf, but hey, I like it it and I’m keepin’ it 😉

  43. Deborah says:

    I shared Josiah’s feelings about the meta-celebration of the champagne bubbles. Also could not help but reflect on a bit more o’ meta-commentary in the choice of the strip’s through-line – fathers – at the end of the big Fun Home tour.
    We love your work, Alison! Here’s to 500 more (or as many as YOU want to draw…..).

  44. Feminista says:

    Congratulations on #500!

    So glad to see Mo getting a library job. My late husband and I,both long-time fans,thought that would be the best work for this wise,witty woman. We also thought Lois would make a peppy sex-positive educator,given her pervasive proclivities, for a place like Toys in Babeland or Good Vibrations.

    A tip o’sparkling cider to all!

  45. LM says:

    Dear AB: One can’t look at your representations of little J.R. without smiling. This brings back to mind a matter I would liked to have raised when we met. (You were doing a drive-by signing at the height of your book tour bemusement so I didn’t have the chance.) From what you have told us of your work methods, it is a wonderment how you nail your drawings of children so delightfully spot on! The porportions, expressions, body language are all a joy to behold. Could it be you have living examples to, uh, draw on; or do you simply let your inner child out for a run. I expect I know the answer: you’re just really, really good!

  46. lea says:

    did anyone read the harper’s indes in the latest issue?? do it…

  47. Eva says:

    Wherever JR comes from, she’s full of life. To me, JR looks a lot like the a child out of a Maurice Sendak book.

  48. JenK says:

    Could be Cynthia’s father is bisexual. I don’t mean molested. I don’t even mean, necessarily, that he needed to DO anything about it. But if he finds both men and women attractive, he could definitely see HIS sexual orientation as a choice HE made … and thus assume it’s a choice that everyone has to make.

    Why yes, I am a bisexual former fundie currently polyamorous Episcopalian, why do you ask? 😉

  49. mlk says:

    so glad you worked celebration into the strip — and that Mo has a library job!! the two of you are celebrating together, yes?

  50. MJM says:

    Congrat’s congrat’s!!! It means so much to me that DTWOF has reached it’s 500th episode, first because I can’t imagine my life without it and second because it gives me hope that I might also be able to do something fantastic with my life and career and have people love it long-term. you ROCK! 🙂

  51. AmyA says:

    Dear AB: Let me join in the chorus of hurrahs for your wonderful work, and well-wishes for the next 500 strips to come. You enrich my life! Cheers!!!

  52. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Congratulations on the big 500, Alison- I’m so glad that this strip has been a part of my life for so many years. (In fact, if it hadn’t been for the free gay weeklies that I’d bogarted on scattered trips to Minneapolis when I was a teenager, and the fabulous comics within- like yours- it would have taken me a lot longer to find out about various ways of having sex that didn’t involve making babies!)

    Have yourself a day, you’ve earned it.

  53. LondonBoy says:

    Dear Alison,
    Congratulations on reaching strip 500. I’ve been reading since I found your first book (bought in “Gay’s The Word” bookshop in London, which I think you know), and have been a fan ever since. Thank you for many years of enjoyment, and here’s to many more! (raises glass…)

  54. *tania says:

    you are awesome, AB! what a banner year!

  55. RI Red says:

    Congratulations Alison. Your work has meant so much to so many and I’ll second MJM–I can’t imagine my life without your work. 500 million thanks!

  56. a different Emma says:

    Thanksgiving? Wasn’t that in October? Oh yeah, it’s an American strip…otherwise it’s pretty universal.
    I must comment on the portrayal of fathers–what a broad spectrum AB presents! Interestingly, if you were to combine the three Dads represented here you’d probably end up with mine. I mean it.
    And Cynthia’s comment about the forgiveness orgy couldn’t be more spot-on. At least from a (lapsed/recovering) Catholic perspective. Its definitely a perverse sort of pleasure.

  57. Anna says:

    Hey thanks very much for perking up a benighted morning in New Delhi, India…I was rushing off to work and thought I’d do a quick check for episode 500 first and yippee…there it was!! Love “thnow-fwake” totally. Many thanks for DTWOF…have also just read “Fun Home”. Fantastic.

    Humble suggestion for the next 500: how ’bout bringing in an Indian dyke??? There are lots of us out there, esp in the US!

  58. tylik says:


    And perfect timing, too. For a couple of year there I got the new DtWOF book right around Thanksgiving. We usually held a fairly big dinner… and then a bunch more friends would pile in for dessert (one year we had fifteen pies, no joke) and a little post familial decompression, which ended up including everyone sitting around reading the new book, and all the old books (except for my neice, who wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole, even though her boyfriend became an enthusiastic fan).

    This is the first year in a decade that I’m not hosting that circus. (Which is good, but a little bittersweet.) Thanks forthe good memories.

  59. Fernmonkey says:

    Lovely. And it’s nice to see everyone being *happy*.

  60. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    Except Ginger. Ginger needs a few more power orgasms from Samia, methinks. And what happened to the husband?

  61. Ellen in Boulder says:

    Peace, Justice, and the Semi-Neurotic Lesbian Way

    So, taking a break from my own writing, I compulsively noted that between strips 10 and 11, there were two un-numbered episodes, “The VCR” and “The Concert.” So, does this make #500 really #502? Or #498 really #500?

    Or should we just kick back, raise a glass of sparkling cider, and declare:
    “A toast to a valiant artist whose quest to spread the light of justice and humanity in these benighted times has brought her to her 500th strip.”

    I vote for the latter, plus a second toast to those 2 unnumbered episodes, 32 non-Mo strips, the Amazon Bedtime Companion, “The Crush,” FUN HOME, the all-Alison Gay Comics edition, The Indelible AB, plus countless posters, calendars, fridge magnets, T-shirts, and coffee mugs.

    A damn inspiring body of work. Congratulations on a life well-lived.

  62. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    I wonder where we can find all those “Servants to the Cause” comics she wrote for the Advocate.

  63. Jennifer says:

    Woo-hoo! 500! I heart DTWO4, especially JR’s piggy tails. I relent, no one needs a glue habit or a show tune. Rock on Ms. B.

  64. Suzanonymous says:

    Wonderful! So many layers, amazing. (Something others haven’t already mentioned: While the image was slowly loading, I was at first confused about Tibetan flags being on an Evangelical’s house, then realized, ah, she got me!) 🙂

    Congratulations! A toast to 500 more!

    About the fund drive, I was cynical when the $500 goal was first mentioned, and just amazed at the response. Zounds!

  65. Ellen O. says:

    Ng Yi-Sheng,

    _The Indelible Alison Bechdel_ has the “Servants to the Cause” strips, plus lots, lots more.

    You can order it from Powell’s or your local bookstore.

  66. Joanna says:

    Loved #500 – always have loved DTWO4, always will. My bottomless thanks to you, AB. And a tip o’ the nib to everyone on these threads!

  67. Jana C.H. says:

    Another detail I just noticed: look at Paul’s wife’s face when he says, “To Madeline.” This was not a solitary slip-up. She’s been dealing with this sort of thing for some time. It may not be Alzheimer’s, but Paul’s mind is not what it was.

    Of course, neither is mine. How do you spell subtlety? Subtlty? Oh, just write “detail.”

    Jana C.H. “the Cartographer”
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  68. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    Thanks Ellen O, but I was asking about the ones which weren’t published in the Indelible Alison Bechdel… she only featured 2 1/2 comics from the whole time she was with them. Anyone else know where to find “Servants to the Cause” strips?

  69. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    Ooh, and good observation, Jana! I’d just read it as “exasperation”, but hadn’t realised it pointed to the fact that it indicated precedents.

  70. Feminista says:

    I don’t think Paul has dementia (my dad had it,a side-effect of Parkinson’s),so let’s not assume the worst. I’m a baby- boomer and my short-term memory is slipping,though my long-term memory is great (just ask me to name my classmates in first grade). I also noticed Jennifer’s expression,and I interpreted it mean that she felt embarassed; since she and Mo bonded on a previous visit,there’s some empathy going on there: J knows Mo doesn’t want to hear about Mad.

    My dad used to say that his mother,a very bright and strong woman,sometimes would call her sons by her brothers’ names,and this was when she was in her 30s. It happens to ghe best of us.

  71. LondonBoy says:

    Couldn’t it just be that they’ve all probably already had an aperitif (or two). When not entirely sober, sometimes a mistake is just a mistake.

  72. K.B. says:

    No. There are at least two things going on: Paul knows that Sydney has been seeing more of Madeleine than Mo knows about, and he’s losing it, too.

  73. Em says:

    Ordinarily I’d attribute it to just a mistake on his part, but in this context it has the unmistakable air of ominous foreshadowing.

    It’s funny, my first thought with Cynthia wasn’t “Whoo! She’s finally standing up to her dad!” (it was my second thought though) but rather “Wait, she’s graduating from college already?” I do believe she was a freshamn during my own freshman year, however due to some unfortunate happenstances I still have a couple more years to go. Of course lots of people do the 5 year (or more plan) so it’s always a surprise to see people actually graduating in four years.

  74. Sarah says:

    Ng Yi-Sheng,

    According to this Web site — http://www.gayleague.com/gay/history/gaybios.php — Alison’s “Servants to the Cause” strips were collected in Gay Comics No. 19, published in Early Summer 1993.

    I don’t know where you can buy this issue of Gay Comics, but after a little Web sleuthing, I’d suggest starting with Andy Mangels, the editor of Gay Comics. His e-mail address is andy@andymangels.com.

    Good luck!

  75. Maggie Jochild says:

    This is Off Topic, but this blog is the best place on earth to find someone who will know (Google isn’t turning it up): In the late 1970s or early 1980s, as the first wave of alternative insemination babies born to dykes began appearing in San Francisco, a lesbian wrote a comic book about how to do this, alternatively inseminate. I remember it as both hilarious and accurate, informative. I had the author pegged as Mary Wings, but it doesn’t show in her bio. Possibly it could be Roberta Gregory (although I don’t remember the art as her very distinctive style). I need this information for my novel — surely one of you on this list will know, maybe even have a copy. I need the name of the comic and who drew it. Go to it, sisters!

  76. shadocat says:

    Paul has the big A-I’d bet the farm on it. Why do I say this?

    When corrected, he argues, “I said Mo”. I know he’s a pompous ass, but I think even he would asked to be excused for a verbal slip, especially since it involves the woman Sydney’s been with for HOW MANY YEARS? Com’on y’all, he’s losin’ it.

    Someone raised the issue of possible family secrets; here’s a few of my favorites:

    1)Your uncle is REALLY your COUSIN.

    2)Your mom/dad had an affair with the neighbor. Or the babysitter. Or your Uncle Bob.

    3)Your husband knocked up a girl in high school, then ran off and joined the army. Somewhere out there, you have a stepson.

    4)Your great-grandfather was a raging alcoholic and very possibly killed his first wife before he married your great- grandma.

    5)You’re adopted.

    6)Your dog Bingo never went to that fsrm in the country…

    7) Instead of coming from a long line of German Catholics, you find out you really came from a long line of Polish Jews…

    8)Your Aunt Sallie didn’t die in childhood; instead she’s been in a “special” home for the last forty years. The good news is, the place is closing, and she’s coming to live with you!

    9)Your partner’s been slipping benadryl in your herbal tea to “calm you down” for the past three years.

    10)And of course the worst sin of all: you, your mom, dad, Uncle Bob, Aunt Sallie, brother, sister or dog Bingo -are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered…

  77. corybant says:

    In “Replicants” Sydney teases, “Daddy! Is Alzheimer’s setting in already?”

  78. Helene says:

    In “Spawn of DTWOF”, the license plate on Clarice and Toni’s new car is D2WO4.

  79. RiotGrrl613 says:

    500! Wow.
    Has it been that long? That means… carry the one; oh snap! I must have started reading the strip when I was 16!
    In that case, I thank you for keeping me entertained and laughing through some of the toughest years of my life, for well, being there when I needed it the most.
    You rock!
    Riot out.

  80. Sherri says:

    Mazel tov, Mo!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  81. Donut Rooter says:

    Congrats,and thanks for posting it early! 🙂

  82. Yossi says:

    A big, hearty Mazel Tov to Mo!! Is her job in an Academic, Public or special library?

  83. Jain says:

    The wonderful Dyke Shorts, by Mary Wings, included “Conception Comix” (“story lived by Maggie Wheels, Lotta Dolittle, and others!! drawing by Mary Wings”)

    On the back it says Wise Women Enterprises, Box 33, Dept. co, Stoningham, Maine 04681

    and inside copyright Mary Wings 1978, PO Box 23984, Oakland, California 94623

  84. Sophie says:

    Thanks for the info Helene!
    Let’s give Alison what belongs to Alison.

    I’ll never forget the “I.D. fixe?” episode (#323 :o) where Sparrow comes out as a “bisexual lesbian”. Goddess, that felt so good.

    Several years before, I was doing volunteer work with a strictly lesbian group (publishing a lesbian news rag, actually) and some of the wimmin gave me a pretty hard time after one member of the group outed me as a bisexual to her girlfriend. As it turned out, that member was a closeted bisexual too.

    Times have changed, and DTWO4 not only reflects, but drives all kinds of changes in attitudes and mentalities.

    Three Cheers for Alison!

  85. --MC says:

    The balance of the “Servants To The Cause” strips are in that issue of “Gay Comics” (as well as a number of non-DTWO4 stories that are reprinted in the “Indelible” book), but I get the feeling that one or two are missing. The last one in the comic ends on a cliffhanger that is never resolved. And the panel with the two S2TC characters saying goodbye to the reader ..
    Mary Wings is now a successful writer of mysteries, but in the 70s she self-published two now-forgotten comix; the first one, “Come Out Comix”, is the first all-lesbian comic, beating Roberta Gregory’s “Dynamite Damsels” by a couple of years. For some reason Wings has put her comix past behind her. I have a copy, and it cost a lot of trouble to get. But it’s not bad, a little sketchy but an important part of herstory that should not be lost.

  86. Samia says:

    Dear Alison,

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for the work that you do, for the validity and affirmation that you bring to queer lives and for the acknowledgement, space and voice that you give to non-white communities.

    CONGRATULATIONS on DTWOF’s 500th episode!

    Lots of love and good wishes from Bangladesh.

  87. Maggie Jochild says:

    To Jain and MC: Toda raba! U rock!

    And yes, let’s hear it for “Come Out Comix” and “Dynamite Damsels”, who rattled my world when they appeared.

    On a seeming side note, but not really, Dirk Dirksen died a couple of days ago. I didn’t know of him but, turns out, knew of some of his work — he supported the development of Les Nickelettes, a women’s (lesbian, I think) guerrilla comedy troupe in San Francisco arising from the Mitchell Brothers theater enterprise. The Mitchell Brothers ran skanky porn theaters, live sex shows, sex shops, etc. in SF and their businesses were frequently under attack by WAVPM — of which I was a member — I helped lead the Sunday afternoon porn tours of the Tenderloin, where we’d take folks into the peeps and adult bookstores with a little microphone, pointing out child porn, racist and Nazi porn, linking various kinds of objectification together — usually clearing each establishment of customers after we’d been there five minutes. Without any contradiction in my head, I was also close friends with women who were in COYOTE, prostitutes and sex industry workers, and there was a core group of separatists and radical lezzies who worked for the Mitchell Brothers. We all had a better understand of the complexity of objectification and economics in those days, I think.

    The roommate of one of my girlfriends was Valerie Reynolds in Les Nickelettes. They persuaded Diane Noomin, of Wimmin Comix and Tits and Clits reknown, to allow her cartoon character DiDi Glitz and some of her stories to be made into a live theater production. Valerie played DiDi in the first show, entitled “I’d Rather Be Doing Something Else: The DiDi Glitz Story”, which played at Fort Mason to serious success. I went the first time because of Valerie, but went back at least a dozen times because it was a comic book character come to outrageous life. They did a second show, my memory tells me, about “Rubberware”. DiDi lives on in my soul.

    The point of all this is to say I would LOVE to see a women’s theater troupe take D2TO4 to the stage. Wouldn’t you?

  88. tallie says:

    i like the idea of a theater troupe WAY more than a cartoon or film adaptation.
    perhaps with projected drawn backgrounds?

  89. Feminista says:

    Maggie JC–Great idea. Now we can argue,er,discuss and process about who should play whom endlessly! My suggestions: Marga Gomez as Toni. Margaret Cho as Sparrow. Barbara Smith as Ginger. Mary Cheney as Cynthia. Fairy Butch as Naomi.Bernice Johnson Reagan as Jezanna. Toshi Reagan as a 20-somehthing Clarice. Kate Clinton as herself….

    Good luck on your novel–keep us posted.

    Shadocat–hilarious post today. You rock!

    I hope my cousin who lives in Minneapolis sees this (Hi,Paul!)

  90. bigbeard61 says:

    I think that Mo was training to be a public service/reference librarian. But what about Lois? Maybe (and I think I’m plagiarizing someone here) her experience educating Janis could inspire her, and she could go back to school, get certified and become a radical educator (or she could get a job at a progressive independent school). I feel like a parent who doesn’t want to see any of his children without security and fulfillment in the job area.

  91. Feminista says:

    bigbeard–Yes,I suggested that Lois become a sex-positive educator. As a radical educator (and activist/writer) myself,I think Lois would do better working with students over 18. Agree with you on Mo.

    I’m a parent,and though my daughter’s future career choice of hair & makeup stylist is very far from my values,I support her in making her own decisions. She and I both went, independently,to a big May Day immigrants’ rights demo,so some of my and my late husband’s values have penetrated her consciousness. Si se puede!

  92. shadocat says:

    Thanks for the props, Feminista! Only half of those things happened in my family-3,4,6,7 and of course,10. The rest were inflicted on friends and neighbors…

    I don’t remember seeing it in “Spawn”,but I’m sure that’s where I picked up the whole “D2WOF” thing. Just think of all the subliminal messages AB could be putting in here…

    I’m all for the theatre production; may I suggest Richard Dreyfus(natch)for Stuart, and Cameron Manheim as Harriet?

    Don’t know who could to justice to Mo–we might have to get a cute, butchy unknown.

    And I think Lois would make a great teacher! There’s a radical Montessori school down here (pre thru grade 8) where I can totally see her working…

  93. Ellen O. says:

    Ng Yi-Sheng,

    I own the all AB Gay Comix issue. If you have trouble finding a copy on the net, let me know, and I can copy the pertinent pages for you. Unless that’s a copyright violation? Hmmm…


  94. Sophie says:

    Ellen: I think it would be a copyright violation if any money was exchanged. But then, maybe I’m just too naive.

    Feminista: Margaret Cho as Sparrow! That would give her a twist! Let’s see. How about Anne Heche for Sydney?

    And, Maggie: Gosh, you Frisco gals get all the fun…

  95. Sophie says:

    Duh. I meant, I _don’t_ think it would be…
    OK. More coffee for me.

  96. Sophie says:

    Aaaarrhgghh!! Forget that last post.
    (moves to the back of the class and sits quietly).

  97. PKintheUK says:

    I don’t think Cynthia’s dad has any big secret or that anything “made” him (and Cynthia) a fundamentalist so much as probably his own family leanings or the region where he grew up, or that in some time of need the place he found help was affliliated with or became a fundamentalist church.

    As for Sydney’s dad, I would have chalked it up to a few drinks and his knowing about Sydney seeing Madelaine, but then his denial in the last panel does seem suspicious. Suspicious why, I’m not sure. Some early signs of dementia aren’t impossible, I suppose. After all, it’s something that affects thousands of people but no one in the strip yet.

    Regarding movie, cartoon, stage adaptations…For me a lot of what makes the strip special is its use of the medium. I do love the characters, but unless AB wanted to explore a new medium and thought using DTWOF was a good bridge to that, I don’t really see any need an adaptation. Though Bernice Johnson Reagon would make a great Jezanna.

    Anna–I second the vote for a queer South Asian character 🙂 Apparently Anjali the intern was supposed to be South Asian, but we haven’t heard from her in quite a while. I wouldn’t even mind if it were a guy, but I think Carlos owns the “cute, sassy, brown gay man” niche. Where is he, anyway?

  98. SKinPDX says:

    congratulations on NYTimes top 100 notable books of 2006!

  99. Liz says:

    Jiao Raizel has become a spoiled brat! Alison does bring out the reality so well.

  100. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    Thanks Ellen and Sarah for the advice on Servants to the Cause! Will try and buy a copy of my own online.

    These posts are getting almost as thick (as in frequency) as those in the Dilbert blog – but far less combative.

  101. sillipitti says:

    Yes! One hundred comments on DTWOF #500! If all you posters lavish as much love on your own friends in the “real” world as you do on DTWOF, I would say there’s hope for the real world yet! And if there’s a casting call for Mo, I hope to heaven I don’t miss it–I’ve got at least one personal contact who would make a fabulous Mo!

  102. shadocat says:

    PK- i think the first thing that made me suspicious about Sydney’s dad is the way he is drawn. He looks, older, crankier, more irritable.He is not the energetic, older man that we have seen before. Then when Sydney calls him on his faux pas, he immediately denies it, turning it back on her; “Are you deaf?”

    I’ve seeen my father, a retired attorney do this many times. One minute he will be supremely articulate and verbose. Then, with one little slip, he will turn, snap and tantrum like a toddler.

    I think the look on Paul’s wife’s face is very telling as well. To me, it’s an “Oh no, not again” look. Poor Sydney- she craves her father’s love and attention, and if he does have Alaheimer’s or dementia, she will get less and less of it as time goes on, until finally, she has nothing at all.

    Funny-Paul probably had many affairs with his students
    before he finally settled down with his trophy wife, and his daughter had an affair with her promiscuous professor. When Sydney did not get the approval she was craving , or the comfort she needed from her father at that conference, who did she go to for comfort? Madeline! Could Madeline possibly be a proxy for Sydney’s father, or at least an attempt on her part to make up for the part of her father’s love she yearns for? Also, since Paul was not faithful to his wife , could Sydney’s (sometime) pursuit of polyamory really be a pursuit of her father’s affection? I wonder…

  103. shadocat says:

    BTW-Here’s a link to an interesting take on the Haggard story:


  104. Meg says:

    Re: Liz’s comment “JR has become a spoiled brat?” What? I don’t get it! What’d she do? It wasn’t her fault Cynthia gave her the petitions to use for her scrap paper snowflakes… She seems like a darling imp, that’s a far cry from a spoiled brat in my book. Also, if I were JR’s parent (I have 2 young kids) I’d be uncomfortable w/ her hearing Cynthia’s “asswipe” and “fry in hell”. It just didn’t seem realistic to me. Most of the people I know avoid angry rhetoric like that in front of little ones. But Cynthia was upset…

    It’s hard to believe that I’ve been reading DTWOF for 14 years!! I adore Mo. Thanks for everything. Take care.

  105. Feminista says:

    I think JR is cute and portrayed realistically;definitely not a brat.And she’s got lots of adults in her life to take the pressure off S & S. Would like to see her playing with her peers. Sooo,I think it’s time for part-time day care; Stuart was worried about what Harriet’s little cherub picked up in child care,but it’s no worse than hearing Cynthia’s spontaneous spewing.

    Hey,if we keep this going we could make it 500 posts for #500!

  106. Josiah says:

    D’you suppose that Mo gave J.R. that shirt?

  107. Tom Crippen says:

    About Stuart’s petitions/snowflakes . . . can’t the poor guy catch a break? Ever? He’s the Capt. Crossover of the strip.

  108. Silvio Soprani says:

    Just returned from 1300 mile car journey to Georgia to see new 5-month old grandchild (a boy.) He does this funny little wiggle putting his elbows up behind his head; makes him look like betty boop. Someone at Thanksgiving dinner said, “maybe he’s going to be a dancer.” Loveable but Redneck uncle said “GAWD I hope not!” I was thinking fondly of DTWOF’s Stuart and hoping little Benjamin has someone like that in his life somewhere along the line!

    Alison, Congratulations on #500! What a nice surprise to come home after no internet for 4 days and find the new episode!

    Twenty years of these buddies…MUCH to be thankful for!!

  109. Duncan says:

    I agree with Meg — I see no reason to call JR a brat. And it is worth remembering that the last straw that made Stuart quit his job to stay home fulltime with JR was the bad words that she would hear in daycare. (I see now that Feminista picked up on it too.) So now he hears them from a nice homeschooled Christian girl; even if Alison didn’t intend the irony, it’s there. (That’s how great you are, Alison: you let these things, these connections occur, whethere you know you’re doing it or not.)

    Still, I am not so sure that Stuart made the right decision, at least for the right reason. JR will hear these words. I learned them from my parents, who between them used everything but the F word, but who of course didn’t want *us* using them. I still probably use them less than, say, a drill sergeant, a rapper, or Quentin Tarantino. But I began thinking about this when I started seeing South Park. As a writer, I think people should use language with care. But what is, really, so awful, about those “bad words”? Who is harmed by them? As with Janet Jackson’s nipple, we live in a culture whose official position is that “Dude, that sucks ass” from an eight-year old is a sign of cultural degeneration, but killing eight-year-olds with explosives, napalm, and cluster bombs is just fine. Part of the appeal for kids of those “bad words” is that they make adults go crazy. Once I could use them myself, they became much less interesting to me. But even if I’d gone on using them in every sentence, better that than blowing up an abortion clinic or a gay bar. In fact, I can’t really see what harm is done by the “bad words” at all.

  110. Pam Johnson says:

    Alison, for many years you provided the only lesbian community I knew. DTWOF meant more to me than even I could understand at the time.

    On the auspicious occasion of the 500th strip, I raise a toast to you and the magnificent gift you have given all of us — an entire world, with all the complexity and profundity a world encompasses, succinctly written and elegantly illustrated.

    To Alison Bechdel; long may you flourish.


  111. PKintheUK says:

    Yes, Cheers!

  112. AnnaP says:

    I reasently heard of a study, that people who swear now and then, have less stress than people who newer do. Still I think using bad language in front of children is inproper. But do you remeber Raffi`s first word?
    RJ should definitely have other kids around her to play with, part time daycare would be wonderfull.
    her dad would have more time for political activism too.

    Suprised there has been no debate on the murder Of Anna Politkovskaja or Aleksandr Litvinenko. I bet the new dictator of Russia is behind that.
    Has there been demonstrations for democracy and freedom of peace in Russia in the States or just here in Europe?

  113. Xanthe says:

    I’m not aware of any demonstrations here in London. I do know it’s put me off sushi a tad though.

  114. Lea says:

    yeah, man. polonium in your fish?? freaky. do we live in a f** james bond movie?

  115. Tom Crippen says:

    Pam Johnson makes a good point there. Here’s to Alison Bechdel for giving us DTWOF.

  116. judybusy says:

    Hey All, just something a little off topic. I live in Minneapolis, and got an email from our highly esteemed Amazon Bookstore Cooperative, one of the oldest feminist bookstores in the nation (and home to AB’s readings when she’s in town!) Similar to Madwimmin books, things are tough for them. So, to try to prevent a sad fate, I am encouraging people to buy books and other sundries from them: if anyone hasn’t bought their copy of Fun Home, here’s where to get it! Their website is http://www.amazonbookstorecoop.com

  117. Earlene Evans says:

    I’ve been reading since the days of WomanNews, right up to the publication of your recent masterpiece. Great work, and my sincere congratulations to you!

  118. Duncan says:

    Thanks for the reminder, judybusy. I bought my copy of Fun Home at my local independent bookstore; I wish we still had a feminist/glbt bookstore here, but it’s long gone. I’ll make sure to watch the Amazonbookstorecoop site, though. (Didn’t they have some legal trouble with Medusa … I mean Amazon.com, back in the day, who wanted them to change their name?)

    AnnaP, I do remember Raffi’s first word. (Did they put it in his memory book, I wonder?) As for adults using “bad words” in front of children, it may be “inappropriate” (which, sorry, is one of those words like “unnecessary” that I think are really bad words) — but not to worry, they’ll hear them from other kids.

    Hm, even though this is my first comment since yesterday, I’m getting a “slow down cowboy” error message when I try to post this one. What gives? Yeehaw….

  119. Katie says:

    Hi Duncan,

    Thanks for telling us about this…I’m going to run a few tests, and then I’ll be able to tell you what you and a few others might be running into.

    Update: I got the “slow down cowboy” message when I posted more than once ever fifteen seconds.  It looks like you’re somehow hitting our spamfilter.  I’ll ask our very knowledgeable web manager about it. 

  120. RuTemple says:

    K.R. Said:
    Mo had better be taking a cataloging job, or I will be sorely disappointed.

    I *so* agree — and if not, it’d be the ideal she would just aspire to — she’s the perfect archetype of a cataloger. *twitch*

    Congratulations, Alison!
    Keep ’em coming,

    Duncan – the Mpls store sued Medusa, who settled with them. I’m sure they still get tons of calls asking “where’s my order” about orders from the other, sigh.


  121. Jana C.H. says:

    I would not object to Cynthia’s “fry in Hell” because she was not using it as an expletive. I’ve been known to use swear words in front of kids because I’m not around kids much and I forget. But generally I’m against it not because it’s immoral but because it’s stupid.

    The language a child hears from the adults in her life is what she’ll feel comfortable using as an adult. If it’s “Dude, that sucks ass,” that’s what will come out as “normal language” for her, perhaps in front of that sexy, elegant, intellectual woman she’s trying to impress at the local lesbian bar. If it’s “perspicacious,” that’s what will come out. The only people who will object in the latter case will be folks like “College Educated” in the previous thread. And who care about impressing them?

    Besides, a “sucks ass”-level vocabulary makes it that much more work to understand college textbooks, the Atlantic Monthly, and certain high-brow graphic memoirs. Personally, I don’t need the extra work.

    Jana C.H. “the Cartographer”
    Saith JcH: Some people drink, some people gamble, some like whips and chains; I buy books.

  122. Ann says:

    And for a MISUSE

  123. Ann says:

    Something glitched. Anyway, as I was saying, for a misuse of the word “benighted” by Doug Johnson, school library god, here’s a quote from an article, “Getting the Job You Deserve” in Book Report, Mar/April, volume 19, issue 5:
    “Some media specialists have truly horrific jobs. I hear from them now and then. After working, pleading, planning, exhorting, team-playing, designing, and praying, they are still in positions in which it is impossible to feel like a true professional who does work that benefits kids and is personally gratifying. If you are one of those folks who has sincerely tried everything but are still working in a school culture that squashes innovation, lacks benighted leadership, ignores any attempt at a constructive approach to education, worships the standardized test, and fails the needs of far too many students, I say it’s time too look for another job instead of beating your head against the wall (or buying lottery tickets).”

    So thanks for the proper use of the word, Alison, and in a library context too! Wierd.

  124. Ann says:

    The year of the article was 2001. Sorry.

  125. S K -R :) says:

    WOW!!! 500 you must be so proud.. All I am going to say is yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyiiiiiiiipppppppppiiiiii
    and raise you glass to the 500th oneee ************

    *********** ************ *************
    CONGRATs :):):)

  126. Feminista says:

    Hey all you wise,witty,women and men,

    Good News in today’s Liliane strip!

  127. --MC says:

    You could ever post a link. (/grouchy)
    But that is happy news!

  128. Duncan says:

    Katie — thank you! I get that error message, when I get it, the *first* time I try to post a comment. Must be gremlins.

    RUTemple, thanks for the info about Amazon vs. Medusa.

    Jana —

    But what if you know both “Dude, that totally sucks ass!” and “My dear, that is perfectly perspicacious!” Which, by the way, do not mean the same thing.

    You really do seem to be implying, at least, that if a child hears the first, she will never be able to learn the second. And that is not true. Everyone learns that different styles of language are appropriate to different audiences and situations. When someone says something as obviously false as that, I know something is up.

    My mother used to say something along those lines when I was young, back in the Paleolithic Era: “If you talk like that, Duncan, your younger brothers will think it’s all right to talk like that too…” I never dared to ask her, and she never explained, why it didn’t apply to the expletives *she* used. If she talked like that, I and my brothers would think it was all right to talk like that too….

    What is really at issue, I suspect, is that very young children are still learning to judge whether the audience and the situation are right, and their parents will be embarrassed when they say, “Dude, that totally sucks ass!” during a Papal audience. (Personally, if I ever met the Pople, that is more or less what I’d want to say to him.)

  129. Duncan says:


    “Pople”? What is up with that? That is soooo gay.

    Anyway, I wanted to add that while being embarrassed by one’s children is no doubt uncomfortable (and another reason I’m not all that sorry to be childless), it’s one of the pullulating perils of perspicacious parenthood. And before long, the parents will be embarrassing their children, so it all evens out.

  130. Rokinrev in Fulton NY says:

    Here’s to 500 more. Too bad Planet Out stopped printing it after Brokeback Mouthin’….their loss.

    Alison, I used to work at Amazon Feminist Bookstore when I was in seminary and we’ve run into each other a few times over the years. I love your work hun….. and may I bee anther 50 years older and still be able to point and read DTWOF!


  131. fjm says:


    could you skip the use of “trophy wife”? It’s a real insult to the woman involved, and I’m speaking personally. I’m a second wife, much younger than my partner. We became involved through the sheer intensity of intellectual engagement (and I called myself a dyke for most of the six years I knew him before we got involved). People are more willing to discuss this dark secret of the PhD situation –two people, together in a room for hours, over three years–than they used to be, but your comments don’t help. The assumption that the younger woman must be “the trophy” (why is it never the other way around?); that the attraction is always looks; and that it somehow compensates her for a ruined career–and take my word for it, even when it “works out”, it’s never *the man* who has to hear little whispers about whether they deserved that job they got.

    It took five years for me to work beyond comments such as the ones you made.

  132. anonymous-eponymous says:


    How come “inappropriate” is a bad word, but “appropriate” is such a good word you used it yourself? Isn’t the one word just a negation of the other?

  133. shadocat says:

    fjm-it seems that although you have been working for five years on this issue, you clearly have some work left to do.

    Surely you must’ve realized that I was refering to one character in a cartoon strip, not every significantly younger woman married to a much older man, and certainly not to you in particular.

    Lighten up, already!

  134. Louise says:


    I’m confused about your response above. It seems to me that fjm was making the point that the term “trophy wife” is derogatory–a way to label a woman so that she is seen as less than fully human, and not at all her partner’s equal. I’ve only ever heard “trophy wife” used as an insult.

    There are lots of labels we deem offensive, and the mere use of them is damaging, whether we’re joking around, talking about a cartoon character, or applying it to a group of people.

    I’ve always loved your comments on this blog, usually so thoughtful and fun, so your response took me by surprise. People are always told to get a sense of humor whenever they’re expressing something that someone else doesn’t want to hear. What you’re really saying is “shut up.”

  135. Dana says:


    I agree with Shadocat. My feelings are no reflection on YOU any more than Shaocat’s were. As far as I know, you were boinking the married guy whose research assistant you were. Paul’s wife WAS, however, doing that. Paul was married to an academic his own age; they probably had tons to discuss and debate about – you can’t tell me that Paul didn’t start boinking (her name escapes me) just because they were sharing intellectual discourse. She was younger than his wife, hot in the pants, and she made him feel like a king. Don’t kid yourself. That he married her is interesting, but not so much. Sydney is middle-aged and her stepmother looks about her age, as well. Paul was already getting long in the tooth when he hooked up with her, probably. Men like him keep going until they are taken out of the game. His now-wife was probably the last RA who would have looked at him twice. And as for men not being the prize? Well look at Paul – he’s paunchy, creaky and may or may not be exhibiting the signs of an incurable, horrible disease.

    And frankly, if a woman, knowing the sexist climate that pervades academia, is going to be so classless as to fuck the guy who is essentially her boss and is twice her age, then she deserves the whispers. The minute we see an influx of young male RAs screwing their older female professors, then I’ll rescind my comment.

  136. mlk says:

    Dana, I agree with Louise when she says “People are always told to get a sense of humor whenever they’re expressing something that someone else doesn’t want to hear. What you’re really saying is “shut up.””

    let me say I don’t think for a minute that Shadocat intended to insult anyone reading the blog. but even unintentional insults are hurtful, and “trophy wife” is hardly a compliment to Jennifer OR Paul. or anyone else whose life resembles theirs.

    why is it that when someone brings to our attention that we’ve (unintentionally) insulted them, we become defensive (because it was unintentional)? isn’t it more humane and mature to apologize for stepping on their toes?

    I don’t know if I can put into words what I want to say here, but I’ll try: most anyone is insulted when someone *like* them is held in contempt. if the insult is unintentional, why not apologize for the pain it caused? marginalized groups have been looking for more consideration from those who don’t like their differentness; can’t we do that for one another?

    if you intend the insult, I guess there’s no reason to apologize, is there?


    p.s. — and saying something like “I’m sorry if what I said hurt your feelings” is lame. if you know their feelings were hurt (and you wouldn’t offer a sorry ass apology if you didn’t) then acknowledge it! acknowledging a hurt feeling doesn’t legitimize it. it simply says that you didn’t intent harm without causing further harm.

  137. annoyed lawyer says:

    Wow, Dana. “And frankly, if a woman, knowing the sexist climate that pervades academia, is going to be so classless as to fuck the guy who is essentially her boss and is twice her age, then she deserves the whispers.” So now it’s okay for some women to be evaluated professionally on the basis of whom they choose to have a sexual relationship with, rather than on their job performance (i.e. their writing, research, teaching, and the like)?

    I wonder if Sydney ended up in a long-term partnership with Madeline if you and shadocat would be deriding Sydney’s intelligence, judgment, and morals, and observing that Madeline was obviously undesirable because she is grey-haired, showing her age in the skin of her face, and indeed, has already lost one breast to a “horrible” and often fatal disease?

    Anyway, I’m ultimately confused as to how comments such as yours can NOT be a reflection on the choices of women such as FJM (or myself).

  138. shadocat says:

    Ok; As I said in an earlier post:

    “Funny-Paul probably had many affairs with his students
    before he finally settled down with his trophy wife, and his daughter had an affair with her promiscuous professor. When Sydney did not get the approval she was craving , or the comfort she needed from her father at that conference, who did she go to for comfort? Madeline! Could Madeline possibly be a proxy for Sydney’s father, or at least an attempt on her part to make up for the part of her father’s love she yearns for? Also, since Paul was not faithful to his wife , could Sydney’s (sometime) pursuit of polyamory really be a pursuit of her father’s affection? I wonder… ”

    I would certainly NOT defend Sydney’s behavior with Madeline! Did you read my post at all , annoyed lawyer? I believe the boundaries between student/teacher, or employer/employee should be maintained, because of the advantage that can be taken by the person holding the power in the relationship. I know these boundaries are crossed time and again, and a lot of people do not feel as strongly about this as I do. I can’t change their opinions on the subject, but I know it’s at the very least, unprofessional of the teacher, and at the worst, abusive to the student.

    I refuse to write some lame apology to someone that personalized something I wrote about a FICTIONAL CHARACTER!
    I didn’t ask fjm to think it was funny or witty. She doesn’t even have to like it! Actually the term “trophy wife” says more about the husband than the woman he married. Paul was the one with the worst boundaries, the one that took advantage of his power. Jennifer is the prize. But even though he “won” her, so to speak, he’s the one who appears to be the biggest loser.

    I didn’t ask fjm to “get a sense of humor”. I asked her to “lighten up”. Maybe in your neck of the woods,lighten up means get a sense of humor. Out here in the sticks it means–“RELAX! I’m not talkin’ about you!” It also means “I’m not going to walk around on eggshells and be so gd pc all of the time, because I may possibly offend you. I try to keep away from as much foul language as possible. I try to stay away from name calling (except for those people who are–say it again–FICTONAL!). But I will speak my honest opinion when discussing things here, and I’ll be damned if I have to wear some politically correct straight jacket to do so. (and thank you Dana-at least you got me)

    Besides–I’m just a dumb ole girl from Missouri–WTF do y’all care about what I think about you or your relationships anyway?

  139. shadocat says:

    And to answer the question: what I meant was NOT “shut up.”

    BTW-this was written by a wrinkly, going grey-haired woman, who has also lost a part of her body to a horrible disease. So thank you, for taking me back to that place, and rubbing some salt in.

  140. Aneilie says:

    Do you all remember DTWOF 481 psy-op.

    From the information there. Paul and his wife got divorced, because he couldn’t handle her having had an affair at the side.

    Therefore the “happily married boss meets young dependent lady and leaves his wife” does not fully apply.

  141. Louise says:


    I’m sorry that my comments rubbed salt into some old wounds. It’s not what I meant to do at all. (I’ll speak for my own comments–I can’t speak for anyone else).

    I was calling as I saw it, and I was genuinely wondering where you were coming from. My sincere apologies for writing something that hurt you. I love your intelligent and humorous presence on this blog, and continue to do so.

    It’s the point of this conversation to understand all points of view, and learn from each other, so thanks for writing what you wrote above.

    I just want to say, in general and to everyone, that I still think “trophy wife” is an oppressive term, and meant to dehumanize the woman much more so than the man.

    I don’t think it is fair to suggest–even in the form of “for all I know…”–that fjm’s partner was married when they began their relationship. We simply do not have that information.

    Even if we can in no way identify with the label “trophy wife” for ourselves, the oppression and/or dismissal of one group of women (in this case, those married to much older men), hurts all women. That’s just how I see it.

  142. Dana says:

    FJM, I apologize – In this sentence I meant to say: “As far as I know, you were NOT boinking the married guy whose research assistant you were. Paul’s wife WAS, however, doing that.”

    I apologize for casting aspersion on your character by my mistatement.

    Amalie, you said: “From the information there. Paul and his wife got divorced, because he couldn’t handle her having had an affair at the side. Therefore the “happily married boss meets young dependent lady and leaves his wife” does not fully apply.”

    Maybe, maybe not. If I’m a lady getting on in years and I have to face facts that not only is my husband fucking his way through his nubile, perky grad assistants, he’s marrying one, I might try to rationalise it in my favour, as well.

    Sydney had never heard that story before – don’t you think that Paul might’ve mentioned her mother’s affair as a way to exonerate himself? In earlier strips, it was clear that Syd didn’t like Jennifer. Placing much of the blame of the breakup on Syd’s mother, who Syd already has issues with, might’ve gotten Paul a “Get out of the Doghouse Free” card with his daughter. At best, it’s he said-she said.

    Annoyed Lawyer, you said: “So now it’s okay for some women to be evaluated professionally on the basis of whom they choose to have a sexual relationship with, rather than on their job performance (i.e. their writing, research, teaching, and the like)?”

    Frankly, yes.

    I’m black. As evidenced in recent events, racism still exists. There is a segment of the population who won’t give a damn that I have two degrees from two Ivy League institutions, that I speak three languages and that I am a white-collar professional gainfully employed in New York City. They simply won’t give a fuck, because my skin color rules all. I am, then, no better to that certain segment of the population than the babymamas they see on Maury.

    This in mind, it would be foolish of me to conduct myself in a way that lives down to that stereotype. Now, as a human being, I have every RIGHT to dress as I wish, talk as I wish, wear my hair as I wish. But what I wish above all is to be taken seriously as a professional. And speaking in ebonics, wearing wild hairstyles and clothing won’t make it. It is my RIGHT to do so, but it would be foolish of me to do so knowing that we still live in a racist climate.

    Similarly, it is an adult woman’s RIGHT to screw whomever she wishes, as long as the partner is also a consenting adult.

    Yet, if a woman wants to be taken seriously in academia, one of the most rigid spheres of influence EVER, bending over for her married professor is going to get her a reputation. Period. Just being an attractive woman may raise eyebrows among a certain set, but by living down to the stereotype of the hot-in-the-pants nympho who likes screwing her married professors on top of their rolltop desks, those women are shooting themselves in the foot, and yeah, if I were a dean, I would question the character and choices of a woman who is getting on her knees for married men.

    I understand that “life” happens. But as a double minority in this society, I’m tired of people using that as an excuse. If you want to even scratch the surface of being taken seriously in academia, the first step is to keep your hands off your professors. Period.

    As for Syd and Madeline? That’s actually a good question. I have a feeling that in academia, like in other spheres of influence, the powers that be don’t think that “the queers” count. First off, the stigma of homewrecker isn’t there simply because gays can’t marry. So Sydney was cheating on Mo with Madeline, but in the eyes of the old boys, it was “just three lesboes getting their kicks, and hey, don’t those gay people swap partners all the time?”

    But I don’t like Sydney and I never did, and her philandering is one main reason why. I was disgusted when I read the arc long ago about how she’d left Thea high and dry, and when she started cheating on Mo, I wasn’t surprised at all.

    But lesbian relationships simply – and sadly – can’t be compared to the Jennifer and Paul situation in academia, because they’re either barely tolerated or ignored altogether. Young women who hope to have a career have to control themselves. Stop leaving it up to the men. Someone mentioned that Paul abused his power. Fine. He did. But unless he forced her or threatened her, I’m going to assume that Jennifer spread her legs willingly for him, and so she was just as culpable.

    And if she didn’t know the consequences of her actions? Tough. If you’re in that situation, you really have to think about whether the orgasm is worth torpedoing your career.

  143. --MC says:

    Placing much of the blame of the breakup on Syd’s mother, who Syd already has issues with, might’ve gotten Paul a “Get out of the Doghouse Free” card with his daughter.

    Unless he nobly and dramatically decided to shield his daughter from the truth of the situation. Men often make this sort of melodramatic gesture, particularly academics.
    Which is dishonest, but refreshing. The woman in a relationship gets the stick all the time. Here in Seattle, the pastor of a local megachurch recently stated that he thought Ted Haggard had turned to male prostitutes because his wife had “let herself go” and wasn’t sexually appealing anymore!

  144. annoyed lawyer says:

    Shadocat and Dana and Louise,

    I have to be quick this morning, but I just wanted to say a couple of things before they got lost way down low in the thread. First, Shadocat, I apologize for my statements about Madeline’s appearance and health hurting you. That wasn’t my intention at all. To the contrary, my point is that probably none of us would deem Madeline unattractive *on the basis of her grey hair or facial wrinkles, or on the basis of her being a cancer survivor*; accordingly, I don’t see why it’s okay to characterize Sydney’s dad (or other older men) this way. I agree in large part that Sydney’s affair with Madeline isn’t/wasn’t “okay” due to Madeline’s being Sydney’s advisor and arguably taking advantage, and later, due to Sydney’s unfaithfulness to Mo. My argument was more about how women here would or wouldn’t characterize Madeline on the basis of her physical condition. And I note that of course, it wasn’t you who did this; it was Dana, and I shouldn’t have lumped both your posts together in this respect. I was wrong to do that simply because I was frustrated by your (continuing) obstinance on your use of the term “trophy wife”: I mean, someone (FJM) who considers herself part of the category of women oft referred to by the term you are using tells you that the term is derogatory to that group of women, and your response is “lighten up?” Whether it means that you weren’t referring to FJM or that you think FJM should shut up or get a sense of humor hardly matters: the point is that it is any one of those sorts of responses that is classically used to silence members of a group who complain that the group is being sterotyped or characterized pejoratively.

    Second, I wanted to say that Dana, I think you are conflating two phenomena. One is condoning or authorizing a variety of employment discrimination; the other is predicting that the discrimination is going to happen. I agree completely that a woman who has a sexual liaison with a married (or unmarried) older male professor or boss might well *predict* that her professional reputation will be damaged. I disagree that that reputation SHOULD be damaged, which is what you seemed to be saying originally. Again, I quote, “And frankly, if a woman, knowing the sexist climate that pervades academia, is going to be so classless as to fuck the guy who is essentially her boss and is twice her age, then she DESERVES [emphasis added] the whispers.” Moreover, I will note that your original post on the topic didn’t seem to reference the infidelity factor, which is an altogether different reason, in my book, for casting aspersions on someone’s moral judgment, than is the appearance, health, or sex of their sexual partner. In other words, I agree that one can justifiably question another’s morals if that person is acting as a “homewrecker;” I don’t think it is okay (though it may be predictable) that a woman’s morals or intellect should be impugned because she has a consensual relationship with a man older than her and senior to her in her chosen professional field.

    And by the way, Dana, you seem to be assuming that anyone who “makes excuses” for choices like Jennifer’s, or FJM’s, or my own, must be white and must not have any clue about just how pervasive and severe sterotyping and the like are, and their effects on employability and professional success. For the record, I’m not African-American, but I am a queer woman of color, too, and would readily characterize racism as the biggest political obstacle (to the extent one can separate it out from homphobia, sexism, and all the other nasty isms) I have faced in my own quest for professional success. I too have two degrees from Ivy League institutions and used to work as a white collar professional in New York City (wonder if we knew each other?). So would it be justified (not just predictable) for you or me, if we performed our jobs as well as anybody else, to not be promoted, for example, because one of us chose to become a mother (let’s say within a het marriage, just to keep the hypothetical simple) at a young age? I can *predict* that of course such a choice would have dramatic effects on our professional prospects, but you seem to be saying that not only would such a choice have such effects, but that it is JUSTIFIABLE for the boss to refuse to promote one of us, excellent job performance aside, because he can’t distinguish us from the babymamas on Maury!

    And Louise, you rock. So short and sweet and so right! I told my husband about this thread last night and he was perplexed because in his mind, the term “trophy wife” didn’t have anything to do with age difference. To him, it was all about the woman referred to, and signifies that she is nothing more than a mentally vacant, beautiful ornament that the man “won” because of his wealth and power. So while we can all argue about whether Paul or Jennifer or Sydney’s mom was a real prize, I think it’s fair to say that for many people, the term trophy wife is saying something negative and classically sexist about the woman referred to.

    Okay, it wasn’t quick ;-).

  145. shadocat says:

    To Louise-Thank you for your apology. I was being a bit snarky when I wrote that; clearly that issue is one I’m still having trouble with. See, you wrote something, and I was offended by it. Isn’t that really MY problem? We could go on and on about this, but I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree. (Still, I thank you for the kind words).

    Dana-You are spot-on! Paul may have had nore power, but Jennifer was no kid either. I agree-if you want to be taken seriously in acadamia (or the business world) keep your hands off your professor!(or your boss!).

    MC–Did you (or anyine else, for that matter) read my post with a link to an interesting article about the Haggard affair?

    Annoyed Lawyer- Thanks for your apology, but you really didn’t need to do so–I’m proud of the way I look, scars and all.

    To sum it up; I used the term “trophy wife” to say something negative and classically sexist about TWO fictional cartoon characters. That’s all. Not the total world of acadamia. Not the whole wonderful real world of ALL WOMANHOOD. Just Jennifer and Paul. I stand by what I said. Hopefully, we can just agree to disagree

  146. Melly says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:
    Allison Bechdel is a GENIUS!

  147. shadocat says:

    Melly-THAT I’ll agree with!

  148. mk says:

    Can’t wait for your next book (DTWOF or other).

  149. K.B. says:

    Trophy wife: my dictionary (not the American Heritage, I’m sorry, but the one that comes with the mac) defines trophy wife as “a young, attractive wife regarded as a status symbol for an older man”. Somehow, the status symbol aspect doesn’t seem to be quite there in the relationship of Jennifer with Paul. That’s why I don’t think the term is appropriate in this context.

  150. Jo Brighton says:

    To move away from the more intellectual posts preceeding…..congratulations on 500 DTWO4 Alison – have enjoyed every single one and only wish there were more per week than there are. Thank you so much.

  151. Amy in Madison says:

    What I think is interesting about the argument precipitated by the use of the term “trophy wife” is that Alison has done such a terrific job of *not* portraying Jennifer as a stereotypical “trophy wife”. In fact, in every instance that I can think of, Alison has portrayed Jennifer as intelligent and as knowing exactly what she wants and how to get it. This is a great example of why I love DTWOF – Alison steadfastly refuses to stereotype any of her characters, or to make any of them all good or all bad. This makes the strip that much more three-dimensional, addictive and just plain brilliant!

  152. Random J, Hacker says:

    Re: Mo having a say in aquiring Fun Home,
    Mmm… Meta-levels…
    Same response to the celebration.

  153. S K R:) says:

    well I never read so many unheartfelt comments in along time And so the @#$%^&*()_+_))*^*&* If people don’t always agree on something.. DON’T say anything UNless you are will to take the BLUNTNESS from others.
    AB you still got a good one here :):)

  154. Millie says:

    Paul didn’t make a mistake, he was making a dig at Syd (he knew and was dissaproving of Syd’s cheating- and now I wonder how much he knew about Syd and Thea’s relationship).

    I don’t think I’m ever going to like Cynthia, but I do like that she’s a part of the cast, and I also hope she doesn’t change too much. It’d be a nice change to see Republican that wasn’t one of the gross charicatures I see all too often in RL and fiction. I may not love every character, but I love how I can’t ever simply hate or dismiss them. And how often they make me change my mind about them (I never thought I’d like Sydney!)

    I found your books 10 years ago when I was starting my freshman year in college. You remain one of my absolute favorite cartoonists/storytellers, and I looke forward to reading you in the years to come.

  155. AB ManFan says:

    I’ve never been really good at being a gay man. I have been told over the years I am missing several key gay genes. LOL

    While I agree, what is strange is how strongly I identify with almost all your lesbian characters.

    Maybe it’s her unsurpassed ability to boil down complex daily lives into a few panels without altering the real life complexity of the issues at hand.

    I love one way in which you do this. She uses all the space in each panel to thoroughly flesh out the story she tells and tells the story as much as the dialog. LOL

    I wonder if this is just a lost art, or a skill only the very best have. Many cartoonists either eschew background panel background, or have it but it is mainly meaningless noise (a sofa to sit on.)

    I’m sure if they had a “comic IQ” test, you’d be 500 and set the standard FOR ALL cartoonists.

    I’ve been a big fan of yours ever since I read one of your early books that I was buying for my lesbian sister. I ended up buying 2 copies of course.

    After reading the first book, I immediately included AB with Breathed, Watterson, Rall (more recently Tom Tomorrow, K Street n Boondocks)

    Over the years though the very best slacked off or lost their inspiration (especially Breathed and Watterson) Only AB has remained consistently in top flight form.

    I imagine the last t DTWOF strip is going to be as good as all that preceded it.

    Of course I know I’m preaching to the choir.

    So I guess I can close with a big thanks to AB (as well as buying her books) Thanks for writing such a compelling story, and great characters. It beats almost all TV and a hell of a lot of big screen movies in its emotional impact an story depth. I’m sure for those who have read little of her work, believing that a simple comic strip can be so good is probably impossible, but AB is that good. 😉

  156. Cat says:

    I just read “Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For” and caught up on the posts since then… I love the strip, but I have to ask: Why are all the same-sex relationships in turmoil? The gay community deals with enough negative stereotypes such as promiscuity and lack of commitment; I was hoping to see an example set in this strip. I know many gay couples that have been in committed monogamous relationship for years, yet the only stable same sex relationship is Jasmine and Lois, and it looks like that may be heading for rough waters over Janis’ hormone therapy. I applaud this strip, and Alison Bechdel, really I do. But personally I am tired of dealing with people who seem to think that since my boyfriend is bi, he’s sleeping with every person he meets, when we’re monogamous. AB is in a position to refute these stereotypes, but it seems she’s helping to perpetuate them instead.

  157. Cat says:

    Oh, just wanted to add to the fire, in the end of “Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For” in the novella “theory and practice” At the conference Sydney is running from Madeline’s room back to hers and her father is already there, and states “I just stopped in to see if you wanted to come with me to ‘motifs of the errant self in (neo)medieval romance’ …but it appears you’ve already been” I think that he knows about her tryst, and that his toast is his way to show his dissatisfaction with her behavior. He denies it because he doesn’t want to make a blunt statement about her actions, but I think that it is an obvious jibe at his daughter’s infidelity. If he had issues with his ex-wife being unfaithful, why should he be happy about his daughter straying?

  158. mlk says:

    interesting observation about Paul there, Cat. You may be right.

    about the bisexuality theme — Stuart and Sparrow appear to be monogamous. Whether they’re happy together remains to be seen — Sparrow’s pretty lost in her work and hasn’t made an appearance in the strip for awhile. I’ve been wanting to see a bisexual woman go from men to women, just ’cause that’s the way I came into the family. have had suspicions that Samia’s romantically/sexually involved with Ammar but really don’t want to see a bi woman cheating with a woman . . . for your reasons cited above.

    have been quietly rooting for Naomi to re-enter the strip with a female partner, but I guess that means that Alison will need to introduce another new character, or SOMEONE will actually have to break up.

    what’s a cartoonist to do??!?!? maybe back off from the plot development for a minute and show a bit of the character’s lives . . . to inject some of the joie de vivre (and sex) that readers have been requesting? just a thought . . .

  159. mlk says:

    oops!! having made the suggestion, I have to say that pulling back and peeking into the characters’ lives is pretty much what Alison’s done in this strip.

    uh . . . great job, AB. brilliant as usual!!

  160. Cat says:

    I wonder if Samia entered into her marriage without fully exploring her sexuality. I know off the top of my head 3 gay men who have children from a marriage. They denied/did not realize their orientation before their marriage, and are now divorced, and seeking same-sex relationships. Maybe Samia rushed into things? She told Ginger that all she had to do was say the words “lets live togther” and she’d pack Ammar’s bags for him. What a hard place for Ginger though, Already unsure about commitment and now if she choses to commit, she’ll break up a marriage. The condition of that marriage, as you already pointed out MLK is iffy, but still….

  161. Lori says:

    I’m a deep admirer of this strip for more reasons than I could probably articulate. There’s also a sadness underneath my admiration when I admit to myself that the strip’s world is essentially free of bisexuality or polyamory, and in that way is quite conservative and doesn’t feel like it represents me or my generation very well at all. I feel these realities are both paid a very small and backfiring bit of lip service (backfiring because they are then misrepresented or ignored). It makes little sense to me to see this from a person who’s brought us such depth and such devotion to representing our community in other ways. I absolutely join in the congratulations but I also want to be honest about my feeling, which is only getting stronger for me now that what was once, very confusingly and cryptically, referred to as polyamory is now treated as a shameful/secret “affair” and a main part of breaking up a couple we care so much about.

  162. Cat says:

    does it count as polyamory if those involved don’t know about the other relationship? Ginger had no clue about Ammar, and Samia claims that she is not sleeping with Ammar, so is Samia being Polyamourous or is she cheating on her astranged husband?

  163. cheyenne says:

    Hello Alison,

    I’v been a hungry-for-more reader of yours since before Harriet and Mo got together, before I bought my copy of the first edition of “Dykes to Watch Out For” and put it (eventually) on the headboard of my partner’s King size waterbed. We love you! Even when I miss your strips, when I catch up I’m always amazed at how you’ve noticed the exact same political stuff as me, and your take is exactly like mine. Or at least your characters’ take! ;^D

    Congratulations and here’s to five hundred more!

  164. 0000 305 689 says:

    0000 305 689

    Features of 0000 305 689.

  165. ro189ck says:


  166. ro886ck says:


  167. Sora RYu says:

    madeline foreshadowing no?