give the people what they want

April 25th, 2007 | Uncategorized


You’ve been going on about asses and tchotchkes, so here. The first person who can correctly identify the DTWOF character to whom each of these sets of hindquarters belongs will get a bunch of old leftover DTWOF tchotchkes from my basement. (click image to enlarge.) Wait. You have to not just name the character, but provide the context (since there’s never any gratuitous nudity in my cartoons).

Yeah, so some are easier than others. Email your answers to Katie. The winner gets the last Gossip mouse pad (see below), plus however much other crap I can jam into a priority mail box—buttons and bumperstickers and whatnot. Have you noticed how everyone’s saying “whatnot” lately? It seems to have become the new verbal filler, like “like” or “nome sane?” It’s a strangely archaic word for people to fixate on. Nome sane?

mouse pad

69 Responses to “give the people what they want”

  1. Susanna says:

    AB, I am pleased and amused that you compiled DTWOF asses as a brain-teaser. So appropriate for the bearing of skin that has been happening all over VT since the weather turned springy.
    Once someone wins, please do give us the answer sheet.

  2. Erica says:

    That first one is one of my favorite moments in DTWOF history.

  3. ensie says:

    I’ve sent my answers, now my fingers are crossed!

  4. byrdie says:

    Arrrrgh! I’ve got three out of the five of them pegged, and a guess at one other. Then there’s one that’s just going to be a mystery for a while.


    But yeah, I agree with Erica about the first. *snicker*

  5. Deborah says:

    You are too good to us, Alison! And Katie too!

  6. xckb13 says:

    Katie, I’m sorry I sent you four emails. I couldn’t help it. You really are too good to us, as is AB.

  7. jasmin_sane says:

    I know nowhere near enough to participate in the contest (I just started reading the strip a few months ago), but I have to say, that mouse pad is pure genius. 🙂 I love Norman Rockwell.

  8. Butch Fatale says:

    I’m not sure whether the fact that I’m *positive* I know all of them means I’m cocky, or that I’ve spent a good chunk of my formative years memorizing DTWOF panels, but I just hope I was the first totally obsessive compulsive reader to send in my answers. Probably not though, others similarly inclined probably get as a feed or something.

  9. --MC says:

    I’m trying to get more verbal filler in my diet. I have used “whatnot”, might switch over to “Old Uncle Tom Bosley and all”.
    And I have that mousepad .. I would have brought it to work with me, but don’t want to be controversial, so brought the Jim Woodring mousepad instead. Mea maxima..

  10. Katie says:


    Thanks to everyone who entered! Y’all are FAST! We have a winner, whom we will announce shortly.

  11. Natty says:

    Oh, I’ve always LOVED that mouse pad! I’ve had it since “way back” around 1998 or 1999. I don’t really use a mouse pad anymore, but this makes me want to go digging and bring it in to use here at work. 🙂

  12. Mame says:

    I only knew two but then started rereading the archives on line looking to identify hinds…didn’t add to my response but had fun..thanks!!!

  13. Eric says:

    The scary part is that I knew the answers from memroy (or at least I hope I got them right). Either I have a screw loose, or Alison’s work is so memorable that even little bits of tushes somehow persist. I think it’s the latter.

  14. Gina says:

    I’m really sad that you already have a winner — I totally knew 4 out of the 5 *from memory*. That’s scary.

  15. Barbara says:

    The mouse pad, this is the first time I have seen one, reminds of the wonderful DTWOF calendar my partner and I used to give each other–yes, we gave each other the same calendar. Perhaps you would consider a goodies section? I would love to spend my hard earned green on such wonderful stuff.
    Thank you,

  16. Aunt Soozie says:

    Well, I’m too late for the contest but I also knew number one immediately…great strip moment.
    Alison…thank you for the array of asses.
    I’m delighted.

  17. NLC says:

    …and speaking of, um, “hindquarters”:

  18. Molly says:

    Katie, I love you even if I wasn’t fast enough. And I stand by the correct location of photo #1, as stated in my email to you 🙂

  19. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Waaahhh, I want to play but the link won’t work! Can I spill the beans here?

    I’m in total agreement with Erica. #1 was a beautiful moment.

  20. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Sorry, but I just had this thought while looking at the mouse pad- Alison, have you ever thought about suing “The L Word” crew for stealing so many of your ideas? They totally got that whole “chart” thing from you (see above), and a number of other character archetypes (frequently-sparring couple trying to get pregnant, hot & happy soft butch [okay, Shane’s status as any type of “Butch” is highly debatable,] random straight guy occasionally thrown into the mix)…coincidences? I think not.

  21. Revcat says:

    I knew all of them from memory, and could even give you the exact quote that went with each one, but I got online far too late to send anything in. I don’t know how many times I have reread all of the books, from beginning to (ahem) end, but I’m guessing it is somewhere close to 20. And I have this weird visual memory thing, so this would have been a particularly fun contest to enter. Thanks for the great idea – what fun!

    blessings, all…

  22. tas' says:

    Anyone remember a while back when AB’s cat died and she posted an homage of sorts on Youtube that also depicted her in various poses for drawings? *ahem* That’s all I’m saying!

  23. Sabversive says:

    Oh Crap!

    Saw the contest, didn’t even stop to read the thing properly and sent off an email to Katie.

    Well, my entry is incomplete because I didn’t see the bit about providing the context AND it was sent way too late.

    CRAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaapp…. I so wanted a Mo Mug.

  24. Okay, Katie sent me the one that she thought was the winner, but it wasn’t exactly. This person got everything right but #3, which is definitely the tricky one. But Katie has some more answers–I think she said she got 18. We’ll look at these tomorrow and I’ll let you know.

    I’m very touched that so many of you recalled all these images!

  25. xckb13 says:

    ahh, I missed #3 in my first email!!! Katie, did you get my correction soon after??

  26. Straight Ally says:

    Alison and Katie,

    I don’t know the history of the DTWOF-related product sales, but please, please, sell that kind of stuff again! The blog comments may constitute a tiny sample, but surely they’re a valid indicator that people would snap those products up! (If they didn’t before, they will now.)

    Yes, there’s Cafe Press, and there are other distributors/order fulfillers like it.

  27. Thanks, I needed the laugh says:

    And although I do recall several, I don’t think I’d get all of them right. But I love the images and really appreciate the literary tushie reference teaser to break up my corporate day.

    And I too would like to purchase goodies. Better you than Amazon during my tipsy online shopping splurgings!

  28. MJ says:

    I’m completely on board with the mugs ‘n mousepads idea! And let’s add some DTWO4 post-it notes and pens too (you know–in all your FREE time!) I used to love the old self-described “Schlock” catalogs. I held onto them, and they’re with my DTWO4 complete library…

  29. Ellen Orleans says:

    Dear Tchotchkes fans,

    As I recall from years back, Alison dropped the buttons, mouse pads, fridge magnets, T-shirts, calendars, and mugs because they were time-consuming, brought in relatively little money, and sucked energy from character development and the on-going narrative.

    In other words, I believe there is little point in asking for them.

    Not that this will stop anybody, but I thought it was worth clarifying.

    Of course, I have all of the above named items, plus a Hothead and Mo combo mug, so I’m content for life.

  30. louise says:

    But she has an agent now! And a gallery owner and two new publishers… maybe one of them would be up to the task of working out a positive sort of licensing arrangement, maybe with some cool indie feminist eco-friendly mousepad and mug producers? Or a print shop with a letterpress machine. mmm…letterpress.

  31. Samia says:

    This is driving me up the wall. Please, please declare a winner and post the correct answers up! The anticipation of knowing whom these tushes belong to is making it impossible for me to think of anything else or proceed with my work.

    As soon as I reach home, I’ll be whipping out my DTWOF collection to locate which wonderful episodes these delightful moments belong to.

    I’m with y’all when you say that #1 is a fantastic moment in annals of DTWOF.

  32. nic h says:

    hang on hang on,
    what about us across the time zone.
    ivwe only just seen the post and ive abandoned my work to reference them all. I knew 4 right away, just looking up the 5th when i see this.

    bah humbug

  33. Alex K says:

    Is it significant that I recognise all of them except the guy butt? (Or the hairy butt? Don’t want to make assumptions here.)

    It IS significant?

    Oh. Don’t tell me what it signifies. I have to go away and think about this by myself for a while.

  34. Hariette says:

    I agree with Nic H. I sent in my reply before I read Katie had a winner. Why could a time limit have at least been posted for those of us who don’t have access to the computer 24/7?

  35. Katie says:

    Dear Hariette and Nic H,

    I see your point- That would definitely be something we’ll consider for Contest 2.0. Thank you so much for bringing the timezone discrepancy to our attention!

  36. lamazone says:

    hahahahahaha. I’m way too late, and I did not send the context 😀 Anyway, nevermind, can’t wait to find out the owner of ass # 3!

  37. QKelly says:

    I can’t win, because I just don’t recognize the hairy man butt. But I want to climb back on my hobby horse and take another ride to beg for — new stuff! I know that merchandising became too much of a headache/hassle last time, but AB, there are people who will manage this sort of thing *for* you! Just ask J. K. Rowling.

  38. Okay, okay, keep your shirts on, everybody. Sorry we didn’t think about the time zone issue. It’s Thursday morning here, and a winner has been confirmed. If I get permission, I’ll post her answers here. If I don’t, I’ll post my own answers.

  39. kate says:

    A, note the CLAMORING for calendars, mugs, etc.

    God. we are all starved for a DTWOF wall calendar at least. They are so easy to mail.

    Katie or someone could spend an hour a day mailing them out, and they could be an entire annual income for a busy writer. I’m just about to send mine off this Sunday. I do an 18 month, so my deadline fluctuates and never comes up too fast.

    And who doesn’t love an 18 month?

  40. Ellen Orleans says:

    Calendars are a particularly non-profitable item because, unlike books, they only have a shelf-life of, oh, 8 months.

    Anyone who has run a small business knows, even with the help of assistants, how time consuming it is to work with printers, locate merchandisers, and deal with mailing concerns and payments. Sure, an assistant makes a difference, but when problems arise, it all comes back to Alison to weather.

    And for artists and writers, it is not only the actual time lost to choosing, creating, or revising artwork for mugs or magnets, but the loss of creative energy as one shifts from one endeavor to the next and back again.

    I’d rather see a focus on drawing a new memoir or outlining plot twists for DTWOF world.

    Meanwhile, check out the updated book tour section! Alison may be coming to a town near you…. and me.

  41. kate says:

    Ellen, calendars are an immensely profitable item if they are sold by the creator, on their web site, for full retail, to a small adoring audience. Not everyone can do it, but AB can. And an 18 month calendar has a shelf life of considerably longer than 8 months. A small run will sell out, making the next run even more anticipated and quickly purchased.

    An AB calendar would be very successful as a nostalgic compendium of 18 of her all time favorite strips, and so very little time would have to be spent on creating it. A digital file is a snap to create, and save as 18 PDFS. Those PDFs are then sent to one of the many excellent printing houses out there- I have a great one that is here in America, affordable, and efficient.

    All a person has to freaking do is pile up 12 to 18 good pieces, make them into the right size PDF, and put them on a CD. An artist with a following like AB can easily sell 2,000 of them in relatively short order, for $25 each, plus shipping/handling, total cost $29. They cost about $4 each to print, so the income on that small investment of time is $42,000. The S/H pays the assistant to mail them. The PayPal account goes directly to the postal account, which prints labels and postage in one handy unit.

    Selling 3,000 of them for $28, income is $72,000.

    Really, I ought to know.
    It isn’t as heavy weather as Ellen makes out, and when one has a fan base like AB’s, which is more than ready to part with thirty bucks to support a favorite person, and have a great and useful calendar, objections like yours just don’t make sense. For one or two weeks of work, A could take a year off.

    And we’d all be thrilled to own it.
    Sometimes we need to unstick our minds and be creative and efficient.

  42. mlk says:

    NLC, thanks for posting the link to The Comics Journal cover. I’d comment on it, but that’d probably make Alison blush more brilliantly than the demands for calendars and other schlock . . . or maybe not. but opening the floodgates to remarks about Alison’s person would certainly be embarassing.

    May 2007 may not be the best time to reopen the Calendars ‘N Stuff business, but I hope the idea’s put somewhere safe, then pulled out and dusted off at a more opportune time. with so many new fans — and those of us who missed the first go round of genuine DTWOF products — I don’t think this will be the end of the requests/demands/pleadings.

  43. RachelB says:

    I can’t believe I missed the contest because I had to go to work yesterday. New job, so I didn’t feel I could quite use the work internet for DTWOF. Yet!!

  44. Sophie says:

    Tam dedam… lurk lurk… just waiting for the answers… got here much too late to try anything. I must say #1 is a complete puzzle to me. So imagine the rest! Even though I’ve read each strip a number of times. And I thought I had a good visual memory. Visual, maybe.

  45. Jessie says:

    DAMN! why did I not see this earlier! I agree, however, that it is frightening that I knew them all except #3 by memory, and #3 did not take long to locate.

    damn it!

  46. Doctor E says:

    I don’t recognize any of them, but I’m vastly entertained by the concept. Name-That-Butt contests are MUCH more important than addressing “serious issues with the blog.”

    Next month I should have enough Amazon points on my credit card to get a gift certificate. I’ll spend it on more DTWOF books!

  47. *tania says:

    [red herring] AB, did i ever tell you that my friend jason ended up winning #391 in an auction? when i saw it hanging at his house, i started jumping up and down, yelling, “that’s my ass! that’s my ass!” he was extra-pleased to have been able to reunite me and my butt in this serendipitous way. [/red herring]

  48. Deb says:

    GAH! I’m just seeing this! I need to keep closer watch on this blog!

    What a nice way to start my day too…………seeing nice DTWOF bottoms that I recognize almost immediately……..except for #3. I agree, Alison, you are sooooooooooo good to us!

  49. geogeek says:

    I second, or third, or whatever, having a slightly longer timeframe to submit answers shoudl we gt more hineys (or other trivia).

    Am I the only person who recognized #3 but not #5?

  50. Deb says:

    I know #5 without even looking it up to double check…….but am not sure of #3. I will be watching the blog closer so I can play again! How much fun is this?

  51. Aunt Soozie says:

    I’m utterly shocked at your suggestion that people keep their shirts on. This bias towards lower body nakedness is so unlike the Alison that I thought I knew so well, sort of knew, well-ish, kinda, I heard you speak once, I read the friggin blog and books and stuff, my parents had a Country Squire station wagon, I grew up in Pennsylvania… oh,whatever… some people just don’t understand intimacy.

    Anyway, I think this issue needs to be addressed. I know I encouraged you to show more tushies. But, I certainly hope your next book will also feature some lovely/lively breasts and chests.

    Keeping shirts on…a shameful suggestion. Would you ask the phoebes to cover up? or Little Robin red-breast?

  52. ensie says:


  53. mulierebus says:

    *******promptly takes shirt off, while clamoring loudly for tchotchkes and answers to #3, which I can’t seem to find.******

  54. nic h says:

    Can I enter the booby prize if i know who posed for all of these shots?
    any of the left over prizes???

  55. nic h says:

    and just what is/are tchotchkes?
    I thought they were toches(Sp) like liza minlelli says, but im sure in here there is a references to the mouse mat?
    And I thought i was good at jewish/american.

  56. LondonBoy says:

    Personally, I’m delighted with my Justin Timberlake mug, but I suspect he’s something of a minority interest round here!

    I’m having so much trouble with #3, but I suspect I’m not alone…

  57. NLC says:

    nic h asks: “and just what is/are tchotchkes?

    In short bric-a-brac, or knick-knacks.

    (or, nic-nacs as it were…)

  58. --MC says:

    Nic, the booby prize will be given out in the second contest, the “guess the breasts” one .. keep your shirt on ..

  59. Sabversive says:

    # 3 was not a problem for me. For some reason I always remember that image when I think about that character.

  60. Sabversive says:

    If Alison does decide to produce tchochkes again…I want to say that my vote is for DTWOF MUGS and TOTE BAGS.

    I suppose I prefer items I can both use and show off to the world at the same time. I can get a lot of use out of a tote bag.

    ‘Course, if she decides that she can’t revisit the “tchochkes empire” at this time, I will adoringly support her decision.

  61. nic h says:

    **NLC Says:
    April 26th, 2007 at 2:40 pm
    nic h asks: “and just what is/are tchotchkes?”
    In short bric-a-brac, or knick-knacks.
    (or, nic-nacs as it were…) **

    so, from now on I shall call myself tchotchkes….. if only i knew how to pronounce it.

  62. Deb says:

    I second Aunt Sooozie’s ‘rant’ to keep our shirts on! I can’t choose though between tushes or breasts…..both are quite nice! *blushes*

  63. Dani says:

    I totally thought “nome same” must be something ancient and Latin. I was all, “That Alison Bechdel! So literate and fancy!” So I googled it and boy, I was kinda wrong.

  64. *tania says:

    nic h: say “tchoch-kees”!

  65. AK says:

    Finals week kept me out of the running. I got all including #3 immediately, except #4 was a mystery.

    Sabversive – Strangely, I too always think of #3 when I think of the character who inhabits that particular tush.

    It feels a little weird that I’m patting myself on the back for being able to ID snippets of drawings, because I suspect I wouldn’t be as good identifying …say… hands. Hmm…

  66. Danyell says:

    That mousepad is soooo coool! Where do us non-winners procure such fantastic wares?!

  67. Ellen Orleans says:


    It sounds like you’ve done created a calendar before. Are you doing one this year? How do we find out more?

    If you had great monetary success with a calendar, more power to you. I’m curious if it ran as smoothly as you described? Were things indeed “a snap” as you say or did you, for instance, experience:

    –three times more hours needed than projected to create cool cover art and individual calendar pages?
    –deadlines bumping up against each other when suddenly three projects are due within two weeks of each other?
    –a garbled .pdf file that has to be sent back and forth three times?
    –customers writing in, saying, “Why should I pay $29 for a calendar of old strips? I already own the books.”?
    –3% of the calendars unusable because of a printing error? Prolonged negotiations with the printer?
    –miscalculation on how many copies to print, leaving 300 calendars sitting around as the months slip away?
    –orders missing crucial information; customers having to be individually re-contacted?
    –customers not wanting to use Paypal?
    –bounced checks and returned calendars with problematic addresses?
    –customers saying, “Hey, I never got my calendar” ?
    –assistants saying, “Hey, I sent it out.” ?
    etc. etc. etc.

    That’s a taste of the everyday reality most of us artists experience. Things run smoothly one day; messily the next. The nature of the small business beast.

    All this would be worth it if creating calendars is your passion. But if writing and illustrating memoirs and an on-going narratives are your passion, why bother with calendars?

  68. AnnaP says:

    wish I could have participated but since I`m able to check the blog once o month know I had no chance. But I did get them all right at once, wich is scary in deed.

    And I just discovered that if I read all the DTWOF books at once, I start to have dreams in which I`m sitting at the local diner with Lois and Mo.

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