gift of the magi

December 25th, 2008 | Uncategorized

mo syd xmas detail
I’m finally starting to miss my DTWOF characters a little bit. I checked in to see what they were up to today, and got this skimpy glimpse.
mo syd xmas

118 Responses to “gift of the magi”

  1. leighisflying says:

    Merry Merry (however contrary) to all!

  2. Maggie Jochild says:

    The real question of relationship compatibility: When snow brackets the windowpanes, are you With Socks or Without?

  3. Byrdie says:

    Mo looks somewhere between sad and flattered, while Sydney looks somewhere between intrigued and outraged.

    Thank you for the update, Alison!

  4. Dale says:

    I think a few extra lines have settled in around Sydney’s and Mo’s eyes.
    Thanks Alison! Brightest blessings to all!

  5. Alex the Bold says:

    Perhaps I need some fresh air. In the upper right-quadrant of the left cup of the bra (you can see it better if you click on the small graphic of just the bra) why do I see what looks like an image of that Camp Gitmo victim who was made to stand on a box and hold wires with a hood over his head?

  6. Sharon says:

    Alex-that was at Abu Ghraib, I think.

  7. deborah9 says:

    Thank you!

  8. Kate L says:

    Mo and Sydney are alive and well! Thanks, A.B. 🙂 And a Happy Holiday to us all…

  9. alana says:

    Ha! Best Gift of the Magi retelling since Bert and Ernie.

  10. rockhopper says:

    after buying six copies of essential dtwof for others this christmas and neglecting myself, i am happy to report receipt of my own. santa’s taste has improved 🙂 happy christmas all.

  11. Alex K says:

    Oh, how I laughed!

    And I’m sure that I should have laughed just as hard if I weren’t well into the brandy and mince pies.

    Sydney and Mo, my dear old friends – let me underscore “old” – Happy Christmas! They have tablets to get you through all this.

  12. ksbel6 says:


  13. freyakat says:

    Wonderful! A gift indeed…

  14. JenK says:

    Ahh … The Wisdom of Menopause … I’ve lately found my periods are becoming as screwy as they were when I was a teenager. Instead of every month they’re every 1.5 or 2 months. I want to shout, I’m too young! No!!!

  15. NLC says:

    OK, can someone explain “Velma’s Secret” to me?

    I mean, I know Victoria’s secret, of course. But many times in D2WO4 plays on repeatedly used brand names names often have some punning or allusive meaning (e.g. “Medusa’s Books”, “Nadir Televisions”, etc.).

    Likewise, while a Google search doesn’t turn up anything particularly useful, I note that the first/second name pair “Velma Victoria” seems to be really common. (Which leads me to think that there’s a reference here that I’m not getting.)

    So I’m just being dense here?

  16. Ellen says:

    I’m shocked that our Mo is observing Christmas and exchanging gifts at all. I guess she’s changing in her old age.

  17. Cadence says:

    Merry Christmas, Alison. I received “The Essential” for Christmas this morning, and was overjoyed. I’ve read all the DTWOF comics before, and reading just the introduction made me all teary. You are brilliant.

  18. Sophie in Montreal says:

    Ahh, a perfect Xmas, complete with a new AB cartoon.
    Thanks Alison, and Merry Everything!

  19. Jenna says:

    Thank you for this DTWOF gift! It’s encouraging that you’re starting to miss them enough to check in and see what they’re up to… and share that with us. 🙂 May 2009 bring more moments of missing and more DTWOF gifts.

  20. June says:

    Best. Christmas Present. Evah!

  21. falloch says:

    Me too! Essential DTWOF is the business!! I love this latest cartoon – they’re totally in their own gift-worlds, but their toes are nearly touching…gives me hope.

    Oh, and it’s sort of heart-wrenching reading ‘Essential’ – I miss Harriet…

    Happy holidays, folks, and best wishes for 2009 – we need ’em.

  22. LA Steve says:

    Thanks for the glimpse! And please wish Toni, Ginger, Clarice, Sparrow, Stuart, Jezanna, Carlos and above all Lois a merry Christmas and happy Solstice for us, too!

  23. JupiterPluvius says:

    My two “Velma” points of reference are a) Mike Hammer’s sexy secretary, and b) the smart, be-spectacled girl in the “Scooby Doo” gang.

    Happy Merry Everything to you, Alison, and all the other DTWOF!

  24. HKSuz... says:

    Thank you! A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

  25. verbal athleticism says:

    Thank you, Alison!

    (Let’s hope they ditch the book and take turns modeling the bra for each other.)

  26. Xena Fan says:

    I still can’t believe Mo and Sydney stayed together after all these years!

    THANK YOU for a great Yule present! Please feel free to do another one….

  27. Josiah says:

    Thank you, Alison — this was the best Christmas present I got this year! May your days be merry and bright, etc.

  28. dzieger says:

    Merry everything indeed!

    Specifically, have a wonderful Christma-Hanu-Rama-Ka-Dan-A-Kwaanza:

  29. Garth / Haley says:

    I love that there are other people who have checked in on xmas day. The gifts in my house were a bit like this. bath salts, anyone?

  30. Lil says:

    Oh, thank you!!!! Merry happy everything, Alison!

  31. Liz G says:

    I’m glad the cat is still there (I can’t remember if it’s Virginia or Vanessa) and looks so contented.

  32. Liz G says:

    It’s Virginia, I checked. Nice to see her (and Mo and Syd) again. Happy holidays everyone! Thanks for the gift, Alison.

  33. Johanna S. says:

    Best gift this year! So lovely to see them again. Thank you!

  34. 'Ff'lo says:

    Thanks so much. It is quite a gift, indeed.

  35. Kelli says:

    Not 100% sure, but I think maybe the Velma reference is due to the theory that since Velma Dinkley from Scooby-Doo was a girl in who was intelligent and not afraid to show it, and didn’t expend excessive effort to make herself look attractive, that she might… have a secret. Maybe a secret to… watch out for.

    Famous ascot-wearing cartoon characters: Fred Jones, Speed Racer.

  36. Ian says:

    I always thought Shaggy from Scooby Doo was bi and isn’t Velma a cartoon dykon?

    Anyway, happy days! A nice addition to the Chriistmas cheer! I completely love the inappropriate gifts. Sydney looks as though she’s going to find somewhere different to shove “The Wisdom of Menopause”!!!

    Today I’m going to a ‘Worst Present auction’ where people sell off unwanted gifts in aid of charity. The only problem is, I like everything I got this year and I’ve no idea what to take!

  37. Ted says:

    It’s so nice to see Sydney and Mo again. Even one panel is thought provoking.

    You young people have forgotten one Velma. The evil one in “Murder My Sweet” Moose hires Marlowe to find “his” Velma. If anyone was going to be in the lingerie biz it would have been her.

  38. DaneGreat says:

    Cancel the shiva! And thank you so much, Alison! This totally made my day.

  39. The Cat Pimp says:

    Nice to see the Miracle Kitty again, too. 25 years old is amazing, even for a Siamese cat. 🙂

  40. Xena Fan says:

    I just noticed how ugly the sofa is….Why hasn’t Sydney bought a new replacement for it yet?

  41. healing_with_Art says:

    Feliz Ano Nuevo a todos = Happy New year everyone……Thank you AB for all of your hard work and creativity.

  42. Deborah says:

    Thank you so much for this present!
    Gave Essential to my honey for Hanukkah and she loved it… so thanks for that as well.
    Merry merry…

  43. shadocat says:

    I agree with June—this was the best Christmas present evah!

    Am I weird that I’m lovin Mo’s toes?

    Oh and my cat is named Velma, so my S/O and I are making our own jokes. And I once gave that S/O a book about the joys of becoming a crone, and got much the same look Sydney’s giving Mo…

  44. anon et al says:

    whaddya mean, the sofa is ugly? I love it!

    But I will insist that there is no garment that looks hotter on Mo than a striped tee.

    thanks for the treat, AB. 🙂

  45. lytefoot says:

    Kelli – holy crap, the characters from Scooby Doo have last names?

  46. Rose says:

    These Charecters were the first lesbians I ever met when I was googling “dyke” at 16. My mom (who’s reaction to my coming out was a simple “Oh no you’re not!”) gave me a copy of the Essential yesterday morning. We both got some tears in our eyes. So glad to see a few references to these old friends.

    Thank you so much for everything you have given to the gay community.

  47. Jessica Bessica says:

    what a wonderful gift! thanks!

  48. Jessica Bessica says:

    PS Mo’s nuts; she should put some socks on.

  49. Deborah says:

    i think Syd set the thermostat — Mo can be sockless if Syd is wearing just a cami….

  50. Ian says:

    So what was we fans did that worked? The begging, pleading, whining, badgering, incessant demands or the emotional blackmail?

  51. The Cat Pimp says:

    I ordered my cat, Beanie, to send Alison some brain beams. He’s a very compelling cat.

  52. Alex K says:

    @Shadocat: If you are, then so am I. The toes on that unshod, unstockinged right foot of Monica’s caught my attention too. Rather, one toe did: The one that had roast beef. Is it, like its corresponding finger, grotesquely long?

    @The Cat Pimp: No doubt you gave just that order. And no doubt Beanie paid it no attention. Later on, of his own volition, perhaps he chose to send the brain beams. Completely independently. Nothing to do with some “order” of yours. Entirely his own idea. He is, you know, a Cat. But do let him know that we all are very grateful!

  53. mlk says:

    my thanks also for the Christmas gift. so glad that Mo and Syd are still together!

    may you and Holly enjoy as many years, but with more bliss. blessings to you both in 2009 . . .

  54. Suzanonymous says:

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    Good to see you, mlk 🙂

  55. Alonso says:

    And to all a good night! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  56. Lenore says:

    Lovely. I agree with alana’s gift of the magi comment. Absolute perfection.

  57. Amyx says:

    Thanks for the quick glimpse–I’m glad you’re getting curious about these characters again. I just finished Fun Home and started rereading it immediately. I grew up in State College, so the geography was a bonus. Thanks for your courage in sharing your journey with your father. Alas, Santa didn’t bring me essential, but I asked for a gift card just in case!

  58. Kassie says:

    Thank you so much for this holiday masterpiece! Love the toes peeking out of the couch cushions. I especially like the large size of the drawing– I can see those superb pen lines so nicely.

  59. Alex the Bold says:

    Somewhere in all of this is a “Queer Eye for the Magi” skit.

    “Myrrh? You’re giving a baby myrrh? Are there no gift certificates where you come from?”

    “Gold? FAB-U-LUS!!! Blinging up Baby.”

    “Frankincense? A little is fine, but let’s not put it on like Jean Nate, a cup at a time.”

  60. Alex the Bold says:

    JupiterPluvius: I think there’s a Velma in “Chicago” as well.

    Cat Pimp: My old landlord in Brooklyn (I have to be careful as I type this, my cat is in the room, faking being asleep on the heating pad) had a cat that was the absolutely sweetest cat I have ever met, and she lived to be at least 20 years old.

  61. Gertrude says:

    You rotten so-and-so, Alex the Bold. I saw what you typed. Yeah, I WAS faking sleep.

  62. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    Snow on the windows and no socks on Mo and a no shirt on Sydney? Those are both very effective ways to cool down when you’re having a hot flash. Poking your feet out from under the covers works too, at least for me. There’s some “Wisdom of Menopause” for ya, sisters.

  63. j.b.t. says:


    I actually did get misty and a little choked up when I saw that you’d given us (your loyal fans) such a perfect gift. Thank you so much.


  64. Ready2Agitate says:

    As Chicken used to say (if I recall): Oh, Purrrr!

  65. Ready2Agitate says:

    ps I can’t believe I got to the end of all the comments and no one mentioned Sydney’s stocking’ed foot peeking out from under her bum (I was, like, oh, now everyone’s going to rave abt the crosshatching and how cool the socks look with Syd’s droopy checked PJ bottoms). (And ya think ya know yer DTWOF blogger-commune!) Hmmm, maybe it is *I* who needs some air, come to think of it.

    Alison, we love you.

  66. Ginjoint says:

    Danke schoen, Alison.

    And “the wisdom of menopause”?! What? Where? The chemo has caused me to begin this little rite of passage a bit early, and damned if I can find anything redeeming about it. I wonder if Sydney feels the same way.

    while Sydney looks somewhere between intrigued and outraged.

    I can see her being more into the book if it was involved with some electronic gadget, like a Kindle.

  67. Kelli says:

    Lytefoot — Of course! Frederick Herman Jones, Daphne Ann Blake, Velma Dace Dinkley, Norville Shaggleford “Shaggy” Rogers, and Scoobert “Scooby” Doo.

    Now don’t you feel as though you know more than you could ever possibly need to know about Mystery, Inc.?

  68. KarenE says:

    Best Christmas cartoon gift ever!!Thanks AB!

    Ah, menopause, the gift that keeps giving and giving and giving….

  69. --MC says:

    Hurray! I’ve been re-reading the new collection obsessively since unwrapping it Xmas eve, and seeing Mo and Sydney again has made me very happy.
    I’m surprised that Syd’s gift to Mo isn’t more high tech. Or maybe it is — is that bra an underwire or is it Firewire?

  70. Joe Code says:

    YAAA!! We miss them too. Thank you for that Christmas card.

  71. CS says:

    🙂 Thanks Alison.

  72. Daña says:

    just the right time to be in the presence of old friends…

    thanks, A.B.

  73. Riki says:

    Thank you for making me smile!

  74. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Maybe that look would be less despairing if the bra had some stripes on it….

  75. meg says:

    *smiles all around*

    Janice got a copy of ‘The Essential DTWOF’, so I’ll peruse it there (and control my coveting, hard as that is)

  76. Mickpub says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful holiday glimpse into Mo and Sydney’s holiday season. I still am re-re-re-re-rereading (add many more “re”s) my collection of the DYKES books…as well as FUN HOME. And although I did not get ESSENTIAL for Christmas, it is the first purchase I will make with the Bounders…I mean Borders…I mean Bounders gift card I did receive! 🙂

  77. Croatian Bruna says:

    I just got Essential DTWOF for my girlfriend since she has all of your other books (well I got her most of those too) and so far she has not had a chance to read it because *I* have been reading it! But I wanted to tell you that your introduction is so so good!! The whole book itself though is like my bible, except without all the bad stuff that comes along with that. Thank YOU for such an excellent book!

  78. Dr. Empirical says:

    Alison, thank you for indulging us like this.

  79. charlie brown in manchester, UK says:

    Ahhh, how nice to get an update on Mo and Sydney as I am wallowing in the wonder that is EDTWOF. On am strip 327…It is amazing to pour over the development of characters, sexual politics and evolution of AB’s cartoon style. I echo other comments that say that it feels like the story of my lesbian life! Indulgent stuff indeed! X

  80. Xena Fan says:

    Would Mo and Sydney been happier if Mo got a book and Sydney got a bra? Is this an example of we give what we really want as a gift syndrome?

  81. normally a voyer says:

    I had a really, really, really crappy christmas – seeing this gave me an inkling of hope DTWOF might return one day – just the thought made me smile. Thanks for helping rescue an otherwise horrendous week.

  82. Suz says:

    Oh… what a nice surprise!

    Happy holidays to all y’all.

  83. Anonymous says:

    Oh thankyou so much AB!

    DeLandDeLakes, I couldn’t agree more about the stripes. Back when Mo & Syd were courting, I remember being shocked when Mo purchased black underwear. Surely, I thought, a nice bra-less turtleneck would be so much more alluring?

    Thanks again, AB!

  84. April says:

    Oops, silly Anon was me…

  85. coolmama says:

    Mo’s losing her environmentalist moxie for sure. If they’re sitting in that apartment with bare feet and a camisole top while there’s snow outside, they’ve got the heat turned up way too far.

  86. Heidi says:

    Or maybe they’re just spending the holiday somewhere warm…it’s 70 degrees and absolutely beautiful here today!

  87. Mad Scientist says:

    ….OR, given the subect matter of the gift-book, and they are anywhere near experiencing my ‘ha-ha, he-he, ho-ho fooled ya! – yer’ blazing hot again!’ ninja hormone swings …or perhaps it’s just a nice warm holiday fire built from a new cord of wood…

  88. TeratoMarty says:

    We miss them, too! I actually had a dream last night that I was reading a strip in which Sparrow was pegging Stuart with a strap-on. You could write this, you know you want to…

  89. Jen in California says:

    I just now realized that the sofa in the piece above is the same sofa that used to live at the Sparrow-Ginger-Lois commune, and also has the same texture as numerous overcoats and suitcoats on the characters. Very versatile!

    Yet another reason to totally appreciate the Essential DTWOF, the artwork is twice as big as all my Firebrand collections. LOL, I never really realized how great that was until now 🙂

    If you make more DTWOF strips, can the panels all be this big? Love it!

    Oh, and BTW, a merry whateverus to all!

  90. Susan Stinson says:

    In Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, she sells her long hair to buy him a watch as a present, and he gets her a beautiful brush and comb. Thinking about that in relation to this (yay!) DTWOF panel makes my forty-eight year old self mutter, “Yeah.” And, “Uh oh.” Both.

  91. Vivid Lady says:

    Alison, thank you, and here’s hoping you & yours had a good (or at least survivable) holiday. It was lovely to have a window (!) into the holiday gifts received by Mo & Sydney.

    Velma’s Secret took over the Madwimmin Books space after the bookstore closed. That might account for why Mo is sad.

    Happy Holidays, everyone.

  92. Elaine says:

    Ellen Says:
    December 25th, 2008 at 7:09 pm
    I’m shocked that our Mo is observing Christmas and exchanging gifts at all. I guess she’s changing in her old age.

    Technically, Mo could be celebrating Hanukah 🙂

  93. Squiggle says:

    Have just been looking over my Essential DTWOF and realized that Velma’s Secret has not always been called so. In 1987 it was ordinary Victoria’s Secret, and in ’95 it was Verna’s.

  94. CateinTO says:

    That’s wonderful!!~ Thank you! And happy new year…

  95. More Mo! says:

    Is that a new cat? One of the original pointer sisters?

  96. Therry says:

    Of course the ultimate menopausal hot flash killer is Effexor XR, which docs give to chemo patients to dent the hot flashes caused by same. My menopause has been comparatively blissful as a result, but then I’ve always been a believer in better things for better living through chemistry.

  97. […] aktuelle Stand der Dinge lautet übrigens, dass sich Bechdel zu Weihnachten eine Probepause von ihrem DTWOF-Vakuum gegönnt hat und uns ansonsten über ihre Wechseljahre informiert. Ihr […]

  98. J says:

    Thank you! The Essential DTWOF was my favorite gift to give this season. It is so very wonderful to see what Mo has been up to. I hope this is the first of many!

  99. Karen says:

    I love the way the cat is the only one who looks contented. Thanks for the holiday peek Alison.

  100. MockingBird says:

    Just got your Essential DTWOF and couldn’t put it down! Have been reading you for many years and am just coming back from a long break. Really feel homesick for the old days of your strip and my youth! Keep up the writing. Love it!

  101. Janine says:

    This… was EVIL. Pure, pure evil-ness! It’s like giving a drug addict one more small taste before kicking them back into detox!

    Also, Essential DTWOF was about 5 different kinds of great. =) I missed the opportunity to read most of the older strips, so it was fantastic to go through all that fresh.

  102. Glenn R says:

    Rose and Ready2 Agitate said it best. We do love you Alison – and you will never know what you have given to all of us. I was 17 when Mo and Lois were the first gay people I ever met…. And they gave me sweet hope, even if I was a hairy boy instead of a girl

  103. […] end on, here’s a single illo Bechdel did for Christmas 2008 after beginning her sabbatical that gives us all hope that this isn’t the end of our […]

  104. Chiara says:

    Hey Alison,

    Try the song…”I fell for the Lighthouse Daughter”

    very catchy but also sad. Its an Irish/American band…Can you think of a strip which would go with this?
    C x


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  108. Chiara says:

    Hey MagicHat….I know us paddies have our own English…but you top it all!

  109. lizrdeb says:

    Isn’t Velma the vampy one in”Chicago”? But I like the “Scooby-Doo” reference, because I always think smart girls get short shrift in main stream culture. Wonder about the bra– does Mo wear them, and would they have such large cups? Is it an underwire? Can’t picture Mo in an underwire? Denial and revelation on both sides.

  110. Megan says:

    grat piece of work that you did, Thanks for it.its wonderfull to see other people with a who think the same.

  111. Lily says:

    hi there to whoever owns this website, Can you give me more info on this? i sometimes look at other peoples websites that are made for people like me.

  112. sue says:

    I came across your nice website on the the other day and saw a some of your earlier posts that you did previously . I just added you to my bookmarks. Keep up the great work. i will Look forward to reading more from you again.

  113. sue says:

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  114. Ella says:

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  115. Ella says:

    grat piece of work that you did, Thanks for it.its wonderfull to see other people with a who think the same.

  116. Zach says:

    I just finished reading the essential. Maybe reading is not the right word, experiencing is better. I treasured it and gave it its time over my winter term, taking nourishing sips before bed, when i woke up, on the subway, and whenever i just wanted to hang out with the characters. I’ve never been able to nurse anything to well until i really saw the value in it.

    Thanks Allison!