Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bechdel Victorious

I'm a fan of Alison Bechdel from way way back. I remember reading early Dykes to Watch Out for strips--before it became a serial featuring Mo and the gang, even; when it was just a series of observations on lesbian life--in the dinky little NYC queer paper, when I was just out of college, just out as a lesbian, and floundering around in a post-college haze in the big city. I felt like Bechdel was my companion in the bewildering maze of grownup lesbian life, and I went on feeling like that for a good decade or more. Her characters are mostly five or ten years older than me, and their lives and problems aren't too far off from mine and my friends' a lot of the time.

When her graphic novel Fun Home came out a couple of years ago, I was as wowed as anyone else, but was...bemused to see Alison Bechdel hailed as if she'd come out of nowhere, when she's had a passionately devoted fan base for lo these twenty years. I bet I'm not the only one who still has a DTWOF T-shirt tucked away, and one or two greeting cards from back in the 90's, when she was still selling novelties.

And now the great Gray Lady has noticed that she was here all along.


I feel really happy, but...old.


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