"...I've never intended my cartoons to be only for dykes. Yes, they're about dykes. So? Surely if I could sit through a Bruce Willis movie, Joe Blow could read a lesbian comic strip."
This is slightly random, but has anyone read Dykes to Watch Out For? Yesterday I picked up Dykes and Sundry Other Carbon-Based Life Forms to Watch Out For, which I believe is the last book in the series. Usually that would make a book unbearably confusing, but all the characters are explained in the beginning so it's not too hard to follow. I would've read it all in one sitting, but I had to go somewhere. While I was out, I just kept thinking, "I want to go home and finish the book!" Although the comics are amusing, I think I liked the political aspect the most. It isn't preachy, but it's there. I can't remember ever reading a work of fiction that dealt with the issues around coping as a leftist in America and all the inevitable disappointment and frustration that it brings. Okay, that was a long sentence. There are also other layers, like the characters' attempts to reconcile their radical queer identities with the fact that "Best Lesbian Erotica is now sold at 7-11" and many in their group are marrying and having kids.
[Image: Comic panel depicting, among other things, one drag king asking another for a tampon.]
I also loved the density of the comic panels themselves. You can see what's on the character's shelves, such as St. John's wort and "Tom's of Finland curry-flavored" toothpaste, as well as the headlines of the newspapers they read ("Disease will be eradicated! Static cling banished!"). While the comic is often hailed as being very true to life, is there really any enclave where everyone works at a non-profit, college, or feminist bookstore? (Although, the bookstore is in danger thanks to "Medusa.com".) It seems like no matter how much the characters are doing to live out their values, it's never enough. For instance, Mo wonders why she's going to a class rather than "doing non-violent direct action!". It seems funny on the page, but I've wondered the same type of thing. There's an interesting tension between the insularity of the characters' progressive friend group and the current events they can't ignore.