My comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For has run serially in gay and lesbian newspapers since 1983. And over the years, a series of eleven collections have been published. These have contained all the newspaper strips, and have often also included a bonus “graphic novella,” or extended story about the characters.The first nine volumes were published by Firebrand Books, and the most recent two by Alyson Books. Though all the collections are technically still in print, they’ve gotten very difficult for readers to find, and for stores to stock.
This compilation seemed like a way to get Dykes to Watch Out For back onto bookstore shelves and into the hands of regular readers—and hopefully also into the hands of new readers who wouldn’t otherwise have run across it.
What’s in it
I would love it if this book contained all the DTWOF cartoons I ever did, from the early single-panel cartoons, to the early, pre-Mo strips, to the calendar cartoons, to the graphic novellas. But it was just too much stuff for one book. Plus it was expensive getting permission from the old publishers to reprint things.
And besides, there was a lot of older, weaker material that I was kind of happy to leave on the cutting room floor. In the end, I think ESSENTIAL represents the strip really well. It contains 390 of the extant 527 episodes. That’s 74%. Note: All the new episodes since the last collection (Invasion of the Dykes To Watch Out For, Alyson Books, 2005) are here! Numbers 458 to 527.
There’s also a 12-page “cartoonist’s introduction,” in which I look back over my career. It was hard to settle down to this task—there was a way it felt like building my own coffin—not a pleasant prospect, I assure you. But once I got into it, I think I found a way to take a historical perspective without trapping myself in amber. It’s odd to have this big volume come out at a point when I’ve decided to take a break from the strip—in May 2008, I began what I’m calling a sabbatical, in order to work on a new graphic memoir.
I’m really pleased to have so much of my work in one place. I hope you like the book.