Alison Bechdel: ‘Maybe I’ll get back to’ ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’
Alison Bechdel, who’s acclaimed now for her graphic memoirs Fun Home and Are You My Mother?, was previously best known for Dykes to Watch Out For, her long-running comic strip that chronicled the lives of a group of lesbian friends (it’s also where the frequently referenced “Bechdel test” originated, although she didn’t coin the term). In 2008, after more than two decades, she placed the strip on an indefinite hiatus to work on her second memoir; however, the cartoonist soon suggested other factors — a shrinking number of gay and alternative weeklies, a changing political climate — contributed to her decision.
But just how indefinite was that hiatus? Asked by Comic Book Resources in 2009 about a possible return to the comic, Bechdel said, “I don’t mean to be coy. I just doubt that it’s going to be really viable. I was able to eke out a living from it for a long time, but I just don’t know if that’s going to continue to be possible. For various reasons, I had to take a break from it. I’m not saying I won’t go back to it, I just think it’s doubtful.”
Now, more than four years later, she’s reconsidering that stance.
In a new Q&A with The Cut that focuses primarily on the musical adaptation of Fun Home, Bechdel was asked about earlier comments “that there isn’t the same need for a comic like Dykes to Watch Out For as there used to be.”
“Well, I guess I’m kind of reexamining that a little bit,” she replied. “Like, why should I give up on that just because gay people can get married? Maybe I’ll get back to it. Whenever I watch Portlandia, I miss my characters, I miss my comic strip a lot. And why shouldn’t the queer people be in a comic strip for everyone to read? So, I’m kind of reexamining that.”