Leaders and Heroes
Alison Bechdel (1960- )
Alison Bechdel is a white American cartoonist, who successfully published her serialized comics for years. She was born in 1960 and moved to Manhattan after college. Bechdel was repeatedly rejected from art school and worked in many publishing jobs before connecting to outlets and readers. Her work started as single drawings; one panel comics originally published in WomaNews in 1983. Dykes to watch out for evolved into multi-panel strips, spawning posters and other print media. Eventully, she was able to work as a cartoonist full time beginning in 1990, without requiring additional work to support herself.
Special Collections holds two selections from Bechdel. First is the collected and republished long-running Dykes to Watch Out For in The Essential Dykes to watch out for. The book is hard cover, with a new and graphic introdution to the series and her subsequent success. Her follow-up work Dykes to watch out for: The sequel is the second selection held by Special Collections. This item is in rectangular form to accomodate the comic strip style. Both items contain both color and grayscale artwork with humerous and emotional insight into the urban Lesbian community.
Since publishing Dykes to watch out for, Bechdel has received many awards, including the Eisner award in 2007, was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2012, a MacArthur Fellow in 2014, and appointed Vermont’s Cartoonist Laureate in 2017. In addition to her comic strip work, Bechdel also created several creative non-fiction comic works or graphic memoirs regarding her childhood, family dynamics, sexual orientation, and her father’s suicide. Some of these works were adapted for the theater!