cover image Post-Dykes to Watch Out for

Post-Dykes to Watch Out for

Alison Bechdel. Firebrand Books, $24.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-1-56341-123-6

In the years since Bechdel published her eighth cartoon collection (Split-Level Dykes to Watch Out For), confusion has arisen in the sanguine world of the series' setting, the Madwimmin bookstore--resounding, as always, most strongly with the perpetually striped-shirt-wearing Mo. The beleaguered protagonist rebounds from attacks on Madwimmin's solvency from the likes of Bunns & Noodle and, and copes with the sudden urge of maternal instinct and her lover's constant academic pleadings in favor of polyamory. Other topics include online affairs, the hazardous world of suburbia, Y2K, Bosnia, school shootings and the right of every little boy to wear nail polish. Bechdel's mercurial wit flashes from the ""sado-monicaism"" of watching Clinton's impeachment hearings to the meaning of gender as liquefied by an encounter between a transsexual gay man and a cross-dressing lesbian as Bechdel calls attention to the hypocrisies, idiocies and hysterics of modern society. She never misses an opportunity to poke fun at any institution, ranging from a clothing store called ""baby gag"" to news voice-overs. Each page is filled with jokes, yet the clear and nuanced drawings are never crowded out. Even readers put off by the title and the occasional sex scene will be left chuckling. (Aug.)