“I had to draw a Dykes to Watch Out For strip,” Alison Bechdel tweeted late this morning, along with a link to the first new instalment of her long-running syndicated cartoon since the end of the Bush administration in 2008.
Bechdel, whose Twitter account has been silent since Nov. 9, wrote in a disclaimer, “Since I stopped drawing Dykes to Watch Out For at the tail end of the Bush administration, people have asked me many times if I thought about my characters, and if so, what they were up to. And I would have to be honest. No, I didn’t think about them, and I had no idea what they were doing. But last week they all started flooding back.”
It took a moment for the cartoon to load when I clicked the link; the site crashed from so many simultaneous visitors. The strip features characters contemplating a Trump presidency: “Daddy, will the fallout shelter have WiFi?” J.R. asks her father, Stuart; environmental lawyer Clarice is busy making her “daily call to Paul Ryan to complain about the appointment of that alt-right troll,” a reference to Steve Bannon. In the final panel, Mo, the strip’s protagonist, insists they have to “resist! Mobilize! Watch his every move!”
Bechdel is most widely known as the namesake of the “Bechdel Test,” which came from a DTWOF comic strip and refers to a movie that contains at least two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. She won a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2014 for her cartooning work, which includes the much-heralded 2006 graphic novel Fun Home, which was adapted into a Broadway musical, and 2012’s Are You My Mother? She is the best.