My essay, “‘The Lesbian Norman Rockwell’: Alison Bechdel & Queer Grassroots Networks,” has been published in the “Queer about Comics” issue of American Literature 90.2 (2018). It was awarded the 2017 Crompton-Noll Essay Prize of the GLQ Caucus of the MLA, was named runner-up in the Norman Foerster Prize contest for best essay published annually in American Literature, and received an honorable mention from the Research Society for American Periodicals for their 2018-19 Article Prize. Additionally, the whole issue of the journal also won best special issue of the year from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals.
Read the abstract for the article below.
Abstract: Alison Bechdel’s renown has been building since the success of Fun Home (2006). While scholars have focused on her contemporary production, her comics work within grassroots periodicals, including her long-running strip, Dykes to Watch Out For (1983–2008), has received little attention. By focusing on the grassroots context of DTWOF, this essay demonstrates how Bechdel’s participation in grassroots periodicals shaped her work. Through the development of new reading practices and the notion of queer comics archives, I show how queer communities influenced Bechdel’s visual rhetoric in the pages of WomaNews, the grassroots periodical where Bechdel first published her work and participated as a member of the collective. Informed by archival research, this analysis embraces grassroots contexts as an overlooked venue for exploring queer histories and tracing the development of queer comics.