Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Comix Fix

Browsing the website for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, I found this interesting story from Wired magazine about the decline of newspapers. Wired's Adam Penenberg references a focus group conducted by the Washington Post in September. Participants, all of them 18-34, said they wouldn't accept a Post subscription even if it were free. Why? Penenbeg says, "The main reason (and I'm not making this up): They didn't like the idea of old newspapers piling up in their houses." The Post, fyi, is losing 4000 paid subscribers a month. The article goes on to say that these younger readers are consuming news via the Internet, by visiting blogs and using news aggregators and other filters to digest news. Now, obviously Alison and other indie cartoonists aren't relying on papers like the Post for their livelihood, but they are relying on glbt papers and alternative weeklies, who pay to feature comics. I wonder how this trend is effecting those alternative news sources, and how it will effect indie cartoonists like Alison. All of which leads me to ask where all of you read DTWOF. Do you flip through a gay paper? An alt. weekly? Do you find the strip on-line? Wait until the books come out? Where's the ideal place to read a lively, engaging comic strip, particularly this one?
In Minneapolis/St. Paul, we used to get DTWOF in Lavender magazine, but no more. I have no idea why. Probably because Lavender is completely male-centric and the editors do their best to pretend that lesbians in the cities either do not exist or are "cowards" (see last week's issue). Oops! Bitter? Me? ;)

Anyway, now I read DTWOF online, but I also buy the books the nanosecond they are available.

That's funny about people not buying papers. I couldn't live without my Star Tribune and NY Times -- hard copies, thankyouverymuch. It's not so difficult to recycle them, rather than have them pile up.
Now that I live in Amsterdam, I don't know that I have many options other than the Internet. But that's also how I read it before I moved; I'm straight and don't regularly read gay publications.

One thing I can add to the discussion is how different it is living overseas now from the way it was fairly recently. I lived in a major city in Japan during the Gulf War, and I didn't see any of the American coverage. I found out about Iraq's invasion of Kuwait via BBC World Service on a small shortwave radio while traveling in China on vacation. That radio and the weekly international edition of The Guardian were my links to the Western press (plus my English roommate's occasional shipments of Private Eye), and the radio only functioned for a few hours each day if I found a clear place to stand and faced the right direction. I have much different recollections of war coverage than folks who lived in America at the time.

Now, I got to suffer through the election almost as if I were there.

Frankly, I'm not sure this was an improvement.
I live in the land of the lost aka the southern United States, and the only place I can read DWTOF is online at PlanetOut.com. Very few (and I do mean FEW) places carry glbt weekly and monthly publications and what few I have seen didn't have comics. I hope Alison keeps up the great work. I like her drawing style and her wit!
I have to read it online, as I don't have a print source for it local to me.
I read the strip on-line, because there aren't any local papers (gay or alternative) that carry DTWOF in Seattle :(. I actually do pick up the alternative weeklies, and I wish that the Stranger would print DTWOF. Instead, I have to remember to go look for it online at PlanetOut. I have a slight bias against paper stacking up in my apartment, but if I really want to read something, I have to have a hard copy. jillbertini at yahoo dot com if you wanted to respond.
I read it on PlanetOut because I have no ready access to lgbt papers. (I'm in a fairly conservative corner of Los Angeles County.) Also, I enjoy the discussion on the PlanetOut message boards, and I feel like I get my DTWOF "fix" faster than I would if I had to go to Long Beach or something to hunt down a copy of Lesbian News.

The piling up of paper (in the recycling bag) is a bit of a pain in a small apartment, but there's nothing like curling up with the news.

Jessica (not anonymous, just don't feel like signing up and in)
I fit into the demographic at 26. I get most of my news online (incl. nytimes.com and the WP), though I occasionally buy a print copy of the NYT to read on the train or in a cafe. I don't have any online (or print) subscriptions.

I read the strip online, but I pick up the NY Blade because it's so cool to see DTWOF in print! If the print revenue stream dries up, DTWOF is one of the few comic strips I would pay to view online.
None of the "alt" weeklys around here (New Haven, CT) carry Dykes as far as I know, so I read on PlanetOut.

Funny, I first discovered the comic back in 1990 in off our backs (and at 16 was naive to their being a lesbian-feminist newspaper, just bought it for the feminist angle. are they even around now?) and the only time I see it in a print source now are the books.

I read DTWOF it in the local alt weekly and the local LGBT mag. (I realize I'm pretty lucky to have such choices). I have always liked reading the comics in print and ever since I was a kid I've read the newspaper backwards so I would see the comics first. I really like seeing it in print because I can scan the whole strip at one time - although, the images are way too small.

That said, I also read it online becuase the panels are bigger and there is an archive.

My wish...that Alison hosted the strip online herself. I realize Planetout probably pays well, but I assume that the online version of my local alt weekly doesn't link to the strip because planetout has exclusive online rights. Or, is there some other reason? Do you all have a list of the print publications that carry the strip?
Like the majority, I read it online. I find it generally more convenient (especially in my little university bubble), plus I don't know of any papers that run the strip in atlantic canada. I did however discover the strip by reading Xtra when I lived in Toronto. I wouldn't generally get a regular newspaper (ie a mainstream daily) unless I had a specific reason to get one, even if it were free (it still wastes a lot of paper), though I often do pick up alternative papers when I have access to them.

Another note would be that I tried to order one of the books (post-DTWOF, I think) last summer through a local independant bookstore and it never arrived (though others I ordered through them did).
I live in DC, and I pay for the Post (despite the loss of trees) to read the comics. I used to read DTWOF in the Blade, but they stopped carrying her, so I read planet out. And I make sure not to filter out all of Planet Outs Ads. I'd definitely pay to read directly to read Bechdel. I have bought all her books and gotten her autograph and a calendar, but I'd pay more.
From BridgetMinerva (livejournal poster)
I found DTWOF in book form from my then BF now Husband. I now read in online and feel obligated to by the book so AB gets some $ from my enjoyment. If I had to pay for an online subscription I would gladly.
I prefer comics online. No paper waste. If I really want to "clip" one, I print it out. I buy the books of the ones I get for free online as a way of supporting the artist. I'd rather not use Paypal as there is some stuff in their user agreement I don't like. Some people I send mail to asking if there is an alternative way to send them $ other then paypal.
I read it online for the instant gratification fix, and because we don't have any local queer or independent papers that carry it here in Indiana. :( As others have said, this is one of the few things I'd happily pony up a subscription fee to read online -- especially if I got it conveniently delivered to my email or via RSS feed. I also buy the books the minute I know they're out. I enjoy reading it in print more, because it's easier to appreciate the little details and to go back and catch all the details I missed the first time, so I'd continue to buy the books even if I were paying to read it online. Plus, it's fun to read a whole bunch of them in a row to appreciate the continuity; I think I enjoy the book format most. (But I'd be very sad if I couldn't get the individual strips as they came out & had to wait for the books. I need my fix!)

But then, I'm a DTWOF junkie and a half. :)
I read it online for now, but I'll be reading it print in the Lesbian Connection as soon as I get my subscription set up.
I read the strip online almost exclusively. Alison will, however, be reassured to know that I buy each book religiously, and I own all of them. Since the Queer bookstore in town closed :( , I've bought five DTWOF books (Dykes through Sequel, plus Carbon-Based), from some combination of the publisher's website, Little Sister's (a famous Queer bookstore in Vancouver) website, and Oscar Wilde in New York (in person).
Like so many others, I too read the strip on Planet Out. It means I can obsessively check the site so I can read the new issue the moment it comes out. Whee for geekdom!

Big plans to buy the books someday, but tuition and class texts take priority...I wonder why really, considering how much of those actually get read. :D

I'd pay to read the strip if I had to because otherwise I'd have to check myself in somewhere and what fun would that be. But please don't make me pay...I don't want to have to start stealing silver ware to pawn from my folks house. ;)
I began reading DTWOF in book format because I innocently stumbled across "Hot, Throbbing" in a used bookstore in Boston. I proceeded to devour all of the strips that had been published at the time and bought every book available (and I buy them new - I want my money to support Alison Bechdel). I anxiously await new books and buy them the moment they're on the shelves. I used to avoid keeping up with the strip in the papers so that I could enjoy the books in their entirety, but I can't handle waiting anymore. Now to keep up my bi-weekly fix, I read the strip both online at Planet Out and in Toronto's Xtra magazine.

I much prefer the printed format. I like to be able to see the strip in its entirety, to catch the small details that are easier to see on the printed page, and I don't particularly enjoy staring at my computer screen for longer than I need to. Book format is really the best way to digest DTWOF.
Living in the Midwest after living in Berkeley, CA and Boston, MA we're devoid of GLBT culture for the most part, so we're forced to read the strip online... Planet Out. There's a semi-local gay paper, but it's completely horrible and I don't even pick it up most weeks.
I've already posted above, but it might be worth pointing out that the people who read the strip online are probably more likely to be following the blog as well and that could skew the answers...
I read the strip online, although I buy the books when they come out, and I'd be open to buying assorted merchandise. I live a couple of blocks from a GLBT bookstore in Baltimore, but the local gay papers and alt-weeklies don't do much for me. I prefer to read online, especially when I can read several strips sequentially, and I totally understand about the paper-clutter issue in my house.

I read a ton of different webcomics, and there was an interesting essay I ran across today at Websnark about the differences between syndicated cartoonists and independent ones.

-- Michael (not anonymous, just don't want to mess with registering)
I read DTWOF on Planet Out. I am fairly obsessive about visiting the site to see if the new strip has been posted. If DTWOF was in an LA paper, I'd read it.
I read DTWOF online via PlanetOut, and then I read it again in my copy of Lesbian Connection (lurrrrrve LC--all dykes need to know about it!), and then I buy the books when I find them in an independent bookstore (I don't patronize Bunns & Noodle, Bounders, or Medusa.com, but I *do* occasionally order online from Amazon Book Co-op in Minnesota! Especially now that New Words is no longer a bookstore. *sniffle*).
I've only seen one magazine here in Florida that carries it and it's a month behind planet out - and I can't always find that magazine in bookstores. I always buy the collections when they come out though - might buy another copy of hot throbing dykes since the copy I already have looks about ready to fall apart.
i read it online- i live in l.a. but i'm not aware of a local paper that publishes it
To make a short story long-
I used to read DTWOF in Between The Lines, Metro Detroit's LGBT paper (as well as reading the comic online, but seems as if there is a certain novelty in reading a hard copy) But in the last month or so they stopped putting it in the paper. Writing them an angry (or at least reproachful) letter has been on my to-do list since I disovered a BTL with no DTWOF (aren't acronyms fun?) but unfortuneatly, it's a rather long list. Basically I like reading newspapers, the internet will never replace them.
The Washington Blade dropped DTWOF? What's up with that? How sad!!!

Printing comics off of the net does not work if the images are low res. Poor quality.
I read the strip online, and I buy the books.

Honestly, with all the news I try to filter through everyday, going online is much easier, and better for the environment, IMHO (less paper use).

Beth in Washington, DC
I first saw DTWOF through a lgbt newspaper (not sure which one, but it was some southern california one in the early 90s) and then in book form when I went to college (they were part of the reading shelf in the lgbt student resource center). Now I own all the printed versions and read the current ones on Planetout. I'm just so used to the internet and it lets me read it over and over again in the same pristine form. I live in LA (again after 10 years away) and am always craving more alternative comix in alternative papers. LA Weekly ought to have DTWOF but doesn't. the lgbt papers here are super gay-boy oriented so there's no real reason for me to pick them up- even if they did have DTWOF- which I think they don't.

Though I think it is invaluable to have a real newspaper where you at least have to flip past stories that aren't of immediate interest (instead of creating individualized news preferences online), I do understand the annoyance of newspapers in physical form... so while are there are news 'communities' online they do feel much more isolated and isolating to me than paper...
AFAIK, DTWOF is not available in any print publications in Finland. And the only Finnish edition - mix of two collections together - was, err, not the best possible. Even the store where I bought the first English collections is gone. Have to hope that BookPlus.Fi is still solvent when the next one comes out.

So, I usually read from the PlanetOut (even if loading it strains the bandwith) although the format is not the best possible. It would be rather hard to pay for it from this side of the Pond, unfortunately.

I _am_ rather fond of hardcopies, however - my one-room "home" is full of various other papers (and books). I regularly purge the piles, clip off the interesting parts and put the rest of the paper into recycling. And if I find the content of the clips collected in some form, I throw the clips away.

I read it in the "Funny Times," although I also buy the books and always will. The "Funny Times" is a monthly, which is a long wait between episodes.
I've never seen Dykes in any print form except for the books -- and I've lived in Boston & Chicago. I used to wait desperately for the books, then one day I figured out that a bunch of places on line posted her cartoons, some before they were even out. Eventually I figured out that Planet Out was the only reliable site to see them.

The last book was almost as fun to read as the ones back before I'd seen the strips --- it took so long coming out, besides that you can actually see the art.

I've hated wasting paper buy newspapers every since I had my own apartment & saw how they stacked up if you bought them daily & thought about the trees. I only get weeklies or skinny news-heavy papers now (e.g. the IHT.) I subscribe to Salon though, and they have a lot of comics (but I don't read any of them.)
I keep up with D2W04 on planetout.com religiously, but also buy the books "the nanosecond they're out": partly for the extra story at the end, and partly to have that rich rereading experience that is more deeply nuanced and satisfying in print than online. Owning the books (rather than clipping the strips from the paper and assembling them into a scrapbook?) makes for great casual, occasional rereading/memorization.

Both online and newspaper strips have their downside in that some of the detail (and much of the feeling) is lost due to small size and low resolution. Also, my glbt monthly could only cover every other biweekly D2W04 strip (!) so it wasn't reliable enough a source. Verdict: too many people have never heard of D2W04, though I consider it essential reading for anyone!!! Getting just a bit of D2W04 in front of a few more eyes would help. But how?

-Pam (hooked since high school)
I discovered DTWOF via the collections, so I just got used to reading a years worth at a time. When I discovered the archives at PlanetOut I caught up, but I still but the books as soon as they come out. I almost never see the strip on actual newsprint.
the article in wired is dead on. i'm an admitted news junkie, but i read it all online - it's less obvious at work, and moreover, it's free. i subscribed to the ny times when i was living in new york because i love that tactile experience of reading, but since i've moved back to minneapolis, it's just not going to happen for me.

i read DTWOF online, too. i've bought the books (amazon bookstore co-op, yay) for both the purposes of supporting allison and her work, and because i'm a book hoarder. but i read it online because it's free and easy. and hopefully, planetout will continue to pay allison for it there if we all keep hitting that link.

besides, as someone previously mentioned, the lavender in minneapolis treats us lovely dykes like we are dirty, dirty secrets. jerks.
I used to read DTWOF in Lesbian Connection, but that meant waiting. Now I go to Planet Out every week, and when LC comes in the mail, I re-read them.
I read DTWOF online, and also buy the books as soon as they come out. Diva, a lesbian magazine in the UK, used to print the cartoons, but I'm not sure if they still do. I have just moved to New Zealand and haven't found a les/gay paper yet. I would definintely buy any paper or mag that had DTWOF / D2WO4 in it, just for that. I am the proud owner of the whole collection! I have just re-read all the books, and love reading the bit at the beginning that says: Ali B has cartoons published in 20 publications... then 2 books later it's grown to 40, then 60! I feel so proud of her! To be honest I am more interested in the personal lives of the characters rather than the politics, and yearn for more juicy gossip about my favourite community! I s'pose the politics is less relevant to me as I'm not American. Also we need more skin! It's been ages since I've seen any boobs, not even Lois's! I may be shallow, but I love DTWOF because it allows me to escape into a wonderful alternative universe which is funny and gossipy as well as insightful and intelligent. Three cheers for Ali B!
i would like to read dtwof in print but i can't find it in australia. it used to be in 'diva' magazine which we get in melbourne, but not since 'diva' had the makeover. so online it is.

i also buy the collections from 'bounders' and then feel guilty cos not treking miles out of town to independent gay and lesbian bookshop instead . . .
I read DTWOF the instant it's posted, every other Thursday, at PlanetOut.

I currently have a free trial to the FT and can't keep up with even that very concise newspaper, so I'm certainly going to let it expire. Even when I end up buying a paper from the newsstand, it sometimes sits around half-read for weeks. I also rarely read the local gay weeklies; there's honestly not much of interest in them, as they largely function as neighborhood newspapers for a different part of town.
- pc
Another self-selecting respondent here! Skew the demographics! UK gay male fan here. Generally read it online at planetout.com as only online source I'm aware of. I think lesbian magazine DIVA used to run DTWOF but now it's gone all glossy (and owned by Millivres (v male oriented) I don't know whether any UK publication runs it on a regular basis. Most likely of the alt weeklies might be the Pink Paper (tip for Alison's marketing team).

I do buy the books as online reading will never replace the joy of hard copy reading for me. Having lesbian-feminists (ex-radical lesbian feminists now, though still nostalgic) as friends I also buy them for people as gifts. Though I think even the feminist collective bookshop (still going!) has had trouble getting them due to the recent changes in publishers.

I too hate papers building up but luckily in the UK there's free collections of newspapers every 2 weeks for recycling. But I tend to get The Guardian or Independent once a week (Saturday edition). I wonder if the Guardian's Society section on a Tuesday might be interested in running the strip? Maybe I should start lobbying now! DTWOF in a national newspaper once a week? I can fantasise can't I?
I read the strip on line because I live abroad, I am also the former editor of a glbt newspaper. one time we surveyed our readers and the vast majority said the top reason they read the newspaper was for the comics. if your local paper doesnt run it, TELL THEM. they will run it if it means readers, write emails to them and link to this blog, if you are an advertiser then definitely tell them. in fact if you are an advertiser ask for your ad to be placed near the comic strip, I guarantee its the most looked at page in the queer or mainstream paper.

DTWOF has been a part of my queer experience, even as a man for 10 or more years. Right now it provides a link to a part of the american culture that is missing on CNN or Yahoo news...

Chris the scamp in berlin
I just discovered DTWOF yesterday as it was mentioned on another site I read, so online all the way right now. I enjoy it though, so I will probably buy the books at some point when I can afford them.
In a general sense, I live in the middle of nowhere and subscribe to no dead-tree editions of anything, so online is the only real way for me to keep up with the news/comix, and I really prefer it, I can always print out, or buy anything I want to see on paper. Paper is the prefered version for serious enjoyment/appreciation but I'd rather waste electrons than trees for more transitory stuff.
I read DTWOF online (planetout.cm), and buy the books when they come out. Not much choice -- the Tucson queer weekly newspaper doesn't print comix.
I already posted about how I read Dykes, but here are two origin stories:

My partner first found DTWOF when he was flipping through lesbian erotica magazines while being a librarian at U Madison. He got all the back issues out and was laughing so hard that some other librarian came over and told him he had to be quiet!

I first found DTWOF when one of my bi flatmates threw the books on the dining room table in front of me. I think she'd probably been flirting with me for months and I had been too dense to notice. I'm from the midwest, what can I say.

Anyway, my collections of DTWOF (& the pixies) certainly boosted my cred when I was dating my partner.
I read DTWOF at PlanetOut and sometimes buy an anthology.
I read it online. Ideally I would read it in the daily paper, but online is almost as good; the only real problem is the way PlanetOut butchers the panel layout. I buy all the books as soon as they come out, but I can't usually wait that long. :-)

I'd pay for access to a website with the comics laid out properly.
I found out about dtwof online, at PlanetOut. I do not live in the US, and there is no lesbian press - nor any queer here, so it would have taken me forever to read your wonderful stuff if it weren't available online.

Since I do not earn in dollars, I will have to save some to buy your books - something I'm bound to do sooner than later. I'm afraid it will be Amazon, or something like that (unless one of those independent stores has a good bargain for shipping to South America).

I do feel somewhat guilty about your not getting payed.. but, hell, that's the way I get my daily dose of Doonesbury, for crying out loud... and I still buy those books whenever I can.
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