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On publication in 2006, Alison Bechdel's Fun Home was hailed as one of the masterpieces of the graphic form. Time magazine chose it as the best book of that year and critics on both sides of the Atlantic praised it for its emotional complexity and the seriousness of its writing. Nick Hornby called it 'as satisfying a literary experience as you are likely to have this year'. Long before Fun Home, however, Alison Bechdel had been chronicling the lives of a small universe of cartoon characters in her strip Dykes To Watch Out For, which is syndicated in fifty alternative newspapers in the USA and has been published in eleven volumes. Now, at last, The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For gathers the best of those volumes, together with sixty of the newest strips. Bechdel's brilliantly imagined counter-cultural band of friends - academics, social workers, booksellers - fall in and out of love, negotiate relationships, raise children, switch careers and cope wtih aging parents. The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For fuses high and low culture - from foreign domestic policy to domestic routine, postmodern theory to hot sex - in a serial graphic narrative 'suitable for all humanist persuasions'.