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Bitchy Butch: World's Angriest Dyke! By Roberta Gregory. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics Books, 1999. 88p. $9.95pa. ISBN 1-56097-349-8.

Gay and lesbian, general fiction

Adults, older teens; adult situations, nudity, profanity.

Bitchy Butch collects all of Gregory's comics about the character, spanning the eight years of her existence from 1991 to 1999 and previously published in such venues as Gay Comics, Diva, and Naughty Bits. There is some new material in this book as well. The black-and-white stories concern such topics as Bitchy Butch meeting Bitchy Bitch (another of Gregory's creations), "Bitchy Bitch (Almost) Meets the Religious Right," and "Bitchy Butch Meets a Nice Guy."

The above synopsis makes the character sound dry and dull--she is not! The stories are hysterical, told from the perspective of an extremist, anti-just-about-everyone-who-isn't-a-lesbian woman who is sort of the Archie Bunker of the lesbian set. She complains about everything, and when something accidentally behaves the way she wants it to, she finds fault with that as well! She's extremely foul-mouthed (but then, so is Bitchy Bitch), and her rants are a joy to read--not because one would agree with them (hey, even Roberta Gregory doesn't agree with them!), but because they're so hilariously emotional and unreasonable.

Gregory is one of the great alternative/underground comics creators, with a career that spans almost 25 years. Among other things, she was the first woman to solo self-publish an underground comic. Her style is extremely cartoony and very funny, with wildly bulging eyes, large expressive mouths (often with clenched teeth), goofy sound effects, fantasy sequences, and much more. Even better, Gregory can really tell a story with words and pictures; neither element overshadows the other.

Obviously, this book isn't for everyone, but I highly recommend it to interested persons. Straight as well as gay readers will get a real chuckle out of it!


Copyright 2000, D. Aviva Rothschild


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