Cartoonist and illustrator Alison Bechdel is known for many things over her long career; easily the most well known is her long running serialized comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For” which introduced the famous “Bechdel Test” for movies in 1985. That test – which sets the bar for decent writing for woman in films – has gone on to become a key tool in examining how media treats ladies in their plots and audiences ever since; one might argue it’s never been more well known than now, with the internet giving the long ostracized a collective voice. That original strip ran from 1983 to 2008, and since Bechdel has gone on to tell her memoirs through the medium of graphic novels. “Fun Home” was released in 2006 while “Are You My Mother?” was published just two years ago. She recently was listed as one of the winners of the 2014 MacArthur “Genius” Award, which gives up to forty citizens a year a $625,000 prize for “showing exceptional merit exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work”, of which Bechdel more than qualifies.
Now, as revealed by ICv2.com yesterday, Bechdel will begin putting that grant to good use by publishing her third graphic novel, “The Secret to Superhuman Strength”, which will see print in 2017. The graphic novel will not only chronicle Bechdel’s own obsession with exercise, yoga, martial arts, weight lifting, but on fitness trends and fads which have seemed to permeate in American culture for a long time. Not only was Bechdel obsessed with such things for the sake of her own health, but as a muse to inspire creativity in her work as well. As always, Bechdel has taken something within her own life and shared it with the world, which has always been the key to her decades of success.