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Growing Up Strange

Eight pages; drawn 1979-1980; published in the 1984 reprint of Bizarre Sex #4, Kitchen Sink Press © 1984 Robert Triptow

Bizarre Sex Comics #4, among the most notorious of the underground comix, originally came out in 1973 with a rather distasteful Harvey Pekar story about a gang-bang in a drive-in movie. In 1984 Kitchen Sink Press decided to reprint, and, for whatever reason, the Pekar story was no longer available. So Nowhere Chick and I made our debut with this parody of porn in one of the most overt comic books ever. How perfect!

strange.jpgWho is Nowhere Chick? Among other things, she’s the character I’ve tried to stay away from. I’ve written tons of Nowhere Chick stories, but ten years went by between her first and second comic book appearances. I didn’t want people to think of her as a sexist depiction of a pathetic female. They wouldn’t know that Nowhere Chick is a self-portrait in many ways. Gender has nothing to do with it.

Nowhere Chick is a misfit only because society isn’t ready for her. She’s slightly ahead of (or to the side of) her time. Yet she desperately wants to fit in, and that’s her fatal flaw. She constantly makes a fool of herself while trying to impress the world.

Who does that sound like?

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Nowhere Chick Goes Vegas!

Four pages; drawn 1990; published in Real Girl #1

© 1990 Robert Triptow

Nowhere Chick seemed like ancient history when Angela Bocage persuaded me to resurrect her for the first issue of Real Girl. Angela loves Nowhere Chick, and she’s a card-carrying feminist. (I’m for feminism, too.) Naturally, Angela chose the only other Nowhere Chick story where she stuffs things in her mouth.

It’s not a fixation. Really, it’s not. Please, it can’t be.

Fortunately, feminists seem to “get” Nowhere Chick and think the concept is funny. I’m definitely going to draw at least one more story (she meets the Beatles, sort of), but I’ve thought it would be fun to have women cartoonists draw the other stories.

Or is that just another twisted male fantasy?