Wednesday, 16 January 2008
58 - Shary Flenniken: "Child of Divorce"
in 'National Lampoon', May 1980
Showing gay parents is probably a relatively novel or even daring thing to do for this time. Even Alison Bechdel’s “Dykes to Watch Out For” dates from 1983. None of the portrayals are offensive or too clichéd, and the emphasis on the parent discussing sexual politics with their child is the point of the joke. So, homosexual parents raise, if not an outright homosexual kid, then certainly a prissy drama queen, who has difficulty even knowing what the typical gender role should be. Well, Anita Bryant would probably agree with that. However, that the flamingness of the child is played off against the gay parents wanting to camouflage it, is some deeper level of irony. This strip could probably have appeared anytime in the last 28 years and it still seems relatively fresh. Only the hairstyles and furniture date it. Flenniken is fairly good on working up a dramatic twists for when each of the assorted partners and parents makes their appearance.
The balance and thoughtfulness of this comic stands out bu comparison, when about a year earlier the editor, P.J. O’Rourke, can casually make a throwaway remark about “stinky divorced lesbian women who raise their sons as queers”.