Shary Flenniken was one of the main reasons that I bought the National Lampoon in the 80s.
“Trots and Bonnie” became a sensation, a kind of “Calvin and Hobbes” for adult audiences. Readers bored with the antiseptic, overly merchandised funny pages of the 1980s were eager to follow Flenniken’s so-called “dark little feminist monster” around the suburbs, offering wry commentary on sexual harassment, vapid narcissism and the roiling emotional turmoil of children.
Trots and Bonnie is being reprinted by New York Review Comics this week. The Paris Review has a great overview of what looks like a gorgeous edition.
How to explain Trots and Bonnie to the uninitiated? It’s a bit like Little Nemo, if Little Nemo had been drawn for and by pervs. The titular characters are a girl in early adolescence, Bonnie, and her wry, horny dog, Trots. Bonnie stands as a kind of wise-fool character, observing the often hypocritical, sometimes hedonistic world around her with the candor and freshness of a child and the lust of a dirty old man
In the 80s, Trots and Bonnie was National Lampoon worthy, in 2021, it’s New York Review of Books and the Paris Review worthy.