Tag Archives: puberty

The Sudden Physical Development of Debra Dupuis

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My only regret is that I didn’t have enough room to draw a pair of helium filled flesh dirigibles.

This story is almost entirely about this seventh grade girl’s breasts, which is great and empowering, but at the same time, a tiny bit problematic. In Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, in the story “Tell Yourself,” the mother is supremely uncomfortable because her teenage daughter owns a belly shirt with cupcake printed over each boob, and I did draw the controversial cupcake shirt. Plus, I busted out with the totally naked uncovered middle-aged mom boob in last week’s “The Perfect Lawn.” I’m kind of surprised that mom boob didn’t end me up in Facebook jail, as I’m pretty sure it violated their terms of service.

So that’s the trinity of naked people parts: mom’s boob in “The Perfect Lawn,” Big Joanie’s kid butt in “Circus Matinee,” and Uncle Cal’s doomed appendage in “Family Reunion.”

Anyway, I knew one thing for certain, and that was I was not going to draw 6 panels of adolescent girl tit in this comic. Fortunately, Bonnie Jo writes these lovely but insane breast metaphors to discuss just how proud Debra is, how wonderful her development feels to her. So I just drew the metaphors.

“The Sudden Physical Development of Debra Dupuis” is one of the more joyful stories in the canon, I think. A terrible guy does a terrible thing to Debra, and the adults’ perspective is that Debra brought it on herself and what kind of fallen twelve-year-old shows off her bounty like that (a lot of them, I would imagine), and for a couple hours Debra is broken by this treatment, but then her joy in her appearance—her self-love, at least for one part of herself—is powerful enough to wash that all away. She becomes, again, clean and perfect in her own eyes. How many of us solve that issue in middle school?

The Life Cycle


In the next chapter, we will discuss the organism’s mating strategies, which vary depending upon which university it attends and whether or not it decides to rush.

For a very long time, I’ve suspected that butterflies have the right idea. Their larva are grubby but not without their charm, often visually pleasing, even if they are prickly and disgusting to touch. Their final form is, of course, stunning. And while they’re stuck in that transitional phase, which is almost certainly disgusting beyond measure, they get to do it in peace and quiet. They go into a room as a baby and come out as a lovely adult.

Humans, on the other hand, suffer the animal kingdom’s most distressing adolescence. Everyone can see them struggling along awkwardly, not babies, but not grown up, either. Awash with terrifying chemicals, all their body parts are growing at different rates, bizarre and unpleasant changes are taking place inside and out, and they’re constantly being forced to compare their development to those around them.

I posit that the human way to go through adolescence would be with an option, around the 11th birthday, to lock oneself away from the world and stay in hiding until age 15 or so, at which point you emerge, gorgeous and confident and ready to take the driver’s exam and make out with other recently reintroduced teenagers. How much less psychological distress would we have to overcome if we could spin cocoons?

There are 2 adolescent humans in this house, although we count ourselves pretty lucky that they have not yet shown any signs of hormone poisoning. There’s no arguing or sullen silence or anything like that. Just a fairly constant direct connection to screens. But, MAN, when I was 12, I would have given almost anything for the privilege of going into my room and not coming out until at least my junior year of high school.