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Dorthea Antonette “Dori” Seda (1951–February 25, 1988) was an artist best known for her underground comix work of the 1980s. Her comics combined exaggerated fantasy and ribald humor with documentation of her life in the Mission District of San Francisco, California.

Seda was originally a painter and ceramics artist, graduating from in Illinois State University with a B.A. in art. To pursue her interest in comics, she took a job as a bookkeeper at the San Francisco publisher Last Gasp. Her first published comics work appeared in Robert Crumb’s anthology magazine Weirdo in 1981, where she originally submitted her work under the pseudonym “David Seda”. Crumb called her a “first-rate excellent cartoonist”.

She was subsequently published in Wimmen’s Comix, San Francisco Comic Book, Viper, Yellow Silk, Prime Cuts, Cannibal Romance, Weird Smut Comix, Tits & Clits, and her solo book Lonely Nights Comics (which was banned in England upon its release). In 1987, she appeared in Les Blank’s documentary short Gap-Toothed Women, for which she also drew the poster.

A heavy smoker who suffered from emphysema, she may also have contracted silicosis from her ceramics materials. Seda died at age 37 from respiratory failure after catching the flu. (Ironically, Seda occasionally used the pen name Sylvia Silicosis.)

After Seda’s death, conflict arose over who owned the rights to reproduce her work. Friends of Seda’s wanted to collect and publish her work, but at her death Seda’s estate passed to the next of kin, her mother. Due to the sexual nature of Seda’s work, her mother did not wish to see Seda’s writing in print again, and refused the right to publish it. However, a year prior to her death, Seda had written a will which gave partner Don Donahue full ownership of her work if she died. The will was witnessed and signed by Seda, Krystine Kryttre, and Donohue. Seda’s friends were able to successfully file the will in 1991, leaving Donohue full ownership of her work.

Her work has been collected in the book Dori Stories, which also includes memorial tributes, including the story “Dori Bangs” by Bruce Sterling, which imagines a future marriage between her and music critic Lester Bangs (whom she never met). In 1988, Last Gasp established the Dori Seda Memorial Award for Women; the first recipient was Carol Tyler.

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