Erika Lopez could not have known she was releasing her raucous, racy and hilarious breakthrough novel Flaming Iguanas at the end of an era. It was 1998, and despite the 1990s being a decade of riot grrls and Manic Panic, a time when girls had rock goddesses like PJ Harvey, Sleater Kinney, Hole and Bikini Kill to emulate rather than rock gods to fawn over, it was all about to disappear.
Post-pubescent pop stars took over, the 'zine culture died off and Courtney Love became plastic surgery roadkill. Suddenly, Lopez — a performance artist and cartoonist as well as novelist — was out of fashion, her spunky, prickly, foul-mouthed writing style and tales of booze, men (and women) and motorcycles did not fit in with the current milieu of pre-packaged stardom and yoga spirituality.
"'Erika Lopez is an American original!.... Lopez won't have to worry about food stamps in the future!'" read one Flaming Iguanas review. Twelve years later, in her new The Girl Must Die: A Monster Girl Memoir, Lopez responds: "Well, not only do I have to worry about food stamps again, I just had to go and add welfare. Welfare."