Beta-fresh answers, uploaded weekly
Lets face it, our favorite comic strip is often obscure or inconsistent, and key characters are sometimes left stranded for years. Long-suffering readers are within their rights to demand some clarification. Use the "Ask GBT" form to email us your questions, and we will frequently answer some of the best!
Speaking of re-reading older strips, I have a question: Why aren't there any 30-years-ago-today strips on the site's Flashbacks page? They've been missing and I've been missing them for quite a while now.Margo Darling | Creating the Strip | Castlegar, CANADA | February 28, 2014
A timely question and an interesting tale: The gap you refer to references the major sabbatical GBT began on January 2, 1983 in order to write Doonesbury: A Musical Comedy. When the impending leave was announced, the Wisconsin State Assembly issued a declaration pleading for "public calm in the face of this grave crisis," and former president Jimmy Carter said he was "heartbroken."
The Broadway show, a collaboration with composer Elizabeth Swados, chronicled Mike and J.J.'s engagement and the graduation of the denizens of Walden Commune from college. It opened at the Biltmore Theater on November 21, 1983. Trudeau wrote the book and lyrics, and was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards. The cast album received a Grammy nomination. A college, high school, and regional theater perennial, Doonesbury: A Musical Comedy can be ordered from Samuel French. And you can view an ad for the original show here.
The strip resumed on September 30, 1984, so 30-years-ago-today strips will once again appear on the Flashbacks page next fall.
Seeing Ray in last Sunday's strip made me realize I don't really remember where he first came into the Doonesbury narrative. Probably during one of B.D.'s deployments? I'd appreciate it if you would please clarify.Dave Howard | Characters | Sacramento, CA | February 18, 2014
Ray Hightower and B.D. have spent a lot of time together, much of it in uniform. They met in 1990 while serving in Operation Desert Shield, during which deployment Ray was wounded when an artillery shell exploded in front of his Humvee. At war's end, both came home to California and had their marriages blow up.
All the SayWhat? quotes would form quite a vivid chronicle of our time. Are they archived somewhere?David Satz | Out There | Brooklyn, NY | January 22, 2014
Yes! You'll find the SayWhat? Archive listed in the MEDIA CENTER dropdown menu on our home page. We added this feature during our last major rebuild, in 2010 -- the site was launched in 1995 -- so only a portion of the complete archive is available. But it's still almost 1,000 quotes. Read 'em and weep.
The storyline about B.D. and Boopsie's daughter Sam thinking about college has got me nostalgic. Can we please revisit some highlights of her childhood? Thanks.Jerome | Characters | Anderson, CA | January 15, 2014
Good idea! Let's take a walk down memory lane. Enter here.
What? Zonker was jailed for possession? Can you please take us back in time?Alnoor Ladha | Characters | Richmond, CANADA | December 30, 2013
Indeed he was. And yes, we can. Bon voyage.
I don't remember Doonesbury ever including Santa Claus in the strip, or addressing Christmas at all. Is Trudeau part of the War on Christmas?Hank Inness | Characters | Galesburg, IL | December 23, 2013
If we didn't know better, we'd take this to be a thinly-veiled attempt (a successful one, we might add) to summon visitations by a few of our favorite ghosts of Doonesbury Christmases past. Merry Holidays!
Done. Melissa Wheeler has been featured in almost 150 strips since her first appearance in March, 2007, when she came to the VA center seeking counseling for MST (Military Sexual Trauma). You can read that initial sequence here. Her relationship with fellow-vet B.D. has been particularly interesting, and is chronicled here.
I know Zonker was Sam's nanny until fairly recently, and pretty good at it, but he started out with Mike and J.J. when they were new parents, right? Could we please revisit that? I seem to remember it as a bumpier ride.Jim Tole | Characters | Ames, IA | December 03, 2013
The Flashback strip from five years ago reminded me how much I miss the quirky Lacey and Dick Davenport. The classy, pragmatic, WASP Republicans they represented no longer exist. I think the week when Dick came back to escort Lacey to heaven is my all-time favorite. I made copies and shared it with several Episcopal priests as Doonesbury eschatology. Could we please revisit her final panels, and Dick's as well?Roger Webb | Characters | Little Rock, AR | November 14, 2013
I've recently returned to reading Doonesbury, and am missing some of the connections. For instance, who is the young man with the eyepatch? Thanks a bunch!Janet Lewis | Characters | Victoria, CANADA | November 01, 2013
That is none other than Leo "Toggle" Deluca. He and Alex Doonesbury were married in June of 2012. While serving in B.D.'s old unit, Toggle was blown up by a VBIED, lost an eye, and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. The intial phases of his recovery are chronicled in Signature Wound: Rocking TBI, the third book in the Wounded Warrior series, but we'll get you started with these Toggle strips.
Two tips on catching up: There's a four-page foldout map that charts the web of relationships among the strip's 90 characters in 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective, and you can read through all 43 years of strips on GoComics.com. Have fun!