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!
I'm enjoying the current Walden reunion storyline, and liked seeing Zonk back in the puddle. But I'm surprised he's having trouble remembering what "the commune" was all about, because I remember him going on and on about it an an earlier reunion. Could we revisit that series please? I remember a stretch limo, so it must have been after Zonker won the lottery. Thanks!Caleb J. | Storyline | Spokane, WA | May 16, 2013
Quite. In the mid-80s, as Mike and J.J. prepared to move to Manhattan, the denizens of Walden gathered to ponder the fate of their beloved abode. The Sunday strip included in the series echoed events depicted in the 1983 Broadway show Doonesbury: A Musical Comedy, specifically the song "Just A House." Enjoy.
If I am not mistaken, Zonker has a bit of experience at striking. Didn't he assist Mark in organizing truckers back in the 70s?David Huntington | Storyline | Katy, TX | April 02, 2013
While hitchhiking in 1974, Mark Slackmeyer was picked up by trucker J.W. Snead, en route to a blockade to protest the then-outrageous gas price of 85 cents a gallon. Snead was happy to recruit the former campus radical as a confrontation consultant. Though Zonker's role was limited to that of postal liaison, the episode you recall is well worth revisiting. Enjoy.
You'll figure out how long I've been reading the strip from the fact that I'm wondering if Alex will be like her grandmother and give birth with a midwife, or if she'll let her mother talk her into having the twins on cable TV as a sequel to how she herself was born.Alberta Rose | Storyline | Calgary, CANADA | March 19, 2013
The strip has always had a good time with the conventions. How about revisiting some of the coverage of previous confabs -- like the one where Roland almost got smoked.Melvin Lee | Storyline | Sacramento, CA | August 28, 2012
Roland Burton Hedley III has had some close calls in the course of his career, perhaps none more public than his brush with death on the floor of the Democratic convention in Atlanta in 1988. Other storylines we are happy to revisit: Rick Redfern's coverage of convention coverage in The Big Apple in 1980, the tumultuous gathering of the Reform Party in Long Beach, California during the former ambassador's Duke2000 "Nothing Left To Lose" campaign, and Elmont's memorable stint as the first credentialed homeless correspondent at the 2004 GOP convention in Madison Square Garden.
I'm ashamed to say that I don't remember how newlyweds Alex and Toggle found one another. Could you please point us toward the strips that chronicle their meeting and courtship?Noelle Shipley | Storyline | New Haven, CT | July 26, 2012
Of course. How better to celebrate their union? In early 2009 when Iraq vet B.D. heard that a young soldier in his unit had been blown up and was being flown back to the states, he headed immediately for Walter Reed Army Medical Center -- and was a steady presence during the initial stages of treatment for Toggle's external wounds and TBI. We pick up the story after Toggle and his mother have returned home, during one of B.D.'s visits.
Would you please post a Flashback of the event Scot and Joanie keep talking about, so that those of us who weren't there or don't remember can judge for ourselves if the Jeb Magruder lecture they attended together constituted a "date" ?Maureen | Storyline | Florence, ITALY | June 12, 2012
We are happy to flash you back to late November, 1973. Whatever the technical nomenclature may be for the excursion in question, both participants clearly had a good time.
The brouhaha over this week's series on the Texas ultrasound law takes me back to the 80s when Trudeau satirized a controversial anti-abortion documentary called The Silent Scream. Could you please summon that episode up from the archives? Seems timely.H.P. | Storyline | Novato, CA | March 13, 2012
Indeed. The series you refer to -- Silent Scream II: The Prequel -- is the one instance in over 40 years when Trudeau's syndicate decided not to distribute a series of Doonesbury strips. In light of their preference, Trudeau did a different set of strips for the week and Silent Scream II: The Prequel ran in The New Republic. It rejoined its cohort in a subsequent book. You can read the series, originally published in June 1985, here.
As we enter the Republican season of Ronald-Reagan-worship overdrive, it would be good to have some Flashbacks to remind us of the nearly unbelievable plot line of the Iran-Contra scandal.Lewis Santer | Storyline | Oakland, CA | February 28, 2012
Thanks for the timely suggestion. Skipping past, but mentioning, the memorable Contras-in-Miami strips from the summer of 1986 featuring Commander Zero and CIA Agent Havoc, we will pick up the storyline in late November, when the Iran-Contra scandal met daylight, as Rick interviews Chief White House Apologist Pat Buchanan. Note this citation from our Doonesbury Timeline: "January 12, 1987: Readers 'clip 'n' save' pieces of 'the Iranscam puzzle,' hoping Trudeau will complete it. He doesn't. Numerous frustrated readers write in for 'the missing piece.' One woman speculates, 'I think my cat ate it.'" Read the Iran-Contra strips here.
Newt Gingrich talking about the child labor laws and proposing that kids work as janitors in their schools struck a Doonesbury chord with me. Didn't Newt have some role in helping Duke set up his orphanage?R.S.K. | Storyline | Santa Cruz, CA | December 07, 2011
How quickly we remember. Then-Speaker Gingrich was indeed instrumental in supplying the initial funding for the former Ambassador's "Nothin' But Orphans" project, as chronicled in this 1995 series of strips.
I am loving Jeff's book tour, and I recall that a loooong time ago Zeke went on one as well. Could we please have a reprise of that?David Dalton | Storyline | Saratoga, CA | December 01, 2011
Duke's prolonged MIA status after parachuting into Iran on a secret mission for Universal Petroleum led to him being declared legally dead. After accidentally burning down Duke's estate and being left out of his will, caretaker Zeke Brenner was inspired to author a biography of the former Ambassador. The publication of Duke: Portrait of a Mentor was chronicled in this 1980 series.