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As an Airman stationed in Germany in 1978 I began reading the Yale strips that my roommate had saved (his father was an engineer there). I was soon clamoring to find all the past strips and read Doonesbury daily. A career in electronics changed to a career as a political scientist and years in state government and activism. Whether or not that was such a good idea is still debated by my family. Doonesbury however has been a constant since then. Thank you GB and Happy 40th Doonesbury!
Re Roland's comment to GWB about "praising an arsonist for bringing his own fire under control" -- this was actually an issue here in Oz following the catatrophic bushfires of 2009. There were reliable reports of some of the most destructive fires having been lit deliberately by people who then engaged in major heroics to combat them. It does happen. (Allegedly, at least.)
I believe the sequence when Zonker Harris's parent separated ("You're never too old for nuts and berries...") was about my entry point; approximate age twelve. I had Zonker ironed onto a t-shirt, via The Daily News. I confess to forging both a Zonker sketch and a GBT autograph in my copy of The Doonesbury Chronicles. I thought Doonesbury (and Aja) fandom would be enough to win a certain woman's heart in college. Women really do mature faster than boys. Saw the musical. Replaced old t-shirt with one drawn for World Hunger Year. Ran fast to buy The Long Road Home. Read strip online. Every. Day. Thank you.
Astute American friends sometimes ask me, "How do you know so much about American politics? How come you get so many American culture references?" I tell them, "I read Doonesbury every day." Happy 40th birthday!
When my first grandchild -- a granddaughter -- was born, I was happy to be able to outfit her and her mother (my daughter) in matching shirts with "It's a woman! A baby woman!" emblazoned on them. Thanks, Garry, for the perfectly appropriate sentiment!
Happy 40th, and thank you. I think I've been reading since day one. You've made an important contribution to society, and it's been fun. And it's been absolutely top-notch the whole time. Long may you run.
The asterisk thingie in the caricature of Geo. W. Bush today is very like Kurt Vonnegut's widely-known drawing of, as the distinguished literary author put it, an "asshole." The drawing appears in Kurt's contribution to Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions collections and more visibly in the novel Breakfast of Champions. These are touchstones of an era from which the strip emerges. I can't be the only person making this happy association.
I've cheered the presidential Icons, wept at the Memorial Day listing of those killed in action in Iraq, cancelled my newspaper subscription when they refused to carry certain strips, raged at fate when there was some kind of hiatus, was introduced to you by my 15 year old son, 40 years ago. Oh yes, I have you as my home page, and read the strip before I have my coffee. Live Long and Prosper.
Thanks for many years of insight and entertainment. There is nothing better on a rainy day, for me, than settling down with a glass of wine and re-reading the Doonesbury annuals on my shelves, and I will dedicate a day for the Anniversary. They capture the great sweep of modern history as the great literature they really are. Congratulations, Mr Trudeau.
I began reading DB when, in the early 70's, I found my SoCal high school friend, Craig Johnson, perfectly caricatured in it. Too bad he's gone now. And I used DB's inexorable logic on my ur-Republican dad when he showed me two fat donation checks about to go in the mail -- one for W, one for the soldiers' widows of our Iraq war. I suggested that he might achieve his goals if he donated instead to a cause that might end the war and stop making widows. He gave a double fat check to Kerry. Thanks, keep up the good work.
I first came across Doonesbury in 1985. A guesthouse where I was staying in Lamu off the Kenya coast: the other guests included a few Peace Corps volunteers on R&R. One day the mail came and they all huddled together in great delight over photocopies of some comic strip -- it looked like a month or so's worth. I wondered what the fuss was about. Now I know.
Gah! There's no 40-year Flashback strip today! How am I supposed to keep my undergraduates educated today without a full slate of Flashbacks?
Sorry, but the first Sunday strip did not appear until March 21, 1971.
I wonder if Zonk ever considered that Boehner's tan might be the result of him geting lighter (ala Michael Jackson) instead of darker. Now that would really scare Ohio voters.
I noted today's reference to Boehner's tan. I don't believe there has ever been reference to Pelosi's apparent frozen-by-Botox face, Barney Frank's Elmer Fudd mumble-mouthed speech patterns, or John Kerry's equine-like countenance. I guess those individuals are not as comics-worthy as the next Speaker of the House.
I first started paying attention to Doonesbury when I was around 14 years old, during the series when Duke shot Zeke for breaking into his place in Colorado. The story line and characters were so outrageous it was like a bright light getting turned on in the murky, hackneyed funny pages! After that I was hooked and bought every large format collection I could find. I loved getting the book with all the original Yale strips too. Almost everything I knew about modern history and politics got its start from these stories. Too bad the "real" stories often were not nearly as humorous. Cheers to a great 40 years!
Your strip today got me laughing big time ! You got my chum Lowell in the last panel standing in that doorway being asked to vote "no" on legalizing marijuana in California. Fat chance. Hahaha! I wish I could send you a photo of us. Sorta looks like Willie Nelson.
Zonker Dude! You can crash at my place till you get your own scene or hang out for a season, whatever... Humboldt welcomes you!
I've been physically able to read for roughly 30 years, and reading Doonesbury for a minimum of 28. I sure as hell didn't understand everything I was reading at the age of 5, but the gang definitely helped me figure it out, abetted by my local library, which was smart enough to have every Doonesbury book available, and naive enough to allow me to check them out before I had reached double-digit years. Much like I don't remember a time when I couldn't read, I don't remember a time when I didn't read Doonesbury.
Happy 40th Garry!! Before there was Jon Stewart, there was Doonesbury -- the best way to get another slant on the news of the day. Thank you for all your insight and humor!