Recent FAQS


Beta-fresh answers, uploaded occasionally

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 answer those we can on the Blowback page, and also archive the answers here.


How are you celebrating Doonesbury's 40th?

Karen Sublette | Out There | Gold Hill, OR | October 25, 2010

With as much gusto, tome-ocity, hullabaloo and pomp as circumstances will allow. For starters, as we hope you’ve noticed, the website has been completely re-designed (after 15 years, it seemed time). For two weeks we’re opening up the entire Doonesbury archive – every strip from October 26, 1970 up through today. And our host-pals at Slate are offering a bevy of anniversary features – their 200 Doonesbury's Greatest Moments links will help you explore that deep archive; a pithy interview with David Plotz gives GBT the chance to explain a few things; and they are posting illuminating essays about the strip by Tom Ricks, Gail Collins, Jeffrey Toobin, Gene Weingarten, Walter Isaacson, and Nicholas von Hoffman.

Then there’s 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective, a unique and ambitious tome that dares to take a mere 700-page, 1,800-strip shot at tracking the utterly interconnected lives of the strip’s multitude of characters – with 18 in-depth essays by creator G.B. Trudeau and a four-page 70-character foldout Guide to Interconnectedness map (way more complex that that which explains the New York City subway system). As if that weren’t enough (apparently it’s not), we would also like direct your attention to Brian Walker’s mind-boggling book Doonesbury and the Art of G.B. Trudeau, which sheds serious new light on GBT’s work (see slide show here). If you also consider the gallery show in New Haven, the interviews on Charlie Rose, NPR, in Costco’s magazine, hither, and yon -- hey, it’s a party. And as key members of the family, you are warmly invited.


Considering that pot may be legalized soon in several states, and in light of the fact that Zonker was recently contemplating getting into cultivation, how about giving us a flashback hit off that good ol' hand-rolled character Mr. Jay?

D.B. | Characters | Peconic, NY | October 21, 2010

We're happy to fire up our favorite spokes-joint. Just don't bogart the strip.

Q: Can I ask a question that?s not about the war? I want to get a complete set of strips without buying books that overlap one another. Would you please guide me in my shopping?
T.A., NY, NY | Out There | September 08, 2003
A:If a complete collection is your goal then old print media won?t get the job done. All the books have been judiciously edited by GBT. The CD-Rom bundled with The Bundled Doonesbury will give you the strips through May 1995 (warning -- PC only!), but the only all-inclusive archive is our DAILY BRIEFING feature, which gives you access to all strips by date. We hasten to re-iterate our regret that the subject indexing for post-95 strips is not yet available, though we have good reason to predict a complete index will be up before midsummer night?s eve.
Q: Why isn't Phred listed in the Cast Bios?
Nadia, Ithaca, NY | Characters | April 28, 2003
A:He is now, as are Jeff Redfern and President King. These three new character profiles bring the total to 27 -- all freshly updated, and all accompanied by new color portraits. Please feel free to upgrade your knowledge of THE CAST, then visit CASTMASTER 4.0 and test your mettle by tackling the new cast trivia quiz.
Q: What?s the deal with the archive? Are you really moving it over to
-- S. Caque, Smithfield Valley, NY | Out There | May 01, 2003
A:Most of it, yes. As many of you have already discovered, uclick (which has been hosting the Doonesbury Town Hall for lo these many years) has recently launched, a subscription comics site. For a $9.95 yearly membership, you set up a customized daily e-mail "comics page" with up to 140 cartoon features. Creators get revenue every time you read a strip, and deep archives are planned -- not just the 2-4 weeks of strips now offered by most comics sites.

In support of this worthy venture, we?ve decided to limit the archive on the free Town Hall to one year of strips, plus a link to the six strips that ran on the current date 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years ago. Everything else will soon be moving onto MyComicsPage, so you'll need to sign up there to continue to enjoy unfettered access to the entire Doonesbury run. We apologize to those disappointed by this adjustment. From our point of view it?s for a good cause -- trying to find a viable biz plan that will make comics on the Net a long-term reality.

Q: Where?s the translation of the French Sunday strip?
-- S. Bleu, St. Louis, MO | Out There | May 12, 2003
A:You've come to the right place. Click here for the TRANSLATION.
Q: Holy shit! What are we doing in the Slate environment?
-- Garry Trudeau, New York, NY | Out There | June 02, 2003
A:Try checking your e-mail occasionally, Cartoon Boy. The Doonesbury Town Hall has just clambered aboard the bandwagon of the web's hottest online journal. It was lonesome out there in the ether, and now we are happily nestled among reams of sparkling content and bodacious commentary. All aspects of our site have made the move intact, except for the deeper realms of the Doonesburys hope Slate regulars new to our little show will make it a habit to read the strip, check out the headlines, weigh in on our weekly straw poll, and explore the other splendors of our multi-featured, one-stop news and entertainment destination.
Q: Today's strip with Roland looks very familiar. What's going on?
-- S. Blue, Anoka, MN | Creating the Strip | September 09, 2003
A:Do not adjust your consciousness. You are experiencing a "Doonesbury Flashback", an aberration fully sanctioned by syndicate policy. Closely observing the much-lamented early retirement of both Gary Larson and Bill Waterson, Universal Press wisely proclaimed that every UPS cartoonist with five years or more of active duty would henceforth receive a month of downtime annually. This humane shift was nothing short of revolutionary. Whenever GBT takes advantage of the much-needed opportunity for re-charging, UPS issues a week of previously-published "Doonesbury Flashback" strips. Such is the case this week. New material will resume on Monday, June 9.

Q: My mother claims Mark Slackmeyer has a partner. Is that true? If so, who is he and where has he been seen?
J. Wall, Green Bay, WI | June 16, 2003
A:In addition to sharing hearthtime with Mark, Chase Talbot III, a leading conservative scholar, occasionally shares airtime as well. Readers first met Chase when he appeared on "All Things Reconsidered" to debate Clinton's "character'problem". He and Mark met in a bar.
Q: I've noticed small drawing errors lately -- like the manila file folder should be blocking more of Mr. Azizah's shirt in panel 1 of 5-23-03. This kind of thing didn't happen before the move to Slate. So is it Microsoft's fault?
-- James I., Madison, WI | June 25, 2003
A:Your attention to detail is impressive, James, and ordinarily if you discovered some inconsistency in the art, we'd be the first to congratulate you. But in that particular panel, Duke is holding the right flap of the folder with his right hand, reading a page that is on the left side of the open folder. In subsequent panels the folder has been closed. As for Microsoft, you've incorrectly made a post hoc, ergo propter hoc inference. But thanks for your vigilance and concern