Out There


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 Doonesbury.com 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.

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: What?s the deal with the archive? Are you really moving it over to MyComicsPage.com?
-- 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 MyComicPage.com, 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: Although we are pleased to be partnering with Slate, a steady trickle of e-mail indicates that the relationship has not been universally blessed:

Microsoft is the evil empire. Have you sold your soul to the devil?
-- H. Waya, Philadelphia, PA

Does the word 'ethics' mean anything to GBT? Or does it just get in the way of $?
-- M. Green

I'd rather chew off my testicles than have anything other than the barest minimum to do with that sneaky, ugly-minded bunch of misanthropes at MSN.
-- John B., United Kingdom

Out There | September 09, 2003
A:To us, joining up with Slate makes sense: we like the mag, we like the people who create it. Our shared audience appreciates opinionated commentary on popular culture and current events. Yes, Slate is owned by MSN, but GBT still controls the content of DTH&WP, and we continue to admin the site, as we have for seven years.

Those not yet familiar with Slate might enjoy THIS RECENT INTERVIEW with its editor, Jacob Weisberg (who also creates Slate's popular 'Bushisms' feature). In the piece he discusses the DTH&WP-Slate relationship and hints at special projects now still in the brain-jamming stage.

Q: Is there a new Doonesbury book coming out soon? It seems about time for our annual fix, but there's been no mention of it on the DTH site.
-- Laura Lynch, Lawrenceville, NJ | Out There | October 17, 2003
A:Our silence on the subject is an egregious oversight which we hasten to correct. This fall's annual Doonesbury collection, Got War? is indeed in the house. The warehouse, that is. And copies have probably arrived by now in your local bookshop. Members of the Quality Paperback Book Club will have a chance to order by snailmail, as Got War? and Peace Out, Dawg! are joint main selections of the Quality Paperback Book Club.
Q: I'm hearing a lot about the new HBO TV show K Street and about how it mixes real actors with people in the political world playing themselves. Didn't GBT do this already? I seem to recall the 1988 campaign had Michael Murphy on the trail. I'm not hallucinating again, am I?
-- Patty, Pacific Palisades, CA | Out There | October 27, 2003
A:We can't speak to the hallucination question, but it sounds like you definitely saw Tanner '88. Written by Trudeau, directed by Robert Altman, starring Michael Murphy and Pamela Reed, with appearances by Bob Dole, Gary Hart, Bruce Babbit and others, this earlier HBO series has been acknowledged as a source of inspiration by K Street creator Steven Soderbergh. Tanner '88 won a special jury prize at Cannes, and is occasionally available in VHS format on eBay.
Q: I heard that the TV series Trudeau and Robert Altman did about the 1988 presidential election is coming back. True?
-- Owen V., Portland, OR | Out There | February 20, 2004
A:Starting Tuesday, February 3, the Sundance Channel will be re-broadcasting an updated edition of Tanner '88: The Dark Horse, written by GBT and directed by Robert Altman. This innovative weekly series tracking the fictional presidential campaign of Jack Tanner was filmed in real time against the backdrop of the 1988 primaries. The show starred Michael Murphy, Pamela Reed, Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), and featured interactions with real-life candidates Bob Dole, Gary Hart, Pat Robertson, Bruce Babbit and others. Originally aired on HBO, Tanner '88 won a special jury prize at Cannes for best TV series.

For the Sundance Channel broadcast, each of the 11 episodes will be introduced by recently-filmed interviews with the characters, who look back on their experiences in campaign '88 from the vantage point of campaign '04. You can read more about Tanner '88 in this Boston Globe article, or this CNN piece.

This week?s schedule: Tuesday, 9 pm; Friday 11:30 pm; Sunday 5:30 pm.

Q: What's the deal with the new "Blowback" feature? How is it different from the FAQ? How do I submit content?
-- A. Sims, Madison, WI | Out There | April 26, 2004
A:For years GBT has used this FAQ feature to answer selected queries from among those submitted to the DTH&WP. But Management has been criticized, understandably, for not making available a generous sampling of the other feedback the site receives. In response we have launched BLOWBACK, which will provide a constantly updated, judiciously edited supply of share-worthy e-mail regarding the strip and the site. Submissions to BLOWBACK can be made on the CONTACT page.