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.


It's been an intense few days with so many TV flashbacks to 9/11. How about an FAQ Flashback to what was going on in the strip back then?

Paul M. | Storyline | New York, NY | May 03, 2011

Good idea. Let's revisit that game-changing era with a series that begins at Ground Zero.


I'm glad to see that Lord Zonker is attending the Royal Wedding this week. If memory serves, he was also at the marriage of Lady Di and Prince Charles, right?

Ben D. | Storyline | Syracuse, NY | April 25, 2011

Alas, in 1981 the Prince of Inner Space had not yet become the Viscount St. Austell-in-the-Moor Biggleswade-Brixham. But five years later he was invited to attend the marriage of Prince Andrew and Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson -- a sojourn which involved not only high-class cultural clashing, but also a breathtakingly brief brush with romance, as chronicled in this 1986 series.


The strips on politicians carrying handguns reminds me of the time Mike was involved in a subway shootout, where everybody was carrying and everybody opened up. As I recall, it was inspired by the Bernie Goetz case in New York City. How about sharing that blast from the past?

H. Soto | Storyline | Brooklyn, NY | January 29, 2011

Good memory. You are thinking of the 1985 "Subway Avenger" series, in which a simple question led to an action-packed storyline. To read the sordid tale, click here.


I was enjoying the "Zonker Harris Day" storyline as a fun fantasy, but I see from the latest Blowback entries that it has a reality-based dimension. Could you please clarify a bit on what the heck is going on? Thanks!

Grady S. | Storyline | Santa Cruz, CA | December 03, 2010

Zonker Harris Day and Duke Day are decades-old traditions at Wesleyan University -- hallowed occasions for celebration and music. Several months ago residents of the Westco dorm wrote GBT to make sure he knew that Wesleyan's president had called Zonker Harris Day "stupid," and banned the Z-man's name and image -- leading students to dub the festival "Ze Who Must Not Be Named Day." Understandably outraged, the Westco denizens defended the legendary slacker, telling Trudeau, "We cannot stand for an excellent babysitter, student, football player, and beach rights activist to be so dishonored." For more on the developing crisis -- and for an interesting gloss on the "Ze" aspect -- check out this Wesleyan Argus article.

Q: Around the time of the coup in Russia, I remember that Sal Doonesbury, Dan Quayle, and others attempted a coup in Doonesbury. It's been so long I can't remember exactly how it played out. Any chance of seeing those strips again?
-- Mark Schmidt, Rochester, NY | Storyline | September 09, 2010
A:A very good chance indeed. To revisit the gripping drama that unfolded over three Sundays in the Fall of 1991, all you have to do is click here.
Q: It is clear from this week's series that GBT is a knee-jerk liberal gun-hater. Why?
-- R.S., Davenport, IA
Storyline | April 13, 2010
A:GBT does not hate guns. He grew up in a family of hunters and sport shooters -- his grandfather had over 20 shotguns and rifles -- and joined the NRA as a kid. He got a .22 when he was seven, a shotgun at 12, and his first deer rifle at 16. The NRA's main message at that time was gun safety, and he was completely on board. He got their magazine, and competed in NRA marksmanship events, winning several medals. When GBT moved to the city he took one of his guns with him, and within a few months it was stolen out of his house. He parted ways with the NRA when it ceased to be a sporting association and turned into an insane political lobby.
Q: I'm getting a little turned on by the series on bulb catalogs. And it's not the first time bulbs have been featured in the strip, right? What was the name of the famous flower you featured back in the day?
-- J. Lawson, San Bernardino, CA | Storyline | November 04, 2009
A:Ah, you are referring to none other than B.J. Eddy, who served as head tulip in the White House garden for eight years. Zonker Harris and Patty the potted palm heard him speak at a house plant convention in Hartford, Connecticut in 1975, a year before Eddy was given the axe by the Carter administration, as chronicled here.
Q: I'm confused. I thought Alice inherited a couple mil when dear Congresswoman Lacey Davenport passed away. How is it that she and Elmont are still among the homeless? Is it by choice?
-- Allie, Gettysburg, PA | Storyline | May 13, 2009
A:Congresswoman Davenport did indeed leave a considerable sum to Alice, whom she mistook for her sister Pearl. But Alice and Elmont's good fortune -- and indoor life -- lasted little more than a year, as documented in these strips from the late 90s.
Q: In the Sunday 11/30/08 strip Boopsie and daughter are heading home -- in the snow -- to make muffins. I'm more used to seeing the Malibu coastline as a backdrop to strips with B.D. and Boopsie and Sam and, for a time, nanny Zonker. So when did they make the move to warmer climes? I don't remember.
-- Graeme Roberts, UK | Storyline | December 11, 2008
A:It's not surprising that your memory has failed you, as their big move east occurred clear back in the late 20th century. It all began with a crisis at Walden College and an irresistible offer of gainful employment, as chronicled in this series of strips from the fall of 1997.
Q: Did Obama really sink eight out of ten from downtown?
-- Mark G. Smith, Chapel Hill, NC | Storyline | October 27, 2008
A:Indeed he did. GBT and Newsweek's Jonathan Alter were chatting with Sen. Obama in a hotel lobby in Berlin about the widely-seen video of the candidate sinking a three-pointer in front of a gym full of troops. Obama explained that in fact he'd gone on to sink seven more during two games of Horse. He was justly proud of his performance, and GBT got the clear sense that he wouldn't mind if the full story got out -- hence Rick's big break, as "Jon" leaked him the hot item for his fledgling blog.