Recent FAQS

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.

Q: What kind of meds is B.D. on, anyway? I think he's losing his mind. His daughter's name is Sam, but in the Monday 5-16-05 strip he called her "Alex". She had enough sensitivity not to call her dad on it, but frankly I'm worried. What's the problem?
-- J.L., Sacto, CA | June 14, 2005
A:The problem is that you have noticed one of those rare but intriguing instances where GBT has messed up. Okay, maybe not that rare -- periodic inconsistencies are the downside of having 30 main characters. At any rate, the early consensus among Doonesbury aficionados is that this latest anomaly, while striking, is not quite as impressive as the one which had J.J. and Honey meeting on Donald Trump's yacht and not remembering that they'd been college roommates.
Q: Zonker has always been my favorite, but why is he mooching off B.D. and his family? I remember about 20 years ago or so, he won the lottery by buying one single ticket. I slacked off on my reading for a while back then, so I must have missed something. What happened to Zonker's millions?
-- T. Fairchilds, Troy, Ohio | Characters | July 06, 2005
A:Ultimately the bulk of Z's windfall went to rescuing Duke. While serving as president of Club Pre-Med, an offshore medical college, the former ambassador had been drugged, zombified, and sold into slavery. Functioning, barely, under the moniker 'Legume', he was working for Haiti's Former-President-for-Life Duvalier when Zonker purchased him after intense negotiations. The balance of Zonker's much-diminished fortune proved adequate for purchasing a slightly used British title from Lords-R-Us -- hence his transformation into Lord Zonker, Viscount St. Austell-in-the-Moor Biggleswade-Brixham.
Q: The therapists I work with, both OT and PT, have been enjoying the rehab-related strips about B.D.'s recovery, and they?re posted all over the department. We?d love to see a compilation of these strips in a book. You?re got the rehab thing down pat! I?m returning to active duty at Walter Reed to work as a PT with the troops going through amputation rehab, and hope to see more of B.D. as his rehab journey continues.
-- Marilyn Rodgers, Reseda, CA | Characters | July 29, 2005
A:We appreciate your timely query. As it happens, the Doonesbury book you request has recently been published by Andrews McMeel Universal. As their promotional materials explain: Thousands of U.S. soldiers have suffered grievous wounds in Iraq, and one of them happens to be a Doonesbury character. This special collection chronicles seven months of cutting-edge cartooning, during which B.D. and readers of the strip got an up-close schooling in a kind of personal transformation no one seeks. THE LONG ROAD HOME: One Step at a Time collects the first seven months of Doonesbury strips about B.D.'s journey. It follows him from Baghdad triage through hospital treatments, awkward visits from friends, agonizing exercise regimens and gatherings with his fellow amputees. It also depicts the anxiety of B.D.'s family members, who support him by staying at - Fisher House - an actual non-profit organization operated by Fisher House Foundation, which gives housing to families of soldiers receiving treatment at major military hospitals. Published at the request of Fisher House for patients and their caregivers, The Long Road Home is a tribute to soldiers. Here Trudeau sets aside politics and his opposition to the Iraq War to portray the immense impact combat has on an individual soldier's life. He researched the B.D. storyline at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he visited wounded soldiers and amputees. As Trudeau notes, "Whether you think we belong in Iraq or not, we can't tune it out; we have to remain mindful of the terrible losses that individual soldiers are suffering in our name." The Long Road Home includes a foreword by U.S. Senator John McCain, who writes: "Trudeau tells the story of B.D. - and the Fisher house - and he does it very, very well. Biting but never cynical, and often wickedly funny, these comic strips will make you laugh, reflect and - in the end - understand. Like B.D., the thousands of soldiers who have left their health or their limbs on the battlefield have done so in the service of all of us. These brave men and women astonish us all with their spirit. In sacrificing themselves, they sacrifice for us." Trudeau is donating all royalties from The Long Road Home's sale to the Fisher House Foundation. For more information on Fisher House, visit www.fisherhouse.org , call (800) 294-8560, or send email to info@fisherhouse.org . To read the New York Times review, click here
Q: A sampling of the BLOWBACK response to the 7/3/05 Sunday strip:

Your "starving, unkempt blogger" represents actual bloggers about as much as Sambo represents black people.
-- Brian Boyko, Austin, TX

Considering who GBT works for, it is not surprising he believes (or has his cartoon characters believe) that all bloggers are crackpots who eat cat food. I guess all corporate cartoonists are sell-outs and shills, even the so-called "liberal" ones.

-- Kurt Nimmo, Las Cruces, NM

Your recent strip attacking bloggers has shown that you are really just another elitist corporate media lackey.
-- Lewis J. Scannon, Grand Rapids, MI

I and all other honest people are ashamed of you!
-- Derek Bickerton

I think that the cartoon about bloggers was absolutely disgusting∑. I will never read another Doonesbury cartoon again, I swear to God.
-- Lindsey Tackett, Atlanta, GA

Why does Trudeau hate bloggers?
-- Steve Brodie, Salem, NC

Storyline | September 10, 2005
A:Huh? Regular readers know that for several years GBT has repeatedly addressed blogging from a variety of angles, often sympathetically. In fact, no fewer than five Doonesbury characters are currently bloggers themselves, and some of them were online long before blogs became ubiquitous.

For example, this pre-blog-era series follows Mike's first on-line sojourn in 1993 (this and other links coming shortly!). His much more savvy daughter Alex followed with her own web site in 1996, later developed it into a profitable "video blog" web-cam site, and in 2003, turned to blogging for Dean.

Then there's Zipper, who from his dorm room at Walden College runs a modestly trafficked blog devoted to a niche audience. His inspiration? The legendarily uninhibited blogger Jenny McTaggart, Girl Pirate (nom d'offline: Elmont). Meanwhile, B.D.'s recovery after losing a leg in Iraq was aided and abetted by a CaringBridge blog, ably handled by Boopsie, who dispensed updates to loved ones and conveyed their good wishes to her husband. And more recently, Ray Hightower, B.D.'s comrade in arms, has been painstakingly blogging his detailed way through his tour of duty in Iraq.

It's a common error to assume that Doonesbury's characters each express the precise views of their creator, who would have to be highly schizophrenic to embrace them all. In this particular instance, it's worth noting that Mark Slackmeyer, who trash-talks blogging, is himself a political screedist who has spent the last 30 years passionately expounding his point of view to an almost nonexistent audience. There's a reason why he might feel threatened by a blogosphere that gets far more attention than he.

On the other hand, he does seem to have flushed out an awful lot of pretty defensive people. Cat food sales must be brisk.

A:Although Ray's blog, like Ray himself, only exists in the cartoon universe, we're happy to pass along links to MY WAR (which features a good collection of articles on "milbloggers"), LIFE IN THIS GIRL'S ARMY (which has links to other sites), plus THIS EXTENSIVE LIST of blogs.
Q: Can I get Doonesbury images for my cell phone?
-- C. Brown, Northampton, MA | November 03, 2005
A:Images, and then some. We've been holding onto this question for months, knowing we'd eventually be able to answer in the affirmative. We are pleased to direct your attention to GOCOMICS.COM, where you can easily arrange to RECEIVE DOONESBURY DAILY, in color, on your phone. You can also enhance your phone's ambiance by choosing from among 17 Doonesbury character WALLPAPERS, or lively it up with Doonesbury ANIMATIONS -- initial offerings include Jukin? Duke, mini-D, and Zipper the 24-7 gamer. Have fun!
Q: I read in the Kansas City Star that Doonesbury is 35. I wasn't around back then, so could you please post the very first strip? Thx.
-- J.M., KC, MO | Creating the Strip | November 17, 2005
A:Doonesbury debuted on October 26, 1970. In celebration of the strip's 35th year, we're happy to post THE FIRST 35 STRIPS. Enjoy!
Q: As of October 20th, George W. Bush has held only seven press conferences in 2005. Has Dubya been depicted in the strip conducting more than that many this year? My question is intended not to point out any inaccuracies in the strip, but to shame the president.
-- Walt Threlkeld, Pasadena, CA | Storyline | November 30, 2005
A:Thanks for requesting a reality check. In this regard, the strip happens to have been pretty accurate. So far this year, Dubya has gone before the press corps six times in the strip, not counting the speech he delivered as part of Mike's Summer Daydream. On the other hand, those six appearances unfolded over a total of 13 days, which may be why you thought the president was catching an unearned break.
Q: Here's another "how accurate is the strip?" question, this one re the 11/27/05 Sunday. Is the strip's dialogue, with GWB rationalizing DKE's hazing rituals, quoted verbatim? If so, where's it from?
-- Rick Pluta, Lansing, MI | Out There | November 30, 2005
A:The fact that the dialogue in panel seven is in quotation marks is the tip-off that these are Dubya's actual words, as per this Boston Globe article. The subject has been addressed in the strip previously, most notably during this September 1999 series, which incorporates a Yale Daily News photograph of an actual DKE brand.
Q: I don't remember Doonesbury ever including Santa Claus in the strip, or addressing the holiday at all. Is GBT part of the War on Christmas?
-- Hank I., Galesburg, IL | Storyline | January 03, 2006
A:If we didn't know better, we'd take this to be a thinly-veiled attempt (a successful one, we might add) to summon visitations by a few of our favorite ghosts of Doonesbury Christmases past. Merry Holidays!