Blowback_toon

Blowback

A clean, well-lit place to vent

Please feel free to contribute to this frequently-updated forum, which posts selected commentary on our favorite comic strip. If you’d like your critique to be posted, please note that civility, if not approbation, counts. Click here to submit a comment.

CLEVER ENOUGH
Tony Phillips | Chicago, IL | January 07, 2013

Re OPPONENT: Jeff's job, as with any feckless lad, is to fantasize. But, as GBT renders him, he is clever enough to pop up ahead of the idlers in the daydream department and so manages to get it down in writing for editors to put into communicable shape. That's something, I'll grant you. But still, he has yet to prove himself of any real human worth, that is, to actively care about and care for people other than himself. Then maybe he could write something substantial.

It's a big problem for the culture, for art, for literature, for Hollywood: How can a writer, a producer, a director, portray circumstances where people act within the real range of human potential, do extraordinary things while possessed of the same capabilities, the same vulnerabilities as us human beings, and maybe show what is real hero's work involving real sacrifice, without the crutch of fantasy powers -- and still make a buck? Superheroes are a safer bet. We'll pay to float upon the dream of being thus endowed, hardly challenged to imagine what might be our own real potential in difficult circumstances. It is harder to sell or engage art of substance, art that's challenging.

Meanwhile Rick, as he is given to us, has to engage and decipher the complexities of the real world and make sense of it, render it in intelligent perspective, and, perhaps, in so far as his blog would survive, give his readers insight. That's real work. The father/son psychology here is so interesting: Rick -- too much into the world; Jeff -- too far out of it.

OPPONENT
David Kastrup | Waltrop, GERMANY | January 07, 2013

Well, let's be fair: Jeff's job is harder than Rick's. Jeff has to invent his stories, Rick only reports and discusses what is actually happening. Of course, this also means that Rick has to compete with a lot of others. Jeff's only opponent is himself. And, looking at the success he had, that is a formidable one.

WINDOWS
Donna C. | Lucerne, CA | January 07, 2013

I just want to thank you for the Sandbox portion of this site. Both sons were in Iraq at the same time and one also served in Afghanistan. He tells me that in 72 more years he'll be able to tell me what he was doing. I truly appreciate these little windows of enlightenment that get posted -- sometimes through tears, sometimes laughing right out loud.

ERROR
Joe C. | Austin, TX | January 07, 2013

I'm reporting a continuity error in today's strip: Joanie tells Zipper that he must wait until noon, which implies that Zipper is up and about before noon. Impossible.

BREATH
Virginia | Kalispell, MT | January 06, 2013

Re LAST PAIR: Don't hold your breath. Eighteen years ago my husband said, "This is the last car we'll buy." We're on our third since then.

NEW IDEAS
Benjamin Smeall | Green Bay, WI | January 06, 2013

I believe that the motion, and the search for new ideas, is more important than the clothes. In this Mike Doonesbury is still ahead. For shoes, I would recommend buying Redwing boots and shoes, made in Redwing, Minnesota. The footwear is so comfortable it will make you pray to God. For clothes, I recommend WalMart.

CONVENIENCE STORE
Deb McAllister | Rochester, NY | January 06, 2013

My husband liked shopping at truck stops. Great Hawaiian shirts and fishing tackle in the same aisle. Also some Indian reservation tobacco stores in upstate NY are now carrying clothes in age-appropriate colors and sizes, along with gifts for the wife and kids. That was his idea of a convenience store.

LAST PAIR
Ann Birdsall | Bedford, CANADA | January 06, 2013

Gas station underwear! I thought my husband, buying a $4.99 sweatshirt at the local drug store, was the only non-clothing-store shopper. And I wonder when Mike will reach the point my I-hate-shopping-for-clothes husband has as he settles into his 'sunset' years: "This is the last pair of shoes I'll have to buy."

JEFF'S BIRTHDAY
Alex | Brooklyn, NY | January 04, 2013

And we appear to have missed Jeff's birthday. The Red Rascal turned 30. I look forward to the downward spiral continuing.

SUITABLY FLEXIBLE
Amna Greaves | Andover MA | December 31, 2012

It’s 1983 and I’m a high school art student with one more project to complete a portfolio for honors. My teacher, being the lenient sort, allowed me an absurd amount of leeway and I, being young and eccentric (as opposed to old and eccentric which I am now) decided that a set of life-sized Doonesbury characters would be the perfect capstone. I created these figures out of 3’x3’ sheets of corrugated cardboard and painted them brightly with tempera. The Doonesbury clique included Zonker, Zeke, Mike, Mark, B.D., and (coming in last but not least at 5’ thanks to remaining cardboard scrap) Duke. Over the three weeks I had them on display they appeared in various nooks and ways -- the library, the halls, behind doors -- and much to my surprise they did not take any damage. In fact I was shocked that my peers, the well known and well liked, came to me, the art student outcast, asking for my creations at the end of the exhibit. I did give them all away, all except for Zeke, who I kept fondly for many years on the back of my bedroom door. Many decades have passed, but I owe a ‘thank you’ to GBT for the use of his characters. Also for the random and surprising discovery of The Doonesbury Chronicles in my public library in 1980 (next to Amphigorey, and collections by Charles Adams.) I repeatedly checked this volume out and mystified my friends with exclamations of “Heeeewack!” from time to time. Doonesbury was a formative part of my youth, and continues to help keep my mind suitably flexible as I meander on into old age. Keep ‘em coming, bro. I’m counting on you.

THE CHALLENGES
Adele | OREGON | December 30, 2012

I am the mother of a disabled veteran of OIF. On behalf of thousands of military families, I want to thank you for never forgetting us. You keep our stories in the eyes and minds of a nation that would rather sweep us under the rug, or glorify what our loved ones have been through in order to perpetuate the same lies that led us into Iraq in the first place. You walk the walk, in the way suited to you. In doing so, you do us all a great service. I only wish even more people would read your strip. Perhaps it would help them to understand the challenges we face every day.

CELEBRATOR-IN-CHIEF
Marcia | Longmont, CO | December 28, 2012

As an atheist who is also my family's celebrator-in-chief of Christmas (and the other holidays of our family's protestant/colonial tradition), I relish the irony of the current War on Christmas series. Most of my family are ecumenical Christians, and I see no reason to deprive them of the comfort, or myself of the joy, of Christmas. Having reached the status (somewhat uncomfortably, to be sure) of materfamilias, I will gladly hang the lights, decorate the tree, cook the turkey, and automate my aged mother's Christmas card list. Whyever not? If this is hypocrisy, then I accept the label. It seems to me that it would be ungenerous to force my unbelief on my family. I'm pretty sure that I'm in the majority here.

PITCH
Jan | New Haven, CT | December 27, 2012

"Have you ever had to kill one?" Pitch perfect.

A ZONKER
Smithers Bob | Smithers, CANADA | December 27, 2012

One of my lifetime best friends is a "Zonker." Laid back, the antithesis of mercenary, quick to help anyone in need, and not the least bit concerned about accumulating money. Like Zonker, he takes what life offers, smiles and moves on.

PICTURE IN THE ATTIC
Joshua Rey | London, UK | December 27, 2012

Roland's like Dorian Gray -- but every now and then we get a look at the picture in the attic.

CONTEXT
Niki | Montreal, CANADA | December 27, 2012

"Have you ever had to kill one?" I drew in my breath at the genius of that line in its particular context. You're the best critic of our time.

DEFICIENT
Earl Wirth | Appomattox, VA | December 27, 2012

I've enjoyed you strip for years, but todays subject matter -- Christians killing atheists -- was in such poor taste; the kind of deficient intellect that would dream that one up is not one I care to read anymore.

MAKEUP PEOPLE
Luthier Lew | Oakland, CA | December 26, 2012

Not only is Roland married but unlike (most noticeably) Joanie and Mark and Bernie, in 35 years he has not aged a minute. That or the makeup people at Fox are doing a terrific job.

WHO KNEW?
Joshua Rey | London | December 26, 2012

Well I'll be darned, who knew Roland Hedley was married?

PRESENT
Pete | Hillsdale, NJ | December 25, 2012

A Christmas present! The return of the baby Jesus as played by a 40-watt light bulb!