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.

GO!
Ray Lampe | Templeton, MA | March 11, 2014

To all the daring protestors of every generation: Thank you. When I was the age to join the fray, I was a passive liberal and didn't even know it. I thought everyone wanted fairness in the world. Now, nearing 80, I don't have the chops to knock heads any more but cheer from the sidelines, sign petitions, and donate to causes. Go, Megaphone Mark!!!

COINCIDENCE
Don Albertson | Spring Mills, PA | March 11, 2014

By a curious coincidence, students at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (a.k.a. UNITECH) are demonstrating for the reinstatement of their Vice Chancellor (roughly equivalent to a President of a US university) just as the replay/flashblack strips show Mark demanding the ouster of Walden's President.

MEGAPHONE MARK
Brian Harvey | Berkeley, CA | March 11, 2014

I think I'm about Mark's age. I was like him back when he was "Megaphone Mark"; a figure of fun, crazy, extremist -- immature, supposedly. Everyone said I'd turn conservative when I got older, with a mortgage. I bet they said it to him, too. But neither of us did. Maybe a little less eager to throw our aging bodies into a brawl, but still on the left. Mike got less obnoxious, B.D. got way more insightful, but Mark, while older and wiser, is the one most recognizable in these early strips. Makes me feel good.

DOONESPEOPLE
Ilyn | Providence, RI | March 10, 2014

Thank you for these beautiful cave drawings, which are helping us better understand modern-day Doonespeople.

ANTI-SMOKING
Paul Hawkins | Wooster, OH | March 09, 2014

Let me see if I have this correct. You're anti-smoking, yet pro-pot Thank gawd you don't have to light up brownies! Or chewing tobacco, another annoying and very addictive habit...

LOSS OF INNOCENCE
John Ghalt | Anchorage, AK | March 07, 2014

GBT's got ten years on me, yet this week's Flashbacks evoke in me a sudden loss of innocence. As an 18-year-old freshman, 4,000 highway miles from home, I was walking along within the local State College when I saw a very athletic student bent over his textbook. "A scholar athlete," I thought, "nothing strange about that." But on closer approach I saw his intent expression, brow furrowed with effort -- mouthing words, with agonizing deliberation.

IN THE EARLY 70s
Paul Baumgartel | Riverside, CT | March 07, 2014

I started following the strip when I attended Yale in the early 70s -- I even spoke (briefly) to GBT on the phone once (unrelated to the strip; I was trying to reach his roommate!). These Flashbacks are really special to me and I'm glad that they're being presented. Although I miss the new daily strips, I completely understand GBT's motivation for the hiatus and wish him all the best for "Alpha House" and other ventures. At least we still have Sundays!

WOW
Baris | Istanbul, TURKEY | March 07, 2014

Wow. B.D. and Mike are actually writing papers. By hand.

OUR FRIEND THE BEAVER
Christian Ellegaard | Copenhagen, DENMARK | March 07, 2014
"Our friend the Beaver" is one of my all-time favorite strips. It's often used as a reference to college degrees that aren't worth the paper they are printed on.
RERUNS
Shelley | Meota, CANADA | March 07, 2014

I've been reading Doonesbury almost since it started. I am now 51 and have learned a lot about the politics of your country. You've made me laugh, cry, and angry, often at the same time. Thank you for the reruns. They will educate a new generation on the history of some very turbulent years.

VERY INTERESTING
McAlvie | Baltimore, MD | March 06, 2014

The Classic Doonesbury flashbacks have everyone feeling nostalgic and having their own flashbacks to their first experiences with the strip. Me? Doonesbury has been a part of my life for so long that it's as if it was always there. I'm looking forward to looking backwards -- but I think it's also going to be very interesting for relative newcomers to see Mike and B.D. before they were the responsible adults. For example, Alex gets a lot of grief here in the Blowback section, but when you see how far the older generation has come, Alex is already ahead of the game.

MEMORY LANE
T.J. Martin | Denver, CO | March 06, 2014

I have to agree. This walk down memory lane's becoming quite enjoyable.

FRESH INSIGHT
Khalid | Karachi, PAKISTAN | March 06, 2014

I've been following Doonesbury daily for the last ten years through "My MSN," ever since I got onto broadband. Your previous Flashbacks have usually irritated me, because I've already seen them, and I'd rather get new stuff. However, the present Flashbacks from the early days are great as the provide fresh insight for this "latecomer" to your strip. Can one find all these in an archive, from Day One?

Editor's Note:

 Indeed. The entire run of the strip is available on GoComics, beginning here.

A DEVOTED FOLLOWER
Pam Bishop | Miami, FL | March 06, 2014

My acquaintance with Doonesbury dates to the latter 70s, the Carter era, at which time the strip had already evolved from its primordial college origins and struck out into the wider world. It was the voyage into Reagan's brain that made me a devoted follower. It's a treat to see the early panels.

TRAGEDY OR OPPORTUNITY?
Brian Foley | Otego, NY | March 05, 2014

Doonesbury on hiatus: tragedy or opportunity? I love this cartoon strip. I realized how much I loved it in 1983 when Trudeau took a 20-month sabbatical, and many papers dropped him instead of using Flashbacks. I was in Europe at the time, and read the International Herald Tribune for two reasons 1) Doonesbury and 2) its excellent reporting (in that order). I can't remember if the IHT printed Flashbacks, or just put Doonesbury back in when Trudeau returned from the  sabbatical, but I started cutting out Doonesbury from whichever paper I was reading, in whatever country I was in. I followed him, overseas, for about 15 years, and have not stopped yet. I have boxes and boxes of Doonesbury strips in archival plastic bags. Since that day in 1983, I've been asked what I intend to do with them. I still have no Idea.

But I'm thankful that my local paper, The Oneonta Daily Star, is continuing the series with Flashbacks from Day One, in 1970. That was about the time I first started reading Doonesbury, and it helped change my mind. I went from being a 14-year old Vietnam War hawk (read: moron) to becoming a person who read the paper with a little more intelligence, looking for depth. I'm so glad I will be able to "flashback" to the origins of the syndicated strip. (I hate to admit that I've never read the the original "Bull Tales" in the Yale Daily News, but it's on my bucket list.) I'm going to find a way to watch "Alpha House," which Trudeau is taking this hiatus to write the second season of, although we won't be able to stream it at home, because our fine little burg is still digitally in the 20th century. I wish Garry Trudeau all the best, because he has given us nothing but the best for over 40 years.

Editor's Note:

 You can shorten your bucket list by reading the proto-Doonesbury Yale strips on this very website. Just click here.

 

THREE DAYS
Fred | Wicklow, IRELAND | March 05, 2014

So it's taken three days of first-strip-Flashbacks for me to realise that they've been coloured! Nice job.

MIKE
Tony Phillips | Chicago, IL | March 05, 2014

Forty-four years later, B.D. still seems very much the same sullen character he was in 1970, but my, how Mike has grown up! Not having been familiar with the Mike of so long ago, used to the present Mike -- the very sensible, attuned balancing point of the whole range bizarre characters -- I am shocked, shocked at what a callow goof he was in his youth.

DAY ONE
Tom Hundley | Mustang, OK | March 04, 2014

The Flashbacks usually kick off "a where was I" moment, but Day One really did me in. Lost half a work day while cruising memory lane. Thank you so much, as that refreshing trip was better than a three-day weekend.

ANNOYING
Jesse Baker | Pound, VA | March 04, 2014

If B.D. thinks Mike is annoying, wait until he meets Zonker.

BACK THEN
Jim O'Reilly | Hamden, CT | March 04, 2014

Wow, we're back to the time of the Katzenjammer Kids and the Yellow Kid. But weren't the strips bigger back then?