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FAQs

Beta-fresh answers, uploaded weekly

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 frequently answer some of the best!

 

Characters

Q.

I know Zonker was Sam's nanny until fairly recently, and pretty good at it, but he started out with Mike and J.J. when they were new parents, right? Could we please revisit that? I seem to remember it as a bumpier ride.

Jim Tole | Characters | Ames, IA | December 03, 2013
A.

Indeed, a mere generation ago Mike and J.J. were experiencing parenting moments much like those Toggle and Alex now face. We take you back to January, 1989, as the cries of an as-yet-unnamed-infant rouse her parents from their slumber -- and a career is born.

Q.

The Flashback strip from five years ago reminded me how much I miss the quirky Lacey and Dick Davenport. The classy, pragmatic, WASP Republicans they represented no longer exist. I think the week when Dick came back to escort Lacey to heaven is my all-time favorite. I made copies and shared it with several Episcopal priests as Doonesbury eschatology. Could we please revisit her final panels, and Dick's as well?

Roger Webb | Characters | Little Rock, AR | November 14, 2013
A.

With both pleasure and sadness, and we'll include their funerals as well -- since both were, to use your word, quirky. As you note, avid birdwatcher Dick predeceased congresswoman Lacey.

Q.

I've recently returned to reading Doonesbury, and am missing some of the connections. For instance, who is the young man with the eyepatch? Thanks a bunch!

Janet Lewis | Characters | Victoria, CANADA | November 01, 2013
A.

That is none other than Leo "Toggle" Deluca. He and Alex Doonesbury were married in June of 2012. While serving in B.D.'s old unit, Toggle was blown up by a VBIED, lost an eye, and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. The intial phases of his recovery are chronicled in Signature Wound: Rocking TBI, the third book in the Wounded Warrior series, but we'll get you started with these Toggle strips.

 

Two tips on catching up: There's a four-page foldout map that charts the web of relationships among the strip's 90 characters in 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective, and you can read through all 43 years of strips on GoComics.com. Have fun!

Q.

Delivering my daughter to summer camp triggered the memory of a long-ago Alex storyline in which Mike dropped her off at Nerd Camp. Can we please go back there?

Howard | Characters | Great Barrington, MA | August 30, 2013
A.

Ah yes, it was a mere 12 years ago that the future MIT grad packed her Mac and headed for the not-so-wilds of Camp Appleseed in order to "re-think packet-switching." Enjoy.

Q.

I love seeing Melissa again, and appreciate the Blowback comment about her being "no longer the hunched-over girl we first met." As long as Mel's revisiting all the stuff her father doesn't want her to "dwell" on, how about we revisit those earlier periods in her life as well? Thanks.

C.B. | Characters | Redding, CA | August 16, 2013
A.

Good idea. In 2007 Melissa's story intersected with that of B.D., who she encountered in the waiting room at the Vet Center.

Q.

With the recent decision by SCOTUS regarding DOMA, would it be possible to take a quick step back in time, and see the Sunday strip that showed Mark and Chase enjoying a quiet evening of domestic bliss?

Schuyler Corson | Characters | Ames, IA | July 03, 2013
A.

We are delighted to oblige. Short-lived though it was, we raise a glass to their happiness.

Q.

Concerning the Doonesbury population crisis, rather than a spinoff have you considered the obvious answer of simply killing off cast members? There are lots of interesting story possibilities; death in childbirth, from AIDS, in traffic accidents, in combat, from drug overdoses or simple old age. I have been reading Doonesbury for nearly forty years, but off and on. Has anyone in the story ever died?

Ward Horack | Characters | London, ENGLAND | June 04, 2013
A.

Yes, half a dozen by our count -- not enough to solve the alleged problem: Andy Lippincott, his employer Congresswoman Lacy Davenport, her husband Dick, their friend Alice P. Schwartzman, Mark Slackmeyer's father, Phil, and Mike's mom, Daisy, aka "The Widow Doonesbury." As it happens, two characters died in ways that you suggest, so let's pay homage by revisiting those. In 1986 Dick Davenport suffered a heart attack in his old age, and in 1990 Andy Lippincott died of AIDS.

Q.

I love to see Zonker and Zipper going back to the land to become "farmers." And I recall that Zonker had some great times in his "Thoreau period," and later with his horticultural buddies. Could we have another hit of some of that?

David Dalton | Characters | Saratoga, CA | May 02, 2013
A.

Zonker Harris's strong ties with the botanical world proved extremely productive during the early years at Walden Commune, and his conversational skills bloomed considerably thereafter. Unfortunately, his photosynthetic charges suffered when he left them in the care of Mike while serving as lieutenant governor of Samoa, as chronicled in this series.

Q.

Wait a minute. Zonker got busted, and he was on acid? That's a Flashback I'd like to have. Care to share?

Dean M. | Characters | Ben Lomond, CA | April 26, 2013
A.

Zonker may actually be hallucinating about having hallucinated, but he was surely in deep legal doo-doo. We are happy to re-experience his 1973 ordeal.

Q.

Interesting that Rick is so keen on Alex giving her grandmother a makeover. I seem to remember that the last time Joanie upgraded it blew his mind. Can we please revisit that moment?

Hannah B. | Characters | Minneapolis, MN | February 07, 2013
A.

With pleasure. Back in 1977, Joanie had just finished law school and moved to Washington, D.C. to work for Congresswoman Lacey Davenport. This time the helpful push to change is coming from her granddaughter, but back then it came from her much-older boss.