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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!

 

Storyline

Q.

Duke's China gig coming to an end means you've skipped past the first of Rick Redfern's career humiliations, when he was forced to take a job writing for People in order to stay with Joanie on the West Coast. Can we please revisit his agony?

Ben Packer | Storyline | Salem, OR | September 05, 2014
A.

Certainly. We are happy to share "People Who Write for People" a strip set from 1977 that even manages to intersect with the Duke and Honey storyline. Read it, and imagine Rick weeping, HERE.

Q.

Great to see Jimmy T. in this week's Classics series. In recent weeks the strip has been re-visiting Ginny Slade's 1976 Congressional campaign. I'd love it if you could please revisit the storyline in which JT wrote and recorded a song to support Slade's candidacy. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, check out this YouTube video, which shows an actual record player spinning the real-world 45 of "Ginny's Song." According to the sleeve (shown on the video) it was produced by Steve Cropper and David Foster, and featured a bunch of kick-ass musicians (including Cropper, Foster, Jay Graydon, and Keth Moon) who recorded as The Walden West Rhythm Section. It was later included on Jimmy's "Greatest Hits" album, which came out a year before Jimmy made the cover of the real-life Rolling Stone. There have been a lot of moments where Doonesbury kind of spilled over into the real world, but I think "Ginny's Song" was probably one of the first. Thanks!

 

P.P. | Storyline | Lompoc, CA | August 29, 2014
A.

Not only are we happy to queue up the "Ginny's Song" storyline, but we'll lead into it with the benefit concert Jimmy threw for Virginia Slade as well. Rock on!

Q.

The wordless strip that ran on August 22nd was a true classic. As I recall, it was at the end of a multi-day slow pan, a piece of work that was absolutely beautiful although it contained no characters until the final reveal. In my humble opinion this series was a highpoint of toondom. Any chance we could see the whole thing?

R. | Storyline | Lexington, KY | August 22, 2014
A.

Of course. The August 22nd Classic strip originally appeared on November 13, 1976, and showed Joanie and Rick in bed together (at the time neither was married). Over 30 papers dropped it, including the Boston Globe, which was picketed by M.I.T. students with signs reading, "Joanie, we forgive you." The Bangor Daily News blocked out the final frame, replacing it with the weather forecast ("Fair, cold, highs in the 30s.") "When I first saw it," the editor of the Huntington Herald-Disptach told his readers, "I thought it was two guys in bed." The three-day wordless sequence is included in its entirety in our extended look back on a night (and a strip) to remember.

Q.

Okay, my tastes may seem a little weird, but as long as the strip is wallowing in the 70s, I would love it if you would please revisit the whole Energy Czar caper, which took place during the 1973-1974 oil crisis/embargo, and gave Mark a chance to revisit his glory days as an activist. It also involved the ancient and dying art of hitchhiking. Can do?

Jack | Storyline | Aptos, CA | July 23, 2014
A.

Can and shall. Your wish is our command. Read it HERE.

Q.

I can't help noticing that there was a certain air of foreshadowing in the strip back when Ray oversaw the handing over of Iraqi security concerns to the local military. With the announcement of US troops returning to take on certain levels of security in the country, could we please take a moment to return to that first day of Iraqi security (or lack thereof)? I seem to remember it was during the World Cup as well...

Schuyler | Storyline | Ames, IA | June 20, 2014
A.

The Ray Hightower sequence your excellent memory has referenced appeared in the summer of 2010, and was followed by a Mel-and-Roz-packing-up-the-helos series a year and a half later. You can read both HERE.

Q.

Speaking of Time magazine (in today's Daily Briefing), it looks like you are skipping past the storyline where Roland writes about the Walden communards and puts Zonk on the cover. How about revisiting that, with the memorable "Peyote and clam dip" line?

M. Dougals | Storyline | Ashland, OR | June 10, 2014
A.

An excellent idea. As it turned out, two years later the Doonesbury cast actually was on the cover of Time. The sequence about Roland's story also includes the line, "You guys are still hippies!" -- and it was only 1974. Time flies when you are having too much fun.

Q.

A friend of mine -- who doesn't usually read the strip and knows I'm a huge fan -- bizarrely took the September 8th Sunday as some kind of slam on the firefighters who are risking their lives out West. I told him it was just follow-through on the decades-old storyline about Zonker's dream to become a pot grower. Could you please revisit some of the backstory about Z's now-vaporized Colorado grow? I'd love to show my misguided pal that this is about the pot, not the firefighters. They were just a brave, hardworking crew that happened to be in the right place at the right time. Thanks in advance!

Jeremy | Storyline | Phoenix, AZ | September 12, 2013
A.

Indeed. Recent legal developments in California and Colorado have been promising for Mr. Harris, a longtime cannabis aficionado. His torched field in Colorado (whose state slogans include "Enter a higher state") was preceded by a test crop three years earlier in California (whose motto "Eureka! I have found it!" tags the biggest city in its billion-dollars-a-year Emerald Triangle grow zone). It's also worth noting that Colorado's official state song is "Colorado Rocky Mountain High." Enjoy these Flashbacks.

Q.

Clotheslines are a hot issue in Massachusetts these days, and it seems to me the strip had something to say on the subject a while ago. Can you refresh my memory, please?

Perry | Storyline | Boston, MA | July 30, 2013
A.

Certainly. A storyline so violently dramatic that it involves a brick being tossed through the window of Zonker's parents' house is well worth hanging out for a re-view. Enjoy.

Q.

I'm enjoying the current Walden reunion storyline, and liked seeing Zonk back in the puddle. But I'm surprised he's having trouble remembering what "the commune" was all about, because I remember him going on and on about it an an earlier reunion. Could we revisit that series please? I remember a stretch limo, so it must have been after Zonker won the lottery. Thanks!

Caleb J. | Storyline | Spokane, WA | May 16, 2013
A.

Quite. In the mid-80s, as Mike and J.J. prepared to move to Manhattan, the denizens of Walden gathered to ponder the fate of their beloved abode. The Sunday strip included in the series echoed events depicted in the 1983 Broadway show Doonesbury: A Musical Comedy, specifically the song "Just A House." Enjoy.

Q.

If I am not mistaken, Zonker has a bit of experience at striking. Didn't he assist Mark in organizing truckers back in the 70s?

David Huntington | Storyline | Katy, TX | April 02, 2013
A.

While hitchhiking in 1974, Mark Slackmeyer was picked up by trucker J.W. Snead, en route to a blockade to protest the then-outrageous gas price of 85 cents a gallon. Snead was happy to recruit the former campus radical as a confrontation consultant. Though Zonker's role was limited to that of postal liaison, the episode you recall is well worth revisiting. Enjoy.