Recent 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: Is there a new Doonesbury book coming out soon? It seems about time for our annual fix, but there's been no mention of it on the DTH site.
-- Laura Lynch, Lawrenceville, NJ | Out There | October 17, 2003
A:Our silence on the subject is an egregious oversight which we hasten to correct. This fall's annual Doonesbury collection, Got War? is indeed in the house. The warehouse, that is. And copies have probably arrived by now in your local bookshop. Members of the Quality Paperback Book Club will have a chance to order by snailmail, as Got War? and Peace Out, Dawg! are joint main selections of the Quality Paperback Book Club.
Q: I'm hearing a lot about the new HBO TV show K Street and about how it mixes real actors with people in the political world playing themselves. Didn't GBT do this already? I seem to recall the 1988 campaign had Michael Murphy on the trail. I'm not hallucinating again, am I?
-- Patty, Pacific Palisades, CA | Out There | October 27, 2003
A:We can't speak to the hallucination question, but it sounds like you definitely saw Tanner '88. Written by Trudeau, directed by Robert Altman, starring Michael Murphy and Pamela Reed, with appearances by Bob Dole, Gary Hart, Bruce Babbit and others, this earlier HBO series has been acknowledged as a source of inspiration by K Street creator Steven Soderbergh. Tanner '88 won a special jury prize at Cannes, and is occasionally available in VHS format on eBay.
Q: Could you please make the TOTAL RECALL coupon (to recall Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger) from the 9-28-03 Sunday strip available on your site in a larger, printable format? I'd like to mail one in -- and also forward it on to my friends.
-- W.H., LA, CA | Storyline | December 04, 2003
A:The DTH&WP is pleased and proud to do its part to help keep California's new tradition of way-participatory democracy alive by providing this supersized copy of THE COUPON in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
Q: Some years ago I had the pleasure of seeing a display of original Doonesbury comic strips. I've regretted to this day that I was too poor at the time to buy one. I've been saving up for one ever since and am ready to buy one now. Are the originals still available? If so, how does one select and order one? Thanks!
-- Tom S., Nashville, TN

I'd like to give my husband an original Doonesbury strip for Christmas. Is this possible? How do I make it happen?
-- "A.G.", location withheld for obvious reasons

January 07, 2004
A:GBT has been using originals for fundraising purposes for some time, and would be happy to send you one in exchange for a check made out to "Coalition for the Homeless" for $1,000 (daily) or $1,750 (Sunday). The older strips are now on deposit with the Beinecke Library at Yale, but the past five years or so are available. If this appeals to you, please feel free to write to us at and indicate the strip or strips you are interested in. We'll check the archive for availability and get back to you -- quickly, if Christmas-gifting is your goal.
Q: I love daily desk calendars but really want one with Doonesbury cartoons for 2004. Is it out there somewhere?
-- Will G., South Bend, IN | January 14, 2004
A:The Doonesbury Desk Diary enjoyed a pretty good run back in the late 20th century -- 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991 to be exact -- and served as the inspiration for our current SayWhat? feature, but there are no plans to revive the item. Sorry!
Q: According to Zonker in the 1-13-04 "mail silo" strip, Trudeau has killed off four characters so far. Who were they?
-- David B., Oak Hill, WV | Characters | January 26, 2004
A:Avid birder Dick Davenport passed away in 1986 during a moment of triumph, having finally spotted the rare Bachman's Warbler. Andy Lippincott died of AIDS in 1990 while fulfilling his dream of hearing "Pet Sounds" on CD. Succumbing to Alzheimer's, Congresswoman Lacey Davenport was escorted Heavenward by her dear departed in 1998. In the wake of Phil Slackmeyer's offstage demise in 2002, son Mark had difficulty rounding up mourners for the funeral.
Q: I read that Trudeau did some strips on John Kerry and Vietnam back in the early days. Could you please post them on the site, to give those of us who weren't around at the time a look?
-- Jane E., Portland, OR | Characters | February 03, 2004
A:It is our pleasure to help candidate Kerry flesh out his campaign bio. The future-senator spoke at Walden College on behalf of Vietnam Veterans Against the War in a three-day series that ran on October 21, 1971, October 22, 1971 and October 23, 1971.
Q: I heard that the TV series Trudeau and Robert Altman did about the 1988 presidential election is coming back. True?
-- Owen V., Portland, OR | Out There | February 20, 2004
A:Starting Tuesday, February 3, the Sundance Channel will be re-broadcasting an updated edition of Tanner '88: The Dark Horse, written by GBT and directed by Robert Altman. This innovative weekly series tracking the fictional presidential campaign of Jack Tanner was filmed in real time against the backdrop of the 1988 primaries. The show starred Michael Murphy, Pamela Reed, Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), and featured interactions with real-life candidates Bob Dole, Gary Hart, Pat Robertson, Bruce Babbit and others. Originally aired on HBO, Tanner '88 won a special jury prize at Cannes for best TV series.

For the Sundance Channel broadcast, each of the 11 episodes will be introduced by recently-filmed interviews with the characters, who look back on their experiences in campaign '88 from the vantage point of campaign '04. You can read more about Tanner '88 in this Boston Globe article, or this CNN piece.

This week?s schedule: Tuesday, 9 pm; Friday 11:30 pm; Sunday 5:30 pm.

Q: I love the Heart of Darkness storyline, but we younger readers would appreciate some background to get a better sense of what B.D. has been asked to do (eliminate Duke). How do these two know one another? Thanks!
-- P.N., La Jolla, CA | March 02, 2004
A:Many strands of plot bind Duke and the denizens of Walden Commune, which included both B.D. and Zonker, Duke's nephew. Through this connection B.D. was aware of Duke's innumerable misadventures -- such as his appointment as general manager of the Washington Redskins , or the time Zonker was notified by mail that Duke's caretaker Zeke had had him declared legally dead. Mike's future wife J.J. roomed at Georgetown with Honey Huan (Duke's former translator and future love-slave) and dated Zeke when he published Duke: Portrait of a Mentor. In 1983's Doonesbury: A Musical, Walden Commune disbanded, but not before B.D. and Boopsie paired off for good, Mike and J.J. got engaged, and Duke was attacked by bats in the kitchen. So many storylines, so little time...
Q: What's up with this $10,000 reward thing?
-- A. Mitchell, Amenia, NY | Storyline | March 09, 2004
A:For the past several weeks, trolling-for-trash journalists have made repeated forays into the continuing mystery of George W. Bush's Air National Guard service (to catch up on developments, read Salon's "Bad news doesn't get better with age", The Decatur Daily's "Former Dannelly worker: Bush not AWOL", The Nation's "W's AWOL Spin Update!", and -- of particular interest -- The Memphis Flyer's "On Guard -- Or Awol?"). With just eight months left in the presidential campaign, GBT is hoping to speed the disclosure process along by offering a $10,000 reward to coax a witness to step forward and confirm President Bush's story, thereby putting the whole sordid mess behind us. For details, go to our special Bush's Guard Service page. We also encourage you to take a moment to vote in our current Straw Poll on the subject.