One of Duke’s first official acts as U.S. ambassador to China was to participate in an exchange of toasts with the man who would eventually replace Mao Zedong as China’s paramount leader: Deng Xiaoping. Garry Trudeau, showing a level of political prescience that he would probably be the first to deny, focused much of his … Continue reading “There Is Great Disorder Under Heaven, and the Situation Is Excellent.” The Gonzo Chronicles, Part Five: Duke and Deng.
Possibly my favorite Doonesbury panel. 17 July 1971. The French intellectual André Malraux enjoyed what was probably his sole mention in American newspaper comics in the July 17, 1971 Doonesbury strip. The strip is part of an arc in which Mark Slackmeyer, the ultimate bourgeois revolutionary, tries to burnish his working-class credentials by working at … Continue reading “An Especially Tricky People”: Duke Goes to China. (The Gonzo Chronicles, Part Four)
It’s not often that a comics panel will make me put a book down to catch my breath. Our Cancer Year, a 1994 comics memoir by Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner and Frank Stack, chronicles Pekar and Brabner’s lives as Pekar, a legend in the history of underground and independent comics, was being treated for lymphoma. … Continue reading “A Story about a Year Someone Was Sick”: Two Comics about Cancer.
....and we’re back. This blog was on hiatus because I was busy having cancer. Things are looking much better now, and I will be updating the site on a regular basis with my regular mix of Doonesbury history and essays about other comics that grab my attention. Moving forward, I’ll be looking at Duke’s tenure … Continue reading “Launch Operation Frequent Manhood!”: Duke and the Vietnam Syndrome. (The Gonzo Chronicles, Part Three)
There have been, by my reckoning, five significant Doonesbury characters who have died (not counting Duke, who has “died” twice, once when he was mistakenly declared dead after being taken hostage in Iran in 1979, and once when he spent some time as a zombie in the employ of Haitian strongman Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier). … Continue reading “Well, Great. A Massive Coronary”: Death and Dying in Doonesbury
The most popular post I have written for this project – by far – addresses how Garry Trudeau updated his famous Watergate-era “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!” strip to comment on the parallels between Richard Nixon’s corruption and that of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Every revelation of Donald Trump’s wrongdoing, from Robert Mueller’s inability … Continue reading “Even Richard Nixon Has Got Soul”: Comparing Watergate and the Trump Impeachment in Doonesbury
In my introduction to this series of posts about Uncle Duke, I argued that Garry Trudeau’s caricature of Hunter S. Thompson revealed the “excess, racism, greed, self-interest, and ground ethos of amorality” that defined much of American culture as the nation emerged from the failed revolutions of the 1960s.In these next two posts, I’m going … Continue reading “I Bring You Greetings from President McKinley”: Duke in American Samoa. (The Gonzo Chronicles, Part Two)
My last three Doonesbury-related posts examined Garry Trudeau’s chronicle of the legal, economic and social changes surrounding marijuana in the United States over the last fifty years, mostly told through the experiences of veteran stoner Zonker Harris. In the 1970s, Zonker faced the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence over a trumped-up possession charge; in … Continue reading How Do You Smoke A Weed?: A Review of a Comics Guide to a Responsible High.
(This is the third of a three-part series on marijuana in Doonesbury. Part One, which includes a review of Box Brown’s Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America focuses mostly on marijuana prohibition; Part Two looks at medical marijuana in the era of the AIDS epidemic.) Zonker Harris pointed out a huge irony on the … Continue reading The American Dream in Action: Zonker and the Business of Legal Weed
In my last post, I looked at how Garry Trudeau wrote about marijuana in the 1970s and reviewed Box Brown’s comics history of marijuana prohibition, ending with Brown’s chronicle of the gradual legalization of cannabis in some American states as activists promoting the medical benefits of cannabis used the courts to undermine the state’s attempts … Continue reading Marijuana in Doonesbury, Part II: Medical Cannabis, AIDS and the Law