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By G.B. Trudeau

Created via the staff that introduced you The whole a long way Side and The whole Calvin and Hobbes, the large anthology 40 marks Doonesbury's40th anniversary by means of studying extensive the characters that experience given the strip such energy. This fourth quantity of the four-volume book variation of 40 covers the years 2000 to 2009 for the distinguished comic strip strip.

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Extra resources for 40. A Doonesbury Retrospective 2000 to 2010

Example text

Calvin and Hobbes had only two essential characters, and one of them was imaginary. By the late ’80s, Doonesbury had almost forty. The clutter became challenging for longtime readers, intimidating for latecomers—like opening a Russian novel in the middle. But the matrix of relationships at the heart of Doonesbury yielded endless narrative possibilities. I didn’t have to find a new twist on old themes as most legacy strips do—or rethread the needle every day like a gag cartoonist. I simply followed the characters into their quotidian lives, played out against a scrim of cultural and political context, and occasionally bumped them into that thicket of coincidence that only fictional characters must endure.

While it’s tempting to think of Zip and Jeff as dawg ’n’ dude, Los Dos Amigos, there are significant differences in their narratives. First, Jeff has actual ambitions, albeit way beyond his capabilities. Second, his attention span exceeds that of a hummingbird, a boast Zipper is not in a position to make. And last, Jeff actually graduates, much to the despair of his roomie, who had seen the warning signs (Jeff occasionally went to classes) but failed to act in time. Fortunately, Zipper does not resent Jeff’s diploma, worthless in any event (Walden is not accredited), and they remain tight as ticks.

It’s a variation of a familiar complaint. Whenever I create a character who’s less than admirable, I always run the danger of someone assuming I mean him to be categoric, a stand-in for the whole of whatever group he’s part of. But by that metric, I’m in contempt of all generations, races, tribes, faiths, and affiliation groups. To which sterling baby boomer do Zip and Jeff stand in contrast, exactly? Zonker? Mark? Mike? Which powerhouse of personal togetherness is the baseline here? While some of the earliest characters may indeed have begun their runs as stereotypes, it’s the accumulated peculiarities and contradictions that give them breath—and longevity.

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