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03/03/2014

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Jason T.

The "Doonesbury" thing ... wow.

I'm actually kind of ... hurt? Irritated? Upset? He's got several unresolved story lines right now. So he's just abandoning them in mid-story?

On the one hand, an author doesn't really owe his or her audience anything. They're not performing monkeys, trained for our amusement. On the other hand, someone who works in this particular medium asks readers to make a leap of faith, and follow them, day after day, waiting for the story to emerge, slowly.

To simply ... stop ... without warning seems a little bit like breaking faith with the readers, and it also seems like a stretch to think that he's going to be able to just pick up in a year or two, if he feels so inclined.

I'm disappointed, I guess.

Mary in Ohio

I can't help but remember all the years Trudeau ranted about Charles Schulz and all his merchandising, etc etc. Then Sparky (who had never had an assistant and had often said on the record that no one else would ever draw Peanuts) and Peanuts became a "zombie strip." Tsk tsk. Bad form, old chap!

(PS - Amazon promos have indicated a "new" series of Peanuts reissues aimed at middle graders (?) is the prequel to a new Peanuts feature film coming out in 2015.)

Mike Peterson

I'm kind of staying on the sidelines, because the only thing worse than someone quitting when it's time is someone continuing after it was time. I think, if nothing else, Trudeau has established himself as an auteur to the point where it's a personal decision and I won't second guess it.

If I thought a lot of papers would continue carrying the reruns, I'd be more worried about it on that level, but I think that space will open up for other cartoonists.

And, goo'ness gracious, I don't see how on earth he'd tie up everything. Even if he staged some huge wedding or anniversary or Walden shutting down, it wouldn't bring his entire cast together. Best to just yank off the Band-Aid and have done with it.

Jason T.

You make an excellent point, Deacon. Russian novels have fewer characters than a week of "Doonesbury."

But I'm reminded of how Berke Breathed ended "Bloom County" in the middle of several storylines. He took (I can't remember now) a couple of weeks to say "goodbye" to the main characters. It felt like a proper ending.

This is just ... I don't know. Like going to see a movie, and having the projectionist turn it off before the last reel. You sit there as the lights come up and say, "What the heck just happened?"

(That wasn't my first choice of metaphor, but this is a family blog.)

Mary in Ohio

So far the daily paper I get IS running the old Doonesbury strips. Which is pretty ironic, as the Beacon Journal periodically moved them to the editorial pages, refused to run them, etc. etc. Granted, this is only day 2 but I would have thought the feature editors would have had some warning.

Mike Peterson

I wouldn't count on that. I also wouldn't count on the features editor noticing if they were given a head's up, but the newsroom often never touches strips and such notice would have dumped into the backshop, where it could easily have disappeared.

Back in the days when strips came hardcopy and were scanned in, I happened to be walking through prepress when I saw a strip we didn't carry in the in-tray. Turned out a strip had ended and the syndicate was helpfully sending us a new strip without so much as a by-your-leave. Fortunately, we had enough lead time that I was able to swap in something we actually wanted before the ax had fallen on the old one.

Another time, we did get a letter telling us a strip was ending. Since I knew the artist and suspected the strip was not ending, I got in touch and he told me, no, the strip was not "ending" at all: He was just switching syndicates.

Play nice, children.

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