Doonesbury turns 40 today

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Garry Trudeau’s Doonsbury strip. Here is the first strip:

The Guardian reports that Garry’s career was somewhat an accident:

The strip had come about almost by chance. Trudeau had been having a bit of fun as a third-year Yale student, dabbling with a sports cartoon called Bull Tales based on a real-life quarterback in the local team called Brian Dowling. Trudeau expected the strip to die at the end of that football season. But the cartoon was spotted by a book editor who thought he’d take a punt on it. Out of the blue, Trudeau, at the tender age of 21, was invited to turn the strip into a syndicated newspaper feature, an extraordinary privilege given the national exposure and the almost tenure-like terms it offered – with contracts lasting 20 years.

“I had given no consideration to a career in cartoons,” Trudeau says now. “I thought I was on track to become a graphic designer. So I asked for a one-year contract. My editors howled with laughter.”

Here’s NPR’s Morning Edition interview with Garry:

There are a couple of books due out. One notable one is from Brian Walker whose written a book entitled, “Doonesbury and the Art of G.B. Trudeau” that is due out next Tuesday. The book is marketed as “unprecedented and revealing new examination of Trudeau’s art” that looks at the evolution of Trudeau’s iconic style in the last four decades. Additionally it shows readers how Doonesbury is crafted each week, the book also looks at Trudeau’s magazine illustrations, animation drawings, posters, and product designs, as well as rare and previously unpublished works.

Both Brian and Garry will be at the Barnes and Noble in New Haven, CT next Wednesday for a book signing. Also there on the campus of Yale University, an exhibit entitled “Doonesbury in a Time of War” will be displayed through Dec. 17.

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