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Garry Trudeau’s Favorite Doonesbury Strips

Photograph by Julian Dufort

Doonesbury turned 40 on October 26, a milestone Rolling Stone marks in its current issue with an interview between Garry Trudeau and the graphic designer Chip Kidd. We asked Trudeau to name a few of his favorites from among the 14,000 individual strips he's drawn during his run, and he came up with the following picks, along with his thoughts on what makes them stand out.

Joanie Beds Rick, 11/13/76

Doonesbury © (1976) G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

Joanie Beds Rick, 11/13/76

Trudeau: The denouement of a three-day sequence of wordless panels that pan from Joanie's bedroom across town to Rick's. Around 30 papers refused to run this strip. One editor informed his readers: 'I thought it was two guys in bed.' A group of MIT students picketed the Boston Globe with signs that read: 'We forgive you, Joanie.'

Duke Stares Down Death, 10/22/86

Doonesbury © (1986) G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

Duke Stares Down Death, 10/22/86

Trudeau: Duke's life fans out before his eyes when a fellow inmate in a Port-au-Prince jail attacks him with a Ninja butterfly knife. As the week progresses, the flashbacks break up into tiny memory shards, one of which lodges under the thumbnail of his tormentor, causing him to drop the knife. A little more surreal than usual, even for a Duke strip.

The Return to Reagan's Brain, Part 1, 3/25/87

Doonesbury © (1987) G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

The Return to Reagan’s Brain, Part 1, 3/25/87

Trudeau: Intrepid White House correspondent Roland Hedley returns to the scene of an earlier adventure exploring the inner reaches of Ronald Reagan's noggin.

The Return to Reagan's Brain, Part 2

Doonesbury © (1987) G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

The Return to Reagan’s Brain, Part 2

It doesn't go well…

The Return to Reagan's Brain, Part 3

Doonesbury © (1987) G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

The Return to Reagan’s Brain, Part 3

…Roland encounters "She-Mommy"…

The Return to Reagan's Brain, Part 4

Doonesbury © (1987) G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

The Return to Reagan’s Brain, Part 4

…His sherpas abandon him…

The Return to Reagan's Brain, Part 5

Doonesbury © (1987) G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

The Return to Reagan’s Brain, Part 5

?And [in the sequence's final strip] he's knocked unconscious when Reagan attempts to hold two opposing thoughts at the same time.

Waiting for Mario, 11/30/87

Doonesbury © (1987) G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

Waiting for Mario, 11/30/87

Trudeau: In a parody of the Beckett masterpiece, Zonk and Mike wait for New York's governor Mario Cuomo to declare his candidacy for president. It's a long week.

B.D. Loses a Leg in Iraq, 4/21/04

Doonesbury © (2004) G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.

B.D. Loses a Leg in Iraq, 4/21/04

Trudeau: During the first battle for Fallujah, B.D.'s Humvee is torn apart by an RPG, and he lays grievously wounded on the battlefield while teammate Ray desperately tries to keep him conscious. Longtime readers were as startled by the removal of his helmet as by the loss of limb. In 36 years, B.D. had never been seen without it.

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