DOONESBURY: Drawing and Quartering for Fun and Profit

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So did Jim Andrews, 39, who, with his partner John McMeel, was about to launch the Universal Press Syndicate. With considerable effort, Andrews talked the recent graduate into going national. Then 22, Trudeau signed a twelve-year syndication contract—which continues to give him 50% of Doonesbury royalties, the industry norm. In the fall of 1970, Trudeau's now familiar gang first surfaced in 28 papers. Andrews thought the title Bull Tales might offend some readers, so it was changed to Doonesbury, an amalgam of two words: doone, an old prep-school term for someone who is out to lunch, and Pillsbury, after Trudeau's roommate Charles Pillsbury, a flour-fortune heir now active in liberal Democratic politics in Connecticut.

Trudeau also erased the Y on B.D.'s helmet, clothed all the naked girls, deleted expletives, and completely redrew nearly an entire year's worth of strips to lend them a universal appeal. He enrolled in the Yale graduate School of Art, studying by day and sweating over the drawing board at night. "I nearly killed myself doing both," he recalls. Along the way, Michael J. Doonesbury started tutoring in the ghetto, B.D. went to Viet Nam and met Phred the Terrorist, and Mark Slackmeyer used his experience as a campus radical to organize a truckers' strike during the energy crisis.

Mark, like many of Trudeau's regular characters, is a composite of several flesh-and-blood figures, including former Yale Activist Mark Zanger, now a staff writer for Boston's Real Paper. The Reverend Sloan is an amalgam of former Yale Chaplain William Sloane Coffin Jr. and a onetime roommate who became a minister and lawyer. Trudeau created Nichole, his first strong female character, while he was seeing Annie Hurlbut, a Yalie who later moved on to study anthropology at the University of Illinois—but not before turning Trudeau on to feminism. Last summer Garry donated close to 125 Doonesbury originals to raise funds for the National Women's Political Caucus. His greatest contribution remains Joanie Caucus, whose commitment to feminism resembles that of Mary Pearl, who is married to Charles Pillsbury. Joanie now has an identity that transcends the strip. She entered Berkeley law school after students at the university sent Trudeau an application in her name. "I've received so much mail addressed to Joanie," complains her inventor, "that my mother thinks I'm living with her."

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