As a kid, I was a well-rounded geek, with obsessions ranging from the de rigueur (Star Wars
) to the unheard of among my 12-year-old peers, Doonesbury
. From the time I found a hardcover copy of The Doonesbury Chronicles
at the library, I adored Gary Trudeau’s ensemble: Mike, the would-be womanizer; Zonker, the stoner; radical and DJ Mark; feminist Nicole; perpetually irritated jock B.D., who wore his football helmet in Vietnam. Much of the zeitgeist-related humor went over my head, but there was enough subversive goof-ballery (Zonker smoking pot in B.D.’s huddles, the extended tour of Ronald Reagan’s brain) to make me want to understand. (My news-junkie father loved these opportunities to expound on how the world works.) Long gone are the days when the strip ranked among the top three sources of information for Washington insiders, as then-President Ford once quipped. But that’s due more to the disrespectful and damaging ways daily papers have treated all comic strips — especially the occasionally “offensive” Doonesbury
— than Trudeau’s skills in a notoriously difficult medium. The artist is famously shy — he’s rumored once to have hidden in a men’s room for three hours to avoid a reporter — so fans should not miss the opportunity to hear him speak. It starts at 7:30 p.m. at PlayhouseSquare
’s Ohio Theatre (1511 Euclid Ave., 216.241.6000). It’s part of the William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage Program
— Frank Lewis
Related: Obscure pop culture reference of the week.