I read the entire run of DOONESBURY to date over the course of one week in the early 1990s, after coming across this second oversized collection in my local used bookstore. I’d been too young to really start following the strip when it first debuted, and had never before been able to get into it. But in concentrated form, it was a masterpiece. I kept going out that week to hunt down any of the other collections (both large and small) that I could find.
DOONESBURY literally changed the face of the comics page, and redefined the self-imposed limitations of what a comic strip could be. It’s savvy, insightful, and not afraid to chew into the issues (and public figures) of the day. Beyond that, it’s a great continuity strip all by itself. You can read the strip daily just fine without knowing that Mike’s second wife Kim made her first appearance back in the 70s as the last refugee child out of Vietnam–but if you have the background to make the connections, you get an extra kick out of it. Trudeau lets his characters live and evolve–and not always to the good.
DOONESBURY is a tremendous body of work, and particularly potent in its collected form