21 Comments

  1. That is the creepiest looking child I’ve seen in a long time. It looks like a manikin or worse. I’m thinking its real first words are “I’m Talking Tina, and I’m going to kill you.”

  2. Yeah, the older brothers haven’t gotten much screen time, since Trudeau insists on maintaining a 1:1 time flow while (as you say) juggling all the characters from the dailies while only doing a weekly. Alex is indeed the redheaded mom. (Joanie was a dissatisfied housewife in 1972, she’s gotta be pushing 80 now.)

  3. There was a stretch of several years where some characters didn’t age while some others did. Mike and the others were undergraduates when J.J. Caucus was a child, and were still undergraduates when she was college age herself.

    It was after his famous sabbatical that Trudeau began aging everybody at roughly the same rate, but it still seems to be that slowed-down comic strip aging (a bit faster than Luann, but still slow).

    Trying to nail comic character ages is an exercise in futility — even Gasoline Alley has the two junkmen who haven’t aged since the 1960s. And in Peanuts, Schroder was introduced as a pre-speech toddler and now appears to be the same age as Charlie Brown and Lucy; and none of the gang grew any older between the birth of Sally Brown and her reaching school age. And over in Prince Valiant, Val and Aleta are incredibly fit and sexy despite children who are edging towards middle age.

  4. Alex and Leo had twins shortly before Trudeau went to Sunday only (ostensibly so he could work on producing Alpha House. A few months ago, he did a Sunday joke about how we haven’t seen Alex and the kids and dropped in the new baby, somewhat to her surprise if I remember correctly.

    What this strip most reminded me of was the kid’s step-grandmother Kim. Her first words were either “Hold the pipple, hold the lettuce” or “Let us neither waffle nor mince.” I can’t remember which came first.

  5. “And in Peanuts, Schroder was introduced as a pre-speech toddler and now appears to be the same age as Charlie Brown and Lucy; and none of the gang grew any older between the birth of Sally Brown and her reaching school age.”

    Linus went from nothing to being as old as the rest of the gang. Alas, poor Rerun can’t catch up, he stays younger than the rest of the kids.

  6. @Downpuppy-

    Kim the infant was a very funny character within some very funny strips. Kim married to Mike, on the other hand, always struck me as very creepy as she was at least twenty years younger then Mike when they first met but now seems to have aged up to nearly Mike’s age (which seems to be frozen around late middle-age.)

    To paraphrase a Star Trek quote- Comic Strip aging, it all gives me a headache.

  7. There was a Sunday Doonesbury flashback some years ago that depicted Mike, BD, and Zonker as undergraduates in 1929. I envisioned Trudeau cackling to himself “fit THIS into your chronology!”

  8. DOONESBURY sometimes breaks the fourth wall (notably in their “answering the mail from the mailroom” gags that they tend to do once or twice a year), so the age/aging problem doesn’t bother me as much as it does in some strips where characters don’t “know” in some sense they’re just ink lines on paper. (BLONDIE; DICK TRACY; etc.)

    “Repeat to yourself, it’s just a show, I should really just relax. . .”

  9. It’s my recollection that we never saw Kim between her appearance as an infant and when she was an adult in an oddly age-inapptopriate relationship with Mike.

  10. If you change your major often enough, you can stay an undergraduate for quite awhile,

  11. “It’s my recollection that we never saw Kim between her appearance as an infant and when she was an adult in an oddly age-inapptopriate relationship with Mike.’

    J.J. first appeared as a whiny bratty ten year old at Joanie’s divorce hearing. The aging time warp was handled in a bizarre worst of all worlds way in that in the hiatus everyone started aging from the last time they appeared but the time they spent in the time-warp *and* the time the spent before the time warp in Yale local strip was perfectly canonical.

    Which I found frustrating in that Mike and classmates ended up being *exactly* my age but with absolute memories of 60s protests and things that I was way too young for. That’s simply how it was. They were born in 1950 or so. The entered college in 1967 when they were 18 or so, and they graduated 17 years later in 1983 when they were 21 or so. And now they are in their late 50s.

  12. The thing with Kim is, she explicitly says at one point that she has a thing for older white authority figures. Trudeau hung a lampshade on the age difference.

  13. Trudeau is older than me and was publishing his comics while I was still in college. (I picked up an older Yale yearbook with his work in it at the yearbook publishing company in Dallas TX in 1970 when we were down there proof reading the yearbook we did for the college I went to.) I am in my mid 60s, so he – and his original characters – should be in their early or mid 70s.

  14. There was a stretch where Kim was a teen. That was back when overachieving Asian students stirred up talk about reverse affirmative action to keep “American” kids from being crowded out of college.

    Meanwhile, “The Phantom” is supposed to be a dynasty of heroes pretending to be one immortal Ghost Who Walks — but the specific “Mr. Walker” introduced in the 1930s hasn’t aged (neither has his wife Diana, who appeared in the very first strips). But their children have been allowed to grow almost to adulthood, and they occasionally tease that the changing of the guard will happen. One weird strip had Heloise briefly fantasizing taking over the title, but realizing a buxom female figure in the tights would raise questions. The movie serial of the strip opened with a Phantom being killed, requiring his son — “Mr. Walker” — to abandon college and come home to take on the mask.

  15. Even Trudeau couldn’t always keep his characters straight. There was one strip, back when Mike’s daughter Alex was still in college and still single, when Jeff Redfern, on Zipper’s suggestion, considered hitting on Alex. Trudeau had obviously forgotten that Alex was Jeff’s niece. . . .(Alex is the daughter of Mike and his first wife, J.J.; J.J. being the daughter of Joannie Caucus by her first husband, Clint. Jeff is the son of Joannie Caucus by her second and current husband, Rick Redfern.)

    (And Zipper is Zonker’s nephew or something, but you don’t need to know that. Oh, and “Mike” is Mike Doonesbury. I think that’s everything.)

    And I am Marie of Roumania.

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