Tuesday, August 24, 2010

18. And That’s My Final Offer! (1980)

This collection overlaps with the previous book and reprints 124 daily strips from:
June 18 1979 to July 7 1979
July 23 1979 to August 4 1979
August 27 1979 to December 29 1979
*August 6-26 were repeat weeks.
14 strips from these blocks are not included (see comment for list).

This book again juggles the order of the strips around, in order for the first three weeks of Duke’s latest misadventure can run with the rest of the saga. This time out, Jim Andrews hires Duke to go into Iran and make a payoff to an operative named “Dipstick” in order to keep the oil flowing during the chaos of the Islamic Revolution. Naturally, it is a disaster.

Duke’s caretaker Zeke Brenner is finally seen on-panel on June 25, and it is later established that he’s the fiance of the newest major addition to the cast: Joanie’s daughter J.J., who looks up her mother after she had split seven years previously. Joan Jr. begins her undergraduate career at Georgetown, rooming with Honey. After Zeke has Duke declared dead, Zonker, who’s found the White House quite unconcerned what might have happened to the former US Ambassador to China, has to fly out to Colorado to take care of his estate.

In national news, Rosemont Indiana is hit by a major media event as candidates for the 1980 election, and hundreds of reporters, descend on the town. Dr. Henry Kissinger releases an enormous book, and the Seventies come to a spectacular end with a Revival Party at Walden.

(As the 1970s end, so does this format for the blog... when I resume, I'll just be detailing the printed stories and not determining what was excised. Too much work! Bleah!)

17. A Tad Overweight, but Violet Eyes to Die For (1980)

This collection overlaps with the next book and reprints 124 daily strips from:
Jan 1 1979 to June 16 1979
July 9 1979 to July 21 1979
32 strips from the period are not included (see comment for list.)

As the 1970s draw to a close, international politics become more important to the strip than in recent years. Trudeau starts things off with the brilliant tactic of moving Honey to Dr. Kissinger’s class at Georgetown. Unfortunately, most of their headbutting plays out in the Sunday strips, but this book contains a few choice moments. In Southeast Asia, Viet Nam invades Cambodia (or is it Kampuchea?) and China invades them right back, keeping Ambassador Phred quite busy at the United Nations.

The book’s title comes from a week of strips tweaking John Warner, who began a three-decade career as US Senator from Virginia in January, and who was at the time married to Elizabeth Taylor, she of the “violet eyes to die for.” The book’s back cover suggests that Virginia Republicans were incensed by the mocking – neither Lacey nor her husband, who threatens to stay in the car, are much impressed by their new Senate colleague – but Trudeau is pretty even-handed doling out the harshness during this period. Warner doesn’t get it nearly as roughly as Ted Kennedy and the political “cult” in Massachusetts that Roland spotlights in an ABC News special, and California governor Jerry Brown really takes it on the chin for weeks. Carter’s Secretary of Symbolism, Duane Delacourt, returns to resign from the White House and move to California, sharing a flight with Zonker, to work with Brown’s “Mellow Mafia” and investigate – slash – announce, not a candidacy, but a context for his candidacy.

Duke’s time as the Redskins manager comes to an ignoble end. He briefly entertains a plan to murder the team’s owner in Miami, but flies home to Colorado instead. A whole week of this is cut, but we do learn that his wife has divorced him before the NRA recruits him to testify on behalf of gun owners before a Senate judiciary committee. Another week cut from the book has Ginny and Clyde trying to provide a little support for an unemployed friend.

Other stories for the other regulars include Jimmy Thudpucker retiring from the music industry in order to return to school, and Boopsie posing for Playboy’s “Girls of the Ivy League” feature, much to the overprotective Zonker’s horror. Interestingly, the gang’s alma mater has still not formally been named as “Walden College” at this point. It’s likely that Trudeau was just quietly treating the place like Yale and simply not naming it at the time, but I suppose we can retcon Walden as being the smallest of the Ivy League schools in the Doonesbury universe.