Garry Trudeau – who has been writing and drawing the popular political strip "Doonesbury" for nearly 40 years – was a big hit with the crowd of about 250 people in White River Junction, Vt. Monday night. The crowd contained a sampling of Vermont’s liberal political establishment, including Matt Dunne and former Gov. Madeleine Kunin.
The biggest laughs of the night came at President George Bush’s expense, as expected, but Trudeau also went over former President Bill Clinton and former Vice-President Al Gore. And as the cartoonist spoke of meeting with wounded soldiers for his recent storylines involving one of his own characters losing a leg in the Iraq War, I realized that this was a lecture that probably could have been enjoyed by people of most political striples.
Doonesbury made headlines here in Vermont earlier this year when Trudeau sent one of his journalist characters to the state to interview residents about our town meeting resolutions urging the impeachment of Bush. But that topic – aside from a quick mention by Kunin in her introductions – didn’t come up.
Trudeau – who was lively, funny, articulate and moving – made his rare public appearance as a benefit for the Center for Cartoon Studies, the three-year-old college dedicated to the craft of comics. The auction for a piece of his original art ended today, I believe. I wonder how much it finally went for.