The metastrip

Today’s Doonesbury is a metastrip, a cartoon about cartoons:


On the number of characters in Doonesbury:

Doonesbury has a large group of recurring characters, with 24 currently listed at the strip’s website. There, it notes that “readers new to Doonesbury sometimes experience a temporary bout of character shock,” as the sheer number of characters—and the historical connections among them—can be overwhelming. (link)

The main characters in this strip are two of the original cast: the ex-hippie Zonker Harris and the title character, Mike Doonesbury.

On the strip’s portmanteau name:

The name “Doonesbury” is a combination of the word doone (prep school slang for someone who is clueless, inattentive, or careless [not in the OED or slang dictionaries]) and the surname of Charles Pillsbury, Trudeau’s roommate at Yale University. (link)

2 Responses to “The metastrip”

  1. Ben Zimmer Says:

    I’m not sure when the Doonesbury characters became self-aware (they break the fourth wall pretty frequently in the Sunday strips), but I find the gimmick a bit tiresome. I suppose it works better for “Zippy,” but really, it’s all been downhill for metacomics since “Krazy Kat.”

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Robert Coren on Google+:

    I never knew about the origin of the strip’s name (I don’t think I’d ever heard the term “doone” — maybe it’s Yale-specific?).

    Wikipedia says it’s prep-school slang — which in this case would surely be St. Paul’s School in Concord NH, where Trudeau went to school.

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