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Cartoonist draws on politics


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By Derrick Naylor



As a part of the IU College of Arts and Science’s Themester 2011: “Making War, Making Peace,” famed cartoon artist Garry Trudeau lectured to an audience at the Indiana Memorial Union on Monday.

Trudeau is known for creating the political comic strip “Doonesbury,” which now appears in more than 1,400 Sunday newspapers worldwide. The strip has been running for 41 years.

“The strip has taken on almost every political issue the world has seen,” said Larry Singell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “If it was a political issue, Trudeau was able to make us think about it.”

The topic of the lecture was “Doonesbury in Time of War,” which Singell said he saw as fitting for the occasion.

“The comic strip has rarely existed outside of war, be it political, social or cultural,” he said.

Trudeau took the audience through Doonesbury’s history, noting the changes it went through during the Gulf War, Vietnam War and even the Invasion of Grenada, which Trudeau called “a kind of Special Olympics for the military.”

“It took 7,000 U.S. troops nearly three days to overpower 607 Cubans, less than 15 of which were actual soldiers,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau was the first comic strip artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Though he continues to write and pencil the strip, he noted how drastically the times have changed since his youth.

“My son can’t believe his father still works for print,” Trudeau said. “He actually doesn’t know anyone who still reads newspapers.”

Trudeau also showed a video of a musical military spoof he was involved with. He explained his feelings about the experience.

“Unlike print, song lyrics can cause an emotional response through the power of the emotional music behind them,” he said. “It was a fun experience.

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