Garry Trudeau, the New York City-born, Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist behind Doonesbury, came out of his drawing room in a rare public appearance to talk about gay issues being less scandalous than they used to be. No kidding.
Garry Trudeau says topics in his “Doonesbury” comic strip that were at first shocking to some readers aren’t so anymore, such as one character’s revelation 30 years ago that he was gay.
“Now I can pretty much write about gay issues and not hear from anyone,” Trudeau told students at the Center for Cartoon Studies on Monday. “Certainly popular culture has a role to play in destigmatizing.”
The 59-year-old cartoonist talked about his work process and the challenges he’s faced over his nearly 40-year career.
“I find it really hard,” he said of his work. “It’s no less hard than when I started.”
Trudeau said his syndicated political satire, which has 30 ongoing characters, has been pulled from newspapers over the years because of its content and political themes.
But Trudeau doesn’t see it as censorship. “I’ve been careful not to call it that … I call it editing.”
He said a newspaper in Maine “got so freaked out” about a strip that showed a man and woman in bed together in the ’70s that they replaced it with the weather report. Another paper yanked the whole strip for a week.
“That always backfires for them,” he said.