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
''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.''
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.
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.
Trudeau, who won
a Pulitzer Prize in 1975, still draws the strip in
pencil and sends it to a man who inks it and another
assistant who adds color.
In recent years,
with his children grown, Trudeau said he's had more time
to do research. He's met with soldiers and created a
military blog called ''The Sandbox'' on his Web site
for their stories, collecting the best entries in a
new book. Trudeau said he decided that ''the one thing the
global war on terrorism doesn't have is its own literary
In an effort to
dramatize the seriousness of war, he had B.D., one of his
main characters, lose a leg while fighting in Iraq. But just
as shocking to readers was that the veteran character
was missing his signature helmet.
''I heard over
and over that that was what really hit people,'' Trudeau