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A different kind of Doonesbury anthology.
on June 29, 2005
A warning to those of you who, like me, have a Doonesbury book collection--this is NOT the "next" Doonesbury anthology. In fact, about half the book consists of strips already collected in the previous Doonesbury release, "Talk to the Hand!". The other half of the book contains strips that have not yet been anthologized, but probably will be in the next collection.
Instead, "The Long Road Home" is a departure from previous Doonesbury releases: a collection of strips of just one storyline. In this case, it is the frankly astounding story of B.D.'s devastating injury in Iraq, in which he loses his left leg in an RPG attack.
When the storyline began April 19, 2004, readers of the strip were first frightened that B.D. had actually been killed. On Wednesday, April 21, the strip revealed that, in fact, the character was missing a leg. Also in that particular strip, the author decided to remove B.D.'s helmet, which the character had sporting (in one form or another) since the strip's inception in 1968.
After that third strip in the storyline, the story of B.D.'s injury and recovery is told with the earnestness and dry humor that has been characteristic of Doonesbury over the decades. Take, for example, when B.D. calls his wife to tell her of his injury; "Well, the good news is I'm finally down to my ideal weight...."
It seems extremely unusual for a strip like Doonesbury to release an anothology of just one of its characters, but then again, this is an unusual storyline. As a Doonesbury fan, I have mixed feelings about this book. As a completist, I find it doesn't really have a place in my Doonesbury library, since it doesn't follow all the characters and is out of sequence with the other anthologies. In fact, I already own "Talk To The Hand!," which, as mentioned above, contains about half the content of this book. As a stand-alone work, it's interesting and engaging, but it loses some power for me by not presenting the story in the context of contemporaneous events involving the other Doonesbury characters, as a true anthology might.
In all, I agree with the decision to publish "The Long Road Home," but I plan to wait for the next "true" anthology rather than purchase this book.