Almost 100 readers have called or written to complain that "Doonesbury" seems to have been yanked from the comics pages. The strip is, in fact, gone, but only temporarily while Garry Trudeau takes some time off. Editors tried to alert readers with a box in Monday's Calendar section next to the comics headlined "Comics sampling." On Tuesday the headline was changed to "Trudeau vacation." Both days the box explained that the artist was taking time off, and The Times would fill that space by trying out new strips until mid-June. Sherry Stern, the editor who oversees the comics, explains in this message:
A few weeks ago newspapers received a note from "Doonesbury's" syndicate that Garry Trudeau would be taking a three-month vacation.
“It has been 16 years since Garry Trudeau took an extended leave from 'Doonesbury,' " wrote Universal Press President Lee Salem. "He has requested another break, well deserved in my mind, to work on other projects, travel and regenerate a few creative cells.... He looks forward to resuming the strip before the two major political conventions and the general election."
Like Trudeau, I too look forward to "Doonesbury's" return, since we're well aware that the comic strip is popular with our readers.
While we had the option of running repeats of "Doonesbury," we thought this would be a nice opportunity to let readers sample some new comics.
We invite readers to send their comments to email@example.com.
And I want to assure everyone that "Doonesbury" will be back on our comics pages when Trudeau returns from his break.
Deputy Features Editor