Garry Trudeau announces extended hiatus for ‘Doonesbury'

Garry Trudeau smiles as he enters a classroom to speak to students at the Center for Comic Studies in White River Junction, Vt. in 2007. (Toby Talbot, AP Photo)

What do you want first: the bad news or the worse news?

OK, the bad news: “Doonesbury” is going on hiatus (again). The worse news: The sabbatical is entirely open-ended.

“I’ve done the strip for 43 years — 45 if you include the college edition [at Yale] — and I’m ready for an extended break,” creator Garry Trudeau tells Comic Riffs, as he delves into a second season of his recently renewed Amazon Studios political show, “Alpha House.” Trudeau also notes: “A hiatus comes with uncertainty, of course. I can’t assume I’ll be welcomed back a year or two from now.”

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So, how to get inventive during the long break? Rather than run his usual “Flashbacks,” or recent reruns, Trudeau and his editors have decided to mine archival materials for “Classic Doonesbury,” going back to the beginning and highlighting favorite strips throughout the years.

“In selecting the strips for this retrospective journey, we’re going deep, literally back to Day One,” Trudeau said in a statement about his Pulitzer Prize-winning strip, which launched in 1970. “Revisiting four weeks of strips from every year of syndication, I hope to hit many ‘Doonesbury’ high points, focusing on how the characters (over 75 of them) got involved with one another. Since their lives have always been bound up in the events of the day, it should be a kind of deja vu for my peers, and maybe a ‘What were you people thinking?’ for newer readers. I hope all of them will enjoy the trip.”

A small comfort: Fresh “Doonesbury” strips will still run on Sundays.