#SAD! – Doonesbury in the Time of Trump


By Gary Trudeau (Andres/McMeel)
ISBN: 978-1-4494-9864-7 (HB)

The thing about some buttheads when they’re down, is that the very worst of them are just so darned appealing if you feel like carrying on kicking…

Buh-bye, Donnie. Happy New Year.

As you hopefully saw yesterday, the most recent former POTUS has experienced a lengthy adversarial relationship with certain satirists and cartoonists over the years.

Doonesbury proceeds in real time and incorporates a vast, broad cast of regulars who have aged over the decades and through withering lampoonery as the strip references news, trends and causes célèbre of the moment. This had made cartoonist Trudeau a handsome raft of enemies through enlisting many real-world oafs and bugbears amongst his long-lived itinerary of returning characters. Generally, these flesh-&-blood interlopers are represented by an icon – such as a waffle for Bill Clinton, a lit bomb for Newt Gingrich or a Stetson (later a Roman helmet) for George W. Bush – but that’s not always the case.

One of the most vocal – if not necessarily intelligible – targets over the years has been Donald J. Trump – usually depicted as a decadent, fat and latterly smug and confused old white guy. This superb full-colour collection gathers some of the very best moments of jocularity covering the moments he actually began running for President, up until about two years into accidentally winning it…

It all begins with a Preface from Trudeau laying out the rules of satire as applied to the Orange in Chief before dividing into themed chapters starting with ‘The Gathering Storm’ in 2015 as the race for the Whitehouse commences, concentrating on minor peccadilloes such as blatant racism and intellectual (in)capacity, and offering a ground-floor “in” for TRUMP the Game

The plot sickens in ‘American Carnage’ as planet Earth learns the true force of twitter-storms and we all discover the value of facts, after which the cartoon range finder focuses on the ‘Team of Deplorables’ and encounters increasingly ‘Stormy Weather’ to bring this fabulously biting history to a close.

And remember, much of the baffling blather in these world balloons still originated with the big orange blowhard himself…

Hilarious, alarming, seditiously informative and gut-bustingly outrageous, #SAD! is another devastating tool of political instruction and character assessment any student of incipient Armageddon can enjoy, because it has loads and loads of really well rendered, easily comprehensible pictures in it.

As the countdown to a new old America goes on diminishing, feel free to buy this book as a warning for 2024. It’s the only real way to make your voice heard in a modern plutocratic democracy…
© 2018 G. B. Trudeau. All rights reserved.