Launched in 1970, Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury is one of the longest running comic strips of all time. But when you're working on anything on a daily basis for 43 years, even something you love, you probably need a break every now and then to try something new. So perhaps it shouldn't come as a shock that Trudeau has announced he'll be taking a leave of absence from Doonesbury to focus on Alpha House, the John Goodman-led television show he created that was just picked up for a second season.

This isn't Trudeau's first time stepping away from the strip for an extended period, but at this stage of his career, it's not much of a stretch to wonder whether or not he'll come back.

Trudeau's first Doonesbury hiatus came in 1983. But that was 30 years ago, and Trudeau, now 65 years old, was obviously a younger man. And while Alpha House is not his first television work -- he previously teamed up with director Robert Altman for the HBO miniseries Tanner '88 -- it's not difficult to envision him deciding to focus on that and other creative endeavors in the future. And after 43 years, no one could blame him for walking away.

If I had to guess, I'd say Trudeau returns at some point, if only to give the strip a proper ending. That said, as the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist told The Washington Post: “A hiatus comes with uncertainty, of course: I can’t assume I’ll be welcomed back a year or two from now.”


[Via the Comic Riffs]

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