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Joanie Caucus: When writers are lucky, they’ll occasionally create a character in whom readers become unusually vested. The downside is a tremendous pressure to treat that character gently, to not place her in jeopardy from which she cannot escape. But in the case of Joanie—the accidental feminist who reinvented herself as a lawyer—I was happy to oblige, to let her survive the downdrafts and soar into a new future, becoming the kind of role model that the times seemed to demand. The unfolding revolution of feminism was so inherently dramatic, I never considered giving her another path.

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October 12, 1972

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August 4, 1986

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Garry Trudeau created the Doonesbury strip in 1970. He’s the author of the forthcoming book 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective, from which this article has been adapted.

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