Since then, we've put out the welcome mat for Zonker by featuring him on the cover of Westword for our 4/20 issue -- and he's rewarding us with details about relocating to the Boulder area to become a "respected drug lord." Details and excerpts below.
Over the past few days, Zonker and his nephew, Zipper, have been saying their goodbyes as they head toward our fair state. Here's a hilarious example from April 19:
Good thing there's no stigma -- because on that same day, this image was in news racks all over the Denver metro area: Yesterday's strip put Zipper in the spotlight. Here's frame one: In frame two, Boulder is name-checked: This green-rush pitch definitely hits home, as is clear from frame three: What will happen when Zonker and Zipper arrive? We can't wait to find out.
Continue for our original post about Zonker and hemp farming. Original post, 8:53 a.m. March 26: Doonesbury hasn't had a print home in Denver since June 2011, when the Denver Post yanked it. But it can be accessed online, and it's still good. Creator Garry Trudeau remains sharp and engaged; he's not doing the equivalent of repeating Garfield-eating-lasagna jokes.
Case in point: Today's strip, part of a new storyline, in which longtime fave Zonker -- no doubt inspired by our recent cover story, "Green Acres" -- announces he's coming to Colorado to farm hemp under an appropriate new name. Check it out below.
In panel one, Zonker is chatting with a co-worker at McFriendly's, the restaurant where he works -- and a place that continues to supersize in a big way:
That's followed by a panel-two reference to a Colorado icon whose given name most locals know, but many outsiders may not: The third panel identifies said celebrity and sets up the closing joke: And then, in panel four, the punchline: Will more people from around the country soon turn up in Colorado with hemp dreams? Here's an appropriate passage from "Green Acres," written by Melanie Asmar:
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When voters legalized retail sales of recreational marijuana last November, a single sentence in the otherwise pot-centric Amendment 64 also made it lawful to grow hemp. That doesn't mean that a hemp industry will sprout overnight, however. While recreational marijuana can lean on the infrastructure currently in place for medical pot, hemp has virtually no road map.
What it does have is a merry band of hempsters, a small but dedicated group of supporters that includes a retired Yellow Pages saleswoman, a self-described mad scientist, the victorious defendant in one of Colorado's landmark medical marijuana cases and a handful of stone-cold sober lawmakers who represent the type of places where people have dirt under their fingernails and make their living off the land. Together, this group is determined to create a hemp industry and position the state at the leading edge of an agricultural boom.
In other words, Zonker may soon have some company -- perhaps named Earl Fort Collins or Marvin Grand Junction.
To keep up with Zonker's adventures in hemp, and Doonesbury in general, bookmark this.
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Top ten hemp legends: Which myths are true -- and which went up in smoke?"