Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Return of Bloom County

Seven years ago, Berkeley Breathed, trim and grinning, sat in the D.C. offices of his then-syndicate, the Washington Post Writers Group, and shared old stories and well-remembered personal anecdotes. I listened to him speak with a kinetic quickness; he was charismatic, a bit rushed and more than a bit restless. He recounted a nautical accident, and I couldn’t help but think: This sounds like a man ready to tack toward a new direction.

Within months that year, Breathed announced he was ending his comic strip “Opus.” The beloved penguin of three decades would apparently flap his flightless wings no more.

“I drew the last image ever of Opus at midnight while Puccini was playing and I got rather stupid,” Breathed told me at the time of the penguin’s farewell ‘toon. “Thirty years. A bit like saying goodbye to a child — which is ironic because I was never, never sentimental about him as many of his fans were. I think ‘Madama Butterfly’ pushed me over the top, though. He suddenly seemed alive, really. Rare for me.”

Then suddenly, on Sunday, Breathed teased (via Facebook) the return of Opus. I, like most all Opus fans, raised an intrigued eyebrow of hope. Then yesterday, we were rewarded: Breathed posted a full strip of an awakened Opus who had Rip Van Winkle’d his way through a quarter-century and now was freshly aroused. The slumbering waterfowl had returned … to a Milo puberty joke.

Yes, “Bloom County,” the Pulitzer-winning ’80s strip that once attracted tens of millions of daily readers on the still-mighty wings of the Reagan-era newspaper syndication model, was back. And still frisky, at that.

by Michael Cavna, Washington Post | Read more:
Image: Berkeley Breathed