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Berkeley Breathed Back in the Funnies 350

tetrad writes "Berkeley Breathed is creating a new Sunday comic strip, according to the Washington Post. The half-page comic strip will feature Opus the penguin from Breathed's Bloom County and Outland series, and will begin Nov. 23."
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Berkeley Breathed Back in the Funnies

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  • Opus! (Score:4, Funny)

    by windowpain ( 211052 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:42AM (#6910674) Journal
    Opus flies again!
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:42AM (#6910679) Homepage
    I think I speak for all of Berkeley's loyal fans when I say:

    Ack! Thpppt!

    • Or... (Score:5, Funny)

      by JoeLinux ( 20366 ) <.joelinux. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:55AM (#6910887) Homepage
      To Clarify... [userfriendly.org]
    • Re:Breathed is back? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jerryasher ( 151512 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:56AM (#6910907)
      Sun is losing marketshare to Linux.

      Joy is leaving Sun. Pic shows long hair.

      Breathed is coming back, with a Penguin. Pic shows long hair.

      Do I have to spell it out for you?
    • Back in about 1984 my cousin got her driver's license. I was there when she discussed her desire for a "vanity" plate to be put on the old beat up jeep she was going to be given. She wanted it to say "ACK THPT" since that would fit nicely on the plates of the time. Her father insisted that this would be a stupid move, since you would be stuck with it for a long time, and what it the comic was no longer popular? He insisted that Bloom County was a passing fad, like Garfield. Interestingly, Garfield is t
    • Re:Breathed is back? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cosmo_the_third ( 642177 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:07AM (#6911038) Homepage
      Ack! Thpppt!

      Yes, Opus is back. But Bill was the one who made that noise. Opus' sensitivity and trusting nature made him a great center to both Bloom County and Outland, but without the cool intellectuality of Milo Bloom and the brash, unfounded self-confidence of uberfratboy Steve Dallas, can Opus have the same soft-hearted appeal?

      I found that the strength of Bloom County was its in the way each member of its cast provided their own unique intimacy to the strip. Things like Binkley's anxeity closet and Portnoy and Hodge's satirical reiterations of contentious political issues. The diversity of characters in the strip was also unprecendented, from African-Americans (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Rosalinda) who, unlike black characters in other strips, namely Peanuts, were actually of their own ethnicity, to the wheelchair-bound 'Nam vet Cutter John.

      I'm just as psyched as anyone to see Opus back in the comic pages, but what I'm really hoping to see is the return of the foils that made his world so memorable.
    • Ack! Thpppt!

      Will we see Billy and the Boingers!!!! make a comeback tour on the new strip? Opus bangin away on the tuba was most punk. Very cool.

    • I think I speak for all of Berkeley's loyal fans when I say:
      Ack! Thpppt!


      I don't really know what that means, but I think people who think he's a prick would agree.
  • Questionable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tebriel ( 192168 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:43AM (#6910696)
    This makes me very happy. Except what exactly does "'Opus' will run on Sundays only and will fill half a page in the comics section" mean?

    A half a page? How likely will this be picked up by papers if it's half a freaking page? I'd love to see it, but that may be asking too much from papers.
    • He probably did the deal directly with the Washington Post. Savvy move on their part as I'm now considering getting a subscription... Ack indeed.
    • Re:Questionable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bricriu ( 184334 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:50AM (#6910805) Homepage
      Remember, this is a man whose abrupt departure in '87 gave heart attacks to the comic page editors (if such things exist) of 1,300 papers... and a man who could command a Sunday-only strip several years ago that, IIRC, took up about 1/3 of a page.

      Considering the dismal state of printed-page comics today, I'm not surprised that many would leap at the chance to put a Sure Thing back in, even at that space-cost. Breathed's bargaining from strength and he knows it.
    • Re:Questionable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TrippTDF ( 513419 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [dnalih]> on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:56AM (#6910901)
      Keep in mind-

      1) Bloom County was WILDLY popular, and I'm sure that a lot of people will pick it up again, unthinking

      2) Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) pulled it off quite well, and he didn't loose too many papers when he went to half-page

      3) Brethead says in the article that he missed having a public voice. He's not a quiet kind of guy, and I'm sure that he will get himself in a winder distribution than just a few papers

      4) He's got a Bloom County website, and since he IS trying to reach a larger audience, I'll bet the strip will be online as well. I don't think he's doing this for money. He MUST have cleaned up in the eighties.

      SHOOT THE #$^#@ LAWYERS! MORE SKIN ON HBO! L.H. PUTGRASS SIGNING OFF AND HEADING FOR THE TUB!
    • Re:Questionable (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @12:14PM (#6911946) Homepage Journal
      Bloom County was wildly popular. The switch was his decision, and we were all quite sad to see it go. If i remember correctly, Breathed was trying to do three things when he switched from Bloom County to Outland. First, he did not want the hassle of the daily strip. He told many the tale of his frantic late nights and last minute work on plane trips to deliver copy to his publisher. Second, he was protesting the fact that newspapers were shrinking comic strip to barely legible form. It was impossible to make out the text much less the artwork. Third, he wanted to concentrate more on the artwork: larger vistas, more detail.

      In the middle of this, he also wanted to leave Bloom Country behind. He focus shifted from a white male adolescent to black female pre-adolescent. The animal shifted from a flightless motherless waterfowl and drugged garfield parody to a cynical mickey mouse parody and his pal. Unfortunately Breathed could not make the strip work, so he had to reintroduce opus and bill, which then became a product line of plush animals, greeting cards, and the like.

      So the fact that the new strip concentrates on Opus and Bill is not surprising, though somewhat disappointing. Breathed drawing did become very good at the end, so I have high hopes for that. The only problem I see is that Bloom Country originated from a college paper, and the college crowd continued to be the core audience. I don't know how well his work will be received by the general audience or the current generation that grew up without exposure to his work. i hope that he will make the strip available to campus papers. Although most would not run it sunday, they could repeat it on Monday

  • Blech! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Democritus2 ( 553661 )
    Bill the Cat better be coming as well. "through the sewer slime and stinky, george bush is a twinkie" Originally written for the first George Bush, but should apply to this President as well. Horray!
  • A start (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Salo2112 ( 628590 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:44AM (#6910703)
    A nice start, but I want Calvin and Hobbes back. :-)
  • Opus Comeback! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dieppe ( 668614 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:44AM (#6910704) Homepage
    I remember the Breathed "retired" oh so many years ago, but I wonder if this comeback is like many 60's and 70's band "comeback tours"... that is to say he's found that he needs the money and there is still (somehow) enough interest out there to him to milk...?
    • Re:Opus Comeback! (Score:3, Informative)

      by foolish ( 46697 )
      He's actually a fairly successful children's book writer, a fact mentioned in the Ask /. that was done close to a year ago, IIRC.
    • [is there] still (somehow) enough interest out there to him to milk...?

      My first thought, being a long-time Breathed fan, was to reply with "Milk me, Berkeley Breathed, milk me with everything you've got!"

      Yet somehow, despite being a perfectly valid response on a syntactic level, I can't help thinking that I'd be violating at least half a dozen indecency laws... ;-)

  • Huzzah! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tsunamio ( 465339 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:44AM (#6910710) Homepage
    Now the 10 dollar question: will it have just Opus, or will it have just about all the characters? As I recall, Outland started with just Opus and the other characters found their way in until it was basically a Sunday Bloom County with weirder backgrounds.
    • While Bloom County was my favorite all-time comic, I wasn't all that impressed by Outland. Bloom County was great for running gags that developed over days. You just can't have that in a Sunday only comic strip.
    • Re:Huzzah! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Fesh ( 112953 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:49AM (#6910775) Homepage Journal
      No flame intended, but it wasn't about Opus at all in the beginning. He showed up as a running gag and managed to steal the show... *shrug* More power to 'im.
      • Yeah, it was Ronald Ann, or Ronalda, or whatever her name was. Her parents, so the story goes, named her after Ronald Reagan... mixed-up parents.

        - A.P.
  • by ausoleil ( 322752 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:45AM (#6910721) Homepage
    It's good to hear that a wry voice from the 80's will be back in the Sunday comics. Ever since Bill Watterson quit drawing/writing Calvin and Hobbes, and Bloom County disappeared, the comics haven't been the same IMO.

    Now, if only Watterson would get inspired to further the adventures of Calvin, there would be some ubiquity in the "Intellectual Section" of the daily fishwrap!
    • The Far Side!
    • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:52AM (#6910837)
      Harry Knowles, editor in chief of the Web's Ain't It Cool News and an avid fan of newspaper comics. "I think there's been three great strips that have gone away over the last five, 10 years that I really miss: 'Bloom County,' 'Calvin and Hobbes' and 'The Far Side.' Those are the three strips that never should have ceased."

      These strips ended when they should have... ie... when their authors no longer felt inspired to write them and were growing bored with their work.

      Was Calvin and Hobbes one of the best comics ever? Yes. Was is miserably repetitive near the end and growing more and more unfunny? Sadly, yes. If it had continued on, it would have been nothing but a constant rehash of the same jokes and concepts with no new content... like Peanuts and Garfield both became.

      Outland was pretty miserable compared to Bloom County. I have high hopes for 'Opus', but I'm also a realist. It may be just as poor as Outland was, IMHO.

      Oh, Mr. Breathed. Two words, 'Web Comic'.
    • by Tofino ( 628530 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:52AM (#6910840)
      Calvin returned [metaphilm.com] in a film just a couple of years ago...
    • May I recommend Frazz [comics.com] to all Calvin & Hobbes fans? In my opinion, it has similar humor, wisdom and cuteness. It's my current favorite.
    • Watterson said he quit because he had become bored with the medium and wanted to try something on a larger scale. So where is it?!?

      Watterson also complained about the ridiculous flexibility he had to provide to the syndicators. I.e. The title panel of the Sunday comic couldn't contain anything important because the newspapers had the option to remove it. Ditto for the first 2 frames, which usually contain a pithy joke.

      Of course even that wasn't really an issue in the end because his syndicator eventually
  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doesn't_Comment_Code ( 692510 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:45AM (#6910729)
    We could really use some better comic strips (especially ones with penguins in them).

    I really missed the days of the Far Side. Non-sequiter is pretty good. And I don't need to say anything about Dilbert. But the rest of the comics suck. Maybe I'm just getting old. But it seems like comics used to be much better. I hope this one helps with the comeback of good comics.

    I've never seen this Opus before, but I think Tux could take him.

    • by w.p.richardson ( 218394 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:52AM (#6910844) Homepage
      in general terms, anyway.

      There have usually been a handful of decent comics, with a load of "dogs" as filler. Consider:

      Beetle Bailey...
      Marmaduke...
      Hi & Lois...
      Mary Worth...
      etc.

      These sucked when I was 5 years old, they suck now, and they will still be sucking when I turn 80.

      • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:42AM (#6911511)
        I'll chime in with a few of my own:

        The Phantom
        Nancy

        The sad thing is that if you can find books of those two from during their heyday, they were damn good comic strips. With every single comic that has been listed so far, the strip long outlasted the life of their creators, and new artists have come along to prop up their strips' corpses like some sick publishing equivalent of "Weekend at Bernie's." I'm worried that one day someone will try to pick up Peanuts (even though the strip was never as good during its last two decades as it was in the old 60's collections that I have). It's sad enough to see the old strips still being rerun in my local papers rather than let some newcomer take a stab at success.

        I'm just glad that Pogo was allowed to retire gracefully and that Bill Watterson will never let Calvin and Hobbes be turned into the sort of undead shadow of itself that all the strips we've listed here have become.
        • Bill Griffith (Zippy) gave me a new appreciation for old Nancy strips, not the dialog but the minimalist drawing style. Look at some of the old strips, see the zen energy of the mysterious "3 rocks" and enter "Bushmiller country".
  • by YetAnotherName ( 168064 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:48AM (#6910758) Homepage
    Outstanding news. I grew up with Bloom County, finding Doonesbury too off-topic for my young and yet geeky pursuits. BC had the same level of text, yet was a lot more accessible.

    After all, what aspiring young hacker, typing BASIC programs into a TRS-80 at the local Radio Shack, wouldn't be inspired by Oliver Wendell Jones?
    • utstanding news. I grew up with Bloom County, finding Doonesbury too off-topic for my young and yet geeky pursuits. BC had the same level of text, yet was a lot more accessible.

      After all, what aspiring young hacker, typing BASIC programs into a TRS-80 at the local Radio Shack, wouldn't be inspired by Oliver Wendell Jones?

      Do I spot a slight anachronism here? TRS-80's were way before Bloom County and Doonesbury were syndicated, IIRC.

      My early days of programming were inspired by the Fabulous Furry Freak

      • YDNRC. Trudeau started penning Doonesbury in 1970 and had won a Pulitzer by 1975. The first TRS-80 came out in 1977. Bloom County started in syndication in 1980. TRS-80s were made until at least 1986. But yeah, the FFFBs! It's all a haze, man....
      • Do I spot a slight anachronism here? TRS-80's were way before Bloom County and Doonesbury were syndicated, IIRC.

        I think you are right, though TRS-80's were used in schools for a long time after they became obsolete. I recall taking a computer class in 1990-1991, and we used TRS-80's.

        Though the poster was talking about Radio Shack, and not schools...
    • Boondocks! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mikeee ( 137160 )
      Check out The Boondocks [ucomics.com] if your paper has it, or find it online.

      It even had DMCA bashing in it at one point!

      And it cunningly anticipated Berke Breathed's return [ucomics.com].
  • Opus is Back! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Silwenae ( 514138 ) *
    This is great news.

    I started collecting all of the Bloom County books just over 2 years ago. (Only 2 books left to go!)

    It was amazing re-reading all of these again and how many topics written in the 80's are still topical today - especially the strips with political overtones.

    And the timing couldn't be better - going into a presidential primary next year. Will Opus get sucked into running again? :)

    Mr. Breathed's comment in the article about not having a public voice through the war - it will be great
    • Of course, now they'll have to shrink the comic pages down another 30% to fit a new comic in.

      Given the current state of comics, I'd give Breathed the entire comics section if he asked.
    • It was amazing re-reading all of these again and how many topics written in the 80's are still topical today -
      especially the strips with political overtones


      The Boondocks (another great strip) has remarked on just that [ucomics.com].

  • by hetairoi ( 63927 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:49AM (#6910779) Homepage
    I'm taking the rest of the day off to go romp through a dandelion patch!

  • Outland started out as a good concept, and then morphed back into Bloom County over 6 months as Breathed realized he had nothin' for the new characters. How long until Steve Dallas, Bill the Cat, etc. return? And is "oop ack!" really still funny? I know it sounds curmudgeonly, but the only Berke Breathed I like is the one that drew the first 3 years of Bloom County. After that, it was really touch-and-go. 'Course, there's "Gene Simmons Never Had A Banana 2000", so I'm an utter hypocrite.
  • I'm looking foreward to getting back in the know in regards to American politics. Everything I knew about 80's politics, I learned from Opus and Bill (hmm...a possible explanation for my leftist leanings). Can you blame me? I was 10 and it was more interesting than the news.
  • Great art!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by harrkev ( 623093 ) <kfmsd@NoSpAM.harrelsonfamily.org> on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:51AM (#6910825) Homepage
    Besides his great sense of humor, Bloom County was also outstanding in that each an every strip was a masterpiece of art. I don't mean to knock Dilbert, but if you compare the quality of artwork, Dilbert could have been drawn by a 4-year-old kid (but I do love the humor of Scott Adams).

    About the only other strip with comparable artwork is Doonesbury.
    • Re:Great art!! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PsionicMan ( 74653 )
      Don't forget Calvin & Hobbes. In the regular, reality-based strips, the artistic skill was subtle (but still very evident). However, in the ones where Calvin daydreams about dinosaurs, Spaceman Spiff, etc, it really shows. And then if you buy the books, and look at the watercolor illustrations he did (to add value to a book full of strips you'd already read in the paper), it's just stunning. Great stuff.

      And then to tie this all together and make it a bit more on topic, here's a quote from The Onion AV
    • Berke Breathed is at best a competent artist, though I'll give him points for having his own style.

      As for Doonesbury, Trudeau hasn't drawn the strip in years (probably more than a decade). He hires assistants to draw in his style, which is why the strip is so bland.

      Artistically, neither of them are any great shakes. They get the job done, that's about it.

      Now Bill Watterston, OTOH, can freaking DRAW. When he would cut loose and do a full-page Sunday spread, it was amazing. Frank Cho (Liberty Meadows) is a
  • "I think there's been three great strips that have gone away over the last five, 10 years that I really miss: 'Bloom County,' 'Calvin and Hobbes' and 'The Far Side.' Those are the three strips that never should have ceased."

    If it wasn't for Dilbert, I'd just discard the comics with the 'magazine' and 'style' sections.

    Comics have gone the way of pop-music - only the acts who are blase' and 'easy to understand' are getting published.
  • imagine a cluster of those! banana cluster..oh, never mind.
  • by incompetent_bitch ( 519780 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:54AM (#6910878) Homepage
    Why, oh why, is Harry Knowles commenting on this? Are they just getting anybody who has a semi-popular POS website to comment in in the Washington Post now? Can I get in on the action too? I can create a fake news site, drum up some quotes and get quoted in the Post - woohoo.
  • "I think there's been three great strips that have gone away over the last five, 10 years that I really miss: 'Bloom County,' 'Calvin and Hobbes' and 'The Far Side.' Those are the three strips that never should have ceased."
    Amen
    • I can't agree that they shouldn't have ceased. _Calvin and Hobbes_ and _The Far Side_ were my two most favorite series ever and they went out on top. The worst thing I could imagine happening was some second-rate cartoonist being hired by the syndicate to continue the series because Watterson or Larson didn't have a say in the matter.

      They also chose the right time to get out before their creative energies had been depleted. Though I really enjoyed _Peanuts_ as a kid, decades of really similar strips and so
  • My absolute favorite Bloom County strips were when the meadow party ran for president. The Bill/Opus ticket. The last one I remember was in 88 - God I miss the meadow party
  • Well, space can easily be made by dumping the steaming turd that The Family Circus is. Geesh, shouldn't those kids have grown up by now, got addicted, rehabed, and on with their lives????
  • Less excited here... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:01AM (#6910966) Journal
    As a kid I enjoyed Bloom County, and last year I snapped up a couple of the collections at a yard sale.

    From where I stand -- they just haven't held up. There are taped-up Far Side cartoons that I've passed in the hallway every day for years that I still laugh at. Far Side collections, Calvin & Hobbes, old Dilberts all still make me laugh. Bloom County turned out to be just a bunch of tossed-out references to '80's pop culture. 20 years later, it's as dated and forced as, say, brand new Doonesbury strips.

    We'll see, but I bet the best of today's strips (Zits, Foxtrot, Monty, Drabble) are going to look quite good by comparison.

    • by OWJones ( 11633 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:17AM (#6911183)

      Bloom County turned out to be just a bunch of tossed-out references to '80's pop culture.

      Hmm, let's see here

      • A Republican in office: check
      • Rampant corporate and investment corruption: check
      • A proposed missile-defense system: check
      • John Poindexter-concieved schemes being considered/implemented by the government: check
      Sounds like 80's culture (and politics) is back "in" these days.

      -jdm

    • Bloom County turned out to be just a bunch of tossed-out references to '80's pop culture.

      It was topical humor. Right now there's no comic strip artist of Breathed's stature doing for the 00s what he did for the 80s.

      Satire is a sign of a healthy democracy. We need it right now more than ever.

      As for longevity, my Bloom County collection does a better job of reminding me what the 80s were all about than any other media relics from that era.

    • You've just got to be angrier to enjoy it. Pearls Before Swine is a perfect example of a comic that gets funnier as the reader gets bitterer.

      And Zits can be funny occasionally, but jokes about a really tall teenager who eats a lot get redundant. Same for jokes about computer illiteracy, or a rare parrot that's actually a duck. (I don't know what Monty is)
  • As depressing as losing Bloom County was, Outland never came close to replacing it for me. It had lots of eye candy, but just wasn't that great a strip, IMO. OTOH, the books have been *awesome*. I reread the "kids' books" almost as often as I reread the books of all the Bloom County strips.

    I hope the time away from the comics has helped him get back to the place htat he should be, and the new strip will be as good as Bloom County.

    Now, where can I get a life sized Opus?
  • Ha! (Score:2, Funny)

    by revividus ( 643168 )
    Now who says BSD is d....

    Oh, wait. Wrong Berkeley.

    At any rate, I, for one, welcome our new penguin overlord.

  • Pogo back. But considering the present condition of Walt Kelly, I'm presuming that's asking for a bit too much.
  • Boondocks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by egg troll ( 515396 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:09AM (#6911072) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one who feels there's a little Bloom County inside of the Boondocks [ucomics.com] ? I think they both have the same political outlook, only instead of a penguin, the Boondocks has a militant black teenager.
  • Need more voices? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rworne ( 538610 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:10AM (#6911082) Homepage
    Blockquoteth the article:
    "I can't say it wouldn't be appealing to bring back Opus to the Sunday pages," Breathed told those gathered, according to Editor & Publisher. "It was painful to sit through the war without a public voice."


    Painful? They already had Doonesbury which covered the anti-war and Bush-bashing department quite adequately. Breathed's comics would also have an anti-war, anti-Bush slant but would have made it thought-provoking and actually funny.
  • by asmithmd1 ( 239950 ) * on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:17AM (#6911179) Homepage Journal
    It is about an inner city black family that moves to the suburbs. It is beautifully drawn and has a sharp, left leaning wit
  • The time is right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smartin ( 942 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:19AM (#6911206)
    Breathed retired because he ran out of things to say and rather than let the strip turn into Garfield or the Peanuts, he did the right thing. Recently he said in a interview that he didn't think that the strips had lasting value because many of the things that they poked fun at are no longer relavant to todays readers. For the same reason I think the time is right for him to return, considering how much of has changed, I'm sure that he will have a lot of fun to poke at things like reality television and George the moron Bush.
  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:21AM (#6911233) Homepage
    Amazing, my impression was that Opus was a throw-away character but came into his own when the he was accosted somehow the term in the subject line came out of "Prayer Temples for Hare Krishnas".

    In any case, I'm halfway between wetting my pants with joy and cursing that somebody I thought went out with dignity has sold out. The cynical side of me wonders how much of the new strip was required for the Opus movie.

    Personally, I enjoyed "Outland" and thought it was a reasonable successor to "Bloom County" which had a stale feeling to it in its last year. So, maybe "Opus" is a logical evolution to the strip.

    In any case, I'll buy whatever local paper its in (even if its the "National Post").

    myke
  • I have always wondered whether the name "Opus" could have been have been derived from the strange and wonderful enormous outdoor sculpture called Opus 40. It was sculpted/built by one Harvey Fite, and captured my imagination when I visited it some years ago on a trip to Woodstock, NY.

    You see, I've always thought the "Opus" character bore a certain family resemblance to Charles M. Schulz's (please mod me up for spelling his name correctly) "Woodstock."

    I can't help thinking that Breathed said to himself, "I
  • My Bloom County baseball jersey doesn't fit. It couldn't be the 135lbs I've gained since high school, could it?
  • Time to celebrate! Break out the hairy fish nuts!
  • I loved Bloom County, but I'm worried that Berke Breathed is a harbinger for what the Chinese call "Interesting Times." Sky High Defense spending, Moron in the White House, tax cuts for the rich, deficits a go-go. Yep time to trot out Berke! Take cover!
  • by RevMike ( 632002 ) <revMikeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:30AM (#6911343) Journal
    Panel 1: Milo and the Major (a retired army major living in the boarding house) are standing in the meadow, dressed in hunting gear. The major is carrying a gun.

    Milo: What big game are we stalking today, Major?
    Major: Liberals. Check and see what the wildlife guide says about 'em.

    Panel 2:

    Milo: (reading form the guide) "The Vanishing Liberal: A beast which once thundered across the American Scene in mighty herds. Recently hunted to near extinction."
    Major: Gotta be one left around here somewheres... Try the Liberal Call, boy.

    Panel 3:

    Milo: (shouting) Welfare, Solar Power, No Nukes! ( a nearby bush rustles)

    Panel 4: A liberal with bushy hair and mustache, looking much like Reiner on "All in the Family", stands up from behind the bush.

    Liberal: No Nukes! No Nukes!

    Panel 5: The Major fires his gun at the liberal.

    Major: Gotcha!
    Liberal: Gun Control! Gun Control!

    Panel 6: Liberal can't be seen in tall grass.

    Milo: (to the reader) It's a shame.They're more fun than buffalo.
    Major: I think I wounded him!
    Liberal: Ow! Socialized Medicine! Socialized Medicine!

  • Great!... but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jhaberman ( 246905 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:37AM (#6911452)
    My local paper here probably wouldn't touch this in a million years. It would take up too much of their ad space. Half of the comics on Sunday are filled with grocery coupons or other bullshit...

    Not to mention that the REST of the comics are still filled with such dreck as "Garfield", "Hagar the Horrible", "Beetle Bailey", "Wizard of Id" and any number of other pieces of shit that have not had an original idea in about 20 years.

    No... I'm not bitter

  • Will this be good? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SARSpatient ( 679467 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:40AM (#6911489)
    As I recall, Bloom County started off with a rich cast of characters all centered around the seemingly normal world of a Boarding House. With the cynical young reporter Milo in charge, along with his war-mongering grandfather, the intelligent and supportive Cutter John, Steve Dalls, each was caracature of someone you might know in real life... Just as Bloom County itself was a small town representation of America itself. Back when Opus was merely the pet of wimpy Binkley, who in wanting to impress his father, bought it thinking he was a German Shepherd. Back when Opus was silent, and even resembled a penguine at one point, only uttering the occasional phrase usually having to do with herrings or walruses. As the strip progressed and characters and situations became more and more wild, the original premise was still there. It was still about characters from a small town dealing with current events, politics, science, religion, and pop culture in America. But by the time Bloom County morphed into Outland, at least in my opinion, the environment became too abstract, and the realism of having characters from a small town being thrust into strange and humorous adventures was not there anymore. Outland was based in a universe I couldn't relate to, resembling the 3D land Homer Simpson found himself in while hiding from Patty and Selma one Halloween. I am hoping another rehash of Outland will not be the basis of the new strip. Breathed's comic timing borders on genius, and the new strip needs a deceptively normal setting which made Bloom County and American culture seem all the more strange and twisted and fun.
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @11:40AM (#6911493)
    It was the non-Sunday strips that made Bloom County--all the character interaction in those few panels a day. Breathed could set-up one situation and keep it going for days or weeks. That's much of what made Outland so stale. It tried to pack everything into a self-contained Sunday strip, and it didn't work. It wasn't cohesive, surviving solely on nostalgic Bloom County fans.
  • ...to heck with Breathed. "Outland" was good, but frankly not that good. I wanna know what Bill Watterson ("Calvin & Hobbes") is up to. I'm sure it's not comic strips again, but I haven't heard anything much out of him since the strip ended. Surely he's out drawing something, somewhere?
  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @01:31PM (#6912809)
    Years ago, I was disgusted by a nearby U's handicapped van which looked not so much as anything but a prison wagon, navy blue, mesh in the windows and all...
    I had a brainstorm. Why not liven it up - light colors, some cool graphics - what better graphic than Cutter John loaded down with all the critters from the meadow, zooming off at warp factor 9...
    I called an old friend with a vehicle graphics biz. Got the labor ponied up. Called a distant relative in the paint biz. Paint would be mine. Called the Washington Post Writers Group and told them what I had in mind. They told me to hold on for a minute, then lots of phone noises, then Berke came on the line and asked me what I wanted to do. IIRC...
    -Will you make any money on this?
    -No, it's just something to do gratis.
    -Is it for a company?
    -No it's for a college.
    -OK, here's the deal: you have to use an existing drawing, you can't do your own version, or get something done new.
    -OK
    -You have to include the original signature,
    -OK
    -You have to add "copyright 19-- Washington Post Writers; Group, All Rights Reserved"
    -OK (long silence) - and how much for the rights? _
    -Nothing. You're not making anything on this?
    -No
    -No one else will profit, right?
    -No.
    -That's it.
    -Thanks!
    -Send us a picure.
    -OK.

    I contacted the handicapped student group on campus - they thought it would be much cooler - then I started talking to the powers that be at the university to get all the clearances, etc. Big mistake. More than a year later, we still hadn't gotten so much as any written response from anywone who had to OK it - sheesh. Maybe I gave up too easily, but it was enlightneing to see the attitude of an artist vs the attitude of a few campus honchi...

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