Monday, July 13, 2015

Comics Watch: After 25 years, "Bloom County" returns!


Berkeley Breathed posted this shot yesterday on his Facebook photo page yesterday (click to enlarge) with the note: "A return after 25 years. Feels like going home." (Presumably he's not referring to the apparatus on which he was creating Bloom County 2015.)

by Ken

Bright and early today Noah passed along the Chicagoist post below with the note: "Looks like Opus and Milo just couldn't keep silent any longer!" And I realize that for a lot of people this is awfully exciting news -- when I looked early this afternoon, the post of the first new Bloom County strip in 25 years on Pulitzer Prize-winning creator Berkeley Breathed's Facebook page had gotten 31,678 likes and 21,339 shares.) Here's the Chicagoist take:

'Bloom County' Returns After 25 Year Hiatus

on JUL 13, 2015 8:15 AM

Berkeley Breathed hinted at the return of his iconic, and Pulitzer Prize-winning, comic strip Bloom County yesterday with a post of him working on a new strip at his drafting table.* Why is Bloom County reappearing after all this time? Well, it turns out we might have Donald Trump's ascendance in the Republican Party presidential race to thank for it. If so, that would mean Trump has finally had a positive effect on society, even though that effect will surely lead to a constant skewering of Trump's racist, inflammatory windbaggery.

Bloom County ran throughout the '80s and often acted as a sharp jab at the conservative politics that dominated the decade. At the same time, Bloom County's large stable of fully realized characters, with breakout stars like Opus the penguin, Bill the cat and Steve Dallas, the unrepentant womanizing frat boy lawyer, added a humanizing presence to the storytelling, keeping the politics from ever coming across as shrill.

Bloom County might be just the voice we need to make sense of the inane morass current-day politics have sunk into. Welcome back!

Enjoy the first Bloom County strip in 25 years below.

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*At the link, a comment by reader Larry Warshall, "Dear Mr. Breathed: With Donald Trump returning to the Political Spectrum, I believe it is only fitting. I have missed you guys," elicited this response from BB: "This creator can't precisely deny that the chap you mention had nothing to do with it." (I assume he got caught between saying that he "can't precisely say . . . " or that he can't precisely deny that "the chap you mention had something to do with it." The Donald is practically a Bloom County character in his own right. --Ed.

[Click to enlarge.]


In the era before online circulation of comics, the reader of a single daily newspaper whose single newspaper happened to be the New York Times had a bleak comics universe -- except during the brief but glorious lifetime of New York Newsday, when it was a pleasure to be a double-daily-paper person, with comics coming as part of the NYN package. (New York Newsday, an offshoot of but a separate newspaper from the Long Island original Newsday, had a start-up that I understood exceeded all projections before being killed by a criminally cretinous corporate genius who, knowing nothing about newspapers, understood nothing about how hard it is to start one, especially in a cutthroat media market like NYC. All the jackass knew was that it took a mere stroke of his mighty pen to kill one. I assume he's now roasting in hell unto eterntiy.) During that time I expect I looked at Bloom County most days, but I can't say I ever got hooked, or missed it much when we so tragically lost New York Newsday.

My own comics universe has shrunk, as readers may be aware, to Doonesbury and Dilbert. Perhaps, though, rather than "shrunk" I should say it has expanded, since those two strips between them encompass pretty much the whole of the known universe plus alarming swaths of the unknown universe (see, for example, the pair of Dilbert strips I posted from last week an interaction between Wally and Asok).

As far as strips of the past go, well, even though I usually didn't quite get Pogo, I feel confident that I could handle it better now. Unfortunately, it died with Walt Kelly in 1973.

Pogo, Apr. 22, 1971
To coin a phrase.



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