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"I will say that Opus is really Scout from Mockingbird in many ways."
February 2, 2010 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Interview with Berkeley Breathed on the occasion of a new five-volume compilation (review) of every Bloom County strip.
posted by kirkaracha (150 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ok. Want. Will they throw in the Turnip Twaddler as well?
posted by azpenguin at 10:05 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bill Watterson yesterday, Berkelyy Breathard today. I can't wait for tomorrow's Gary Larson FPP!
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:07 AM on February 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


Five volumes? Every Bloom County strip ever?

Heavens, I think my flippers are trembling.
posted by rokusan at 10:11 AM on February 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


I loved this strip and mourned when it ended. My kids now fight over my little stuffed Opus. His tag says he's an 'Opii Biggus Schnozzulus' :)
What do you think you would be if you weren’t the guy who made up all this cool stuff?
A gigolo.

Nice.
Listen, you asked. I can only presume that my ability to draw penguins would translate into sexual attraction.
Damn, I wish he'd go back to... uh.... stripping.

Also, this post covered the last Opus strip.
posted by zarq at 10:11 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Before reading the interview, I thought would be interesting to get some insight, but I was worried the Vice would skew it to make it more edgy or something. But the truth is stranger than Vice:
You want to know why Bloom County was set in a rural, small-town environment? To Kill a Mockingbird. Maycomb, Alabama, was where I naturally dropped all of my imagination when it needed a setting. A therapist might help explain why, but there it is. I will say that Opus is really Scout from Mockingbird in many ways. He’s a motherless innocent, adrift and wandering about in an adult world of confusion, betrayal, and incivility. We experience it through both their eyes.
I now want to re-read those strips, because I was missing a lot.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:13 AM on February 2, 2010


I SEE THE MOON ALL WHITE AND PRETTY/JUST LIKE THE HIND O CONWAY TWITTY

post your favorite BL co lines now kthnkx
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


post your favorite BL co lines now kthnkx


PEAR PIMPLES FOR HAIRY FISHNUTS!!

Just cough up some dough, mac.
posted by zarq at 10:16 AM on February 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


This is my secret devil sign.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:17 AM on February 2, 2010


I didn't discover Bloom County until about eight years ago, when I discovered them among the books in my ex's bathroom and got hooked. Dude must have thought I had serious gastrointestinal problems.
posted by futureisunwritten at 10:17 AM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just finished Volume 1 and am going out to get Volume 2 ASAP. I loved Bloom County, but Outland & Opus were some mighty thin sauce (at least for me). Breathed provides an interesting counterpoint to Watterson in terms of their attitudes towards merchandising and "walking away" at the top of their games.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:19 AM on February 2, 2010


I didn't realize how much Berkeley looks like Jeff Foxworthy. And I'm sure the following could apply to both of their fans:

Bloom County seemed to attract mental cases like flies to horseshit.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:19 AM on February 2, 2010


post your favorite BL co lines now kthnkx

Gorbachev sings tractor! Turnip! Buttocks!
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:20 AM on February 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


"MY NAME'S BUBBA AND THIS HERE'S THE MAIN FILLY OF MY HERD!"
posted by KingEdRa at 10:22 AM on February 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


I grew up on Bloom County, and I'm so pleased that he's doing children's books now. Mars Needs Moms is a big hit at our house.
posted by anastasiav at 10:26 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Breathed provides an interesting counterpoint to Watterson in terms of their attitudes towards merchandising...

Bill the Cat was introduced as a merchandising gag, recall.
posted by rokusan at 10:27 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Marlburrrro Country! Move 'em out!"
posted by azpenguin at 10:29 AM on February 2, 2010


I don't know why you guys celebrate this man, Billy and the Boingers WERE WORSHIPPING SATAN! SATAN!
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 10:29 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cool your jets, I got the cruise control on.
posted by knile at 10:31 AM on February 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Damn those horse-brained masses!
posted by Chrysostom at 10:32 AM on February 2, 2010


Electric Tuba!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


(from the link) Forget the analogy. Outland was hubris. I discovered the same thing about cartoon fans that musicians discover about their fans: They don’t necessarily follow you into experimental new creative areas like panting poodles. Nor should they.

I didn't think Outland was "hubris" as much as "coked-out coasting." Needless to say, I didn't follow him into this experimental new creative area -- at the time (late teens IIRC) I thought it was pretty much crap. It might be interesting to revisit Outland and see if a more mature me pulls more art and value out of it, but at the time it seemed like a terrible idea, executed sloppily, with fan favourite characters dragged in to shore it up when it started collapsing under the weight of its own pretension.

The Watterson interview yesterday puts it in sharp relief: I'd have much more respect for Breathed, long-term, if he'd actually let Bloom County stay dead rather than have its shuffling zombie corpse turn up in Outland. Maybe Outland would have been better if he hadn't always had that escape hatch in the back of his head.
posted by Shepherd at 10:34 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, I cut my teeth on my dad's Bloom County collections. I didn't get any of the jokes (being a) British and b) ten years old), but I thought Opus was the best thing since sliced bread.
posted by fight or flight at 10:34 AM on February 2, 2010


The cat drinks unleaded from now on!
posted by steef at 10:35 AM on February 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Gene Simmons never had a personal computer when he was a kid.
posted by Aznable at 10:35 AM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aznable You mean an Banana Jr.?
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 10:37 AM on February 2, 2010


The magnificent poetry of character Steve Dallas:
Boobs, butt knees
You're all I see's
Be my main squeeze
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:37 AM on February 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


jeesus, i'd forgotten how much i missed bloom county in its prime until reading this thread. now i'm feeling all winsome and junk.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:40 AM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Statesmen are dead politicians. Lord knows we need more statesmen."
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:40 AM on February 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


anastasiav: I was just coming to comment on some of his penguinless works, specifically Mars Needs Moms. I am very excited to see that they're making a movie of it.
posted by Dojie at 10:40 AM on February 2, 2010


ORDERED.

"That scream... it sounded like...."
"..like someone with his lips caught in a disk drive."
posted by entropicamericana at 10:40 AM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


and the greatest anti-nuke protest song ever written:
"Gimme Twinkies, gimme wine,
Gimme jeans by Calvin Kline ...
But if you split those atoms fine,
Mama keep 'em off those genes of mine!
Gimme zits, take my dough,
Gimme arsenic in my jelly roll ...
Call the devil and sell my soul,
But Mama keep dem atoms whole!"
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:42 AM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Hide the wenches and batten down the access codes... yer about to be boarded, ye scurvy network news dogs! Har Har..."
posted by zarq at 10:43 AM on February 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Try the liberal call, boy.
posted by fight or flight at 10:44 AM on February 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


"What is the Nature of God?"

"CLICK...
CLICK...
WHIRRR...
CLICK...
*BEEP!*
1 QT. SOUR CREAM 1 TSP. SAUERKRAUT 1/2 CUT CHIVES. STIR AND SPRINKLE WITH BACON BITS."


"I've just GOT to start labeling my software...."
posted by zarq at 10:46 AM on February 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Here, take a few pounds home to the wife!
posted by travertina at 10:47 AM on February 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


I ALMOST FORGOT THE WORDS I LIVE BY...

"It's never too late to have a happy childhood."
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:47 AM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


ExitPursuedByBear, well Gene's problems would have been solved by a Banana Jr, yes.
posted by Aznable at 10:48 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Breathed provides an interesting counterpoint to Watterson in terms of their attitudes towards merchandising...

Although they indeed have vastly different attitudes to merchandising (and cartooning), they're friendly (or at least collegial) enough that Watterson ribbed him on this subject in cartoon form, which Breathed reproduced in the 1995 retrospective anthology, One Last Little Pee:
"I have committed other thefts with a clean and unfettered conscience. Garfield was too calculated and too successful not to freely raid for illicit character cameos. Calvin and Hobbes was too good not to. Calvin creator Bill Watterson took these thefts in stride and retaliated in private with devastatingly effective illustrated salvos, hitting me in my most vulnerable places. Bill's sketch is an editorial comment on my addiction to the expensive sport of power boating and the moral compromises needed to fund it. That's me doing the kicking. The chap on the dock represents my cartoon syndicate boss, which says it all, methinks." (via)
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:54 AM on February 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Steve Dallas: Oh, there you are. Pull up a chair and take a letter. It's to Fred "the Cincinnati Strangler" Johnson.

Opus: Right!

Steve: Lesee..Uh..Attention Criminal Pervert:

Opus (writing): Dear Fred,

Steve: Where the hell is my dough, you twisted goon?

Opus: We still await payment of your legal fees.

Steve: Don't forget who got you sprung on that technicality. I want my money. NOW.

Opus: Just a friendly reminder! Sincerely,

Steve: P.S. Have you strangled your wife yet, psycho-brain?

Opus: P.S. Give Mary Lou a hug for me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:56 AM on February 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


"It's never too late to have a happy childhood."

While it's pretty darn Breathedic, that conjures Tom Robbins for me.
posted by rokusan at 10:56 AM on February 2, 2010


Milo: Do you smell that Opus? Do you sense what's in the air these days?

Opus: Spring?

Milo: No...more than that...it's in the wind..breathe deep...what do you smell?

Opus: Snort

Milo: Sniff

Opus: Dirty Socks

Milo: Politics!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:57 AM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dang, all of those strips need to be indexed so I can type in a few keywords to pull up a strip.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:58 AM on February 2, 2010


1995 retrospective anthology, One Last Little Pee

Actually, One Last Little PEEK, but I really rather like your version better.
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:59 AM on February 2, 2010


My Favorite One!
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 11:00 AM on February 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I loved the things Opus mumbled in his sleep.

"Somebody get Cher out of the mayonnaise!" is the only one I remember now, though.
posted by rokusan at 11:01 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Congresswoman: Well, Mr. Dallas, we've heard your smut masquerading as songs. And we've heard how teen prostitution, pregnancy, drug use, cults, runaways, suicide and poor hygiene are sweeping this nation. We thought you might like to share with the committee any particular causes you might see for those latter problems.

Steve Dallas: I dunno. Maybe the proliferation of narrow, suffocating zealotry masquerading as parenting in this country.
posted by zarq at 11:02 AM on February 2, 2010 [18 favorites]


Opus:

How I love to watch the morn with golden sun that shines, up above to nicely warm these frosty toes of mine
The wind doth taste of bittersweet,
Like jasper wine and sugar.
I bet it's blown through others' feet,
like those of...

(Struggles to think of a rhyme...)

Caspar Weinberger.



Milo: Start over!


Another favorite....(is as giddy as a penguin with a fresh herring!)
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 11:02 AM on February 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


oodles of green poodles will jump der' stroodle
posted by tresbizzare at 11:04 AM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I bet it's blown through others' feet,
like those of...

(Struggles to think of a rhyme...)

Caspar Weinberger.
The strip elicited the following response on official stationery from the Department of Defense:

Dear Mr. Breathed,
Many a morn I've longed to see
A comic strip be kind to me.
On 30 March, before my eyes
A penguin watched a warm sunrise.
In this land of so much bounty
Could I have that great Bloom County?

Sincerely,

Caspar Weinberger.
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on February 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


We have a Basselope Gap!
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 11:05 AM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I could definitely see myself purchasing these behemoth volumes and adding to Breathed's bank account, but dammit, Gary Trudeau, would it f*cking kill you to start putting out some of the same for Doonesbury?

I LOVE me some Doonesbury.
posted by willmize at 11:05 AM on February 2, 2010


Then there was the time that the animals of the Bloom County decided to hunt the hunters:

Hodge Podge (a rabbit): Psst, Portnoy!

Portnoy (an otter or beaver): What?

Hodge Podge: See any game?

Portnoy: Not Yet

HP: Darned timid varmints, those hunters.

Portnoy: Try your hunger call

HP: PASS THE LITE BEER, PASS THE LITE BEER

Portnoy: Here they come!

Next strip about it:

Hodge-Podge: Say, Portnoy...does the morality of hunting wild hunters every disturb you?

Portnoy: I'm surprised at you! you know darned tootin' that without us, these wild hunters would overpoulate their ecosystem in no time..and then starvation...and disaster!

Portnoy: Yeah, I like t' think I work for the love of all wild things here on God's green earth.

Portnoy: But that don't mean I still don't relish blowing their brains out!

HP: Oh, me neither!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:07 AM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Star Trek parodies were great:

"I left the tri-corder on `The Wild, Chunky, Spunky Planet of Mary Lou Retton Clones.'"

"Spock , you are SUCH a putz."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ack! thpppt.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:11 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just have to say, does anyone realize how cool it is that Flawed Dogs is published by the Penguin Group?

That is all.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:14 AM on February 2, 2010


Okay, I know, I know, I know this is off topic, but holy mother of FUCK I am tired of American Apparel. It is like being stabbed in the eye when you're trying to read. Do emaciated, indolent, whoresome youths truly need to be pandered to that hard? Because while I will not pretend that I am wholly unsusceptible to the images, what I surely am not is in the market for a lace body suit.
posted by nanojath at 11:16 AM on February 2, 2010


Portnoy is a groundhog.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:17 AM on February 2, 2010


It's a shame. They're more fun than buffalo.
posted by norm at 11:17 AM on February 2, 2010


I'd much rather have a smaller volume of the best story lines and strips. I'd pay money to own that.
posted by mecran01 at 11:18 AM on February 2, 2010


i remember seeing that in a few recent Bloom County collections he re-edited and tweaked a bunch of strips. anyone know if that's the case with these collections? i'm reeeeeally hoping these are the originals.
posted by ambulance blues at 11:21 AM on February 2, 2010


I remember hearing about Harrison Ford out and out dismissing his movies’ fans as being nut jobs. He’s in the wrong business. You can sense it in his performances now. He’d rather be drunk and somewhere else. A pity.

Wow that seems pretty damn accurate.
posted by graventy at 11:23 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


willmize, not to derail from Bloom County, but yeah, Doonesbury in its heyday was fantastic. I started reading it in 1970 when it debuted, and there was nothing else like it on the comics page at that time. I still remember the punch of the Vietnam strips like this one.
posted by gudrun at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2010


"Milo, how old was that issue of Life?"
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:29 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


You want to know why Bloom County was set in a rural, small-town environment? To Kill a Mockingbird. Maycomb, Alabama, was where I naturally dropped all of my imagination when it needed a setting. A therapist might help explain why, but there it is. I will say that Opus is really Scout from Mockingbird in many ways. He’s a motherless innocent, adrift and wandering about in an adult world of confusion, betrayal, and incivility. We experience it through both their eyes.

Huh. I would've thought Opus was based on another fictional motherless child in a Southern town with May in the name who first appeared in 1960, but, hey.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:33 AM on February 2, 2010


U Stink But I ♥ You
posted by swift at 11:35 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It ain't complete unless it's got the Billy and the Boingers bootleg (half of which swift has already found on youtube.)

I see that I've brushed my teeth with Preparation H.
posted by Mike D at 11:41 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I could pimp...
posted by Cyrano at 11:45 AM on February 2, 2010


Binkley meets his dad's new girlfriend:

Stormee: "I'm Stormee with two Es."

Binkley: "I'm appalled with two Ps."
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 12:02 PM on February 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Steve: Bourbon and Coke!

Milo: Scotch and asparagus!

Binkley: Pork and beans!

I still have my stuffed Opus, right on my dresser. Not to mention a handmade Bill The Cat t shirt.
posted by tommasz at 12:06 PM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Opus (calling in to the Phil Donahue Show): Penguin lust is not immoral and wicked, and anybody that thinks so is just an old prude. It's beautiful! And natural! And I for one fully support penguin lust!

Donahue: Great, but today's topic is "nun beating."

Opus: Good Lord, man! I can't support that.
posted by Brak at 12:20 PM on February 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I can't believe I'm the one who gets to do this first:

Thbbpppt!
posted by shmegegge at 12:23 PM on February 2, 2010


Particularly true at the dawn of music videos:

Opus: You know, my all time favorite song is "Yesterday". Whenever I hear it, I think of frolicking porpoises under antarctic rainbows. I dunno why...it's just a very sentimental song to me...

They finally made a video for it. I saw it this morning. It was mostly slow-motion explosions and half-naked women slinkin' around.

Would like like to know what I think of now when I hear "Yesterday"? HALF-NAKED EXPLODING PORPOISES!

Portnoy: Oh my...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:28 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Binkley."
"I don't wanna hear it, Milo."
"Did Adam and Eve have navels?"
...
"WELL YOU CAN JUST ROCK ME TO SLEEP, TONIGHT!"
"Yep, that's a stumper."
posted by Hardcore Poser at 12:31 PM on February 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Blinkey's dad: Hello? MTV Wha're ya tring to do to my boy now? He spends all all day spinning around on his head

It's called what? Breakdancing? What the heck is breakdancing? I don't think I want my son doing "Break anything!

Off panel SFX: Woosh! Woosh! Crash! Ouch!

B's dad: Son?

Well now he's #$#! Broken!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:32 PM on February 2, 2010


Binkley, to an unnamed girl (I'm paraphrasing this bit): "I trust you enough to ask you something that's been plaguing me for a while now -- do I kiss like a gagging goldfish?"

Girl: "We've never kissed."

Binkley: "Well, do you SUSPECT that I'd kiss like a gagging goldfish?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:34 PM on February 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm making a New York cabdriver pullover!
posted by 445supermag at 12:41 PM on February 2, 2010


Binkley, to an unnamed girl (I'm paraphrasing this bit)

I believer her name was Goldie, a black girl. It was hysterical when he described her to his dad and later on their first date, the animals went along as chaperones.

There was also the time the animals took over a KFC in protest of the "butchery" There was a panel of a bear, rabitt, groundhog and others seated at table, staring across at an older lady with a drum stick poised halfway to surprised face. The animals were conferring among themselves: "Is that George?" "Maybe, he always had big thighs".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:45 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


ACK!
posted by Elmore at 12:49 PM on February 2, 2010


Nurse, fetch the patient a "Bud."
posted by shallowcenter at 12:51 PM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here's the about the author blurb, from the back of Penguin Dreams and Stranger Things:
Raised a vegetarian in postwar Croatia near the River Dungh, an unschooled and unkempt Berke Breahted began drawing and selling his humorous sketches of the local kelp divers as a way to supplement his family's meager income from fishing. Arriving on the shores of South Carolina during the infamous Myrtle Beach boatlift of 1964, the young artist wandered the eastern cost of this country earning money by carving nude caricatures of local politicians out of tar balls until in 1979, he was discovered by Al Leeds, then a night janitor at the Washington Post Writers Group.

Introduced in 1980, Bloom County is now read in over 6700 daily and college newspapers all over the world...nearly but not quite as many as Nancy. A major motion picture based on the comic, directed by Brian De Palma and starring Prince, Yoda and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Opus is set to be released in time for Christmas 1986.

Boasting a catalog of over 3300 lines of licensed Bloom County merchandise in addition to two best-selling cartoon anthologies published by a company who is normally above such things, Berke Breathed is easily earning well into eight figures and consequently has the commercial clout to permit him the rare privilege of writing, unedited, the promotional notes on the back of his books.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:54 PM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always thought this one was particularly well-executed.
posted by Mendl at 1:10 PM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


"A black, a woman, two dips, and a cripple."
posted by KokuRyu at 1:10 PM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


My next door neighbor and I had a Bloom County club in 1985. Mostly, this consisted of meticulously clipping and filing and swapping PAPER comic strips (ah, the 80s). He went on to work at American Greetings. I went on to own cats who make Bill the Cat ACK noises rather frequently. So, you know, there's that.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:12 PM on February 2, 2010


I fully understand the love for Opus, but for me it was always about Bill the cat. He remains one of the few comic characters I can draw without effort, and I think I still have the songs from the Deathtöngue/ Billy and the Boingers flexi album floating around somewhere.

He wasn't just a hero... he was an inspiration that I modeled my entire life after. I freebase Tender Vittles to this day.
posted by quin at 1:17 PM on February 2, 2010


Authentic interaction with a genuinely useful command:
zed@box:~$ ack --thppt
_   /|
\'o.O'
=(___)=
   U    ack --thppt!

posted by Zed at 1:22 PM on February 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


n'thing Bill the cat. So many poignant characters in his strip, but Bill always spoke to me. Something about that tounge.
posted by cavalier at 1:24 PM on February 2, 2010


"Off with his head!"

"We can't do that, Tippy!"
posted by azpenguin at 1:28 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Milo: "Lemme get this straight... now that it's illegal, a 10 cent bottle of our hair restorer is worth $25,000?"
Opus: "The orders are coming in."
Milo: "My mother taught me the proper thing to do in situations like this..." Milo fetches a pen and paper. "Dear Feds, Thank you so much for the price supports for our little business. If you ever need help with your hairline, you know where to go! Sincerely, Milo"
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:44 PM on February 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have no idea how you pronounce "Breathed".
posted by mr.marx at 1:52 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah. My favorite strip was when Steve Dallas, drunk out of his gourd, had a conversation with his conscience, manifested as a Tinkerbell-like flying fairy.

Which he crushed with an ashtray. "Bartender! Double!"
posted by dhartung at 2:13 PM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh man, thank you for this. In middle and high school, I was a huge Bloom County fan. Back when I was young and smart and optimistic. Before it all went to shit.

I still have my copies of the original collections - Loose Tails, etc. - in a box in the basement. Haven't read any of the strips in years. I know what I'm doing the rest of the night. Thanks.
posted by lost_cause at 2:15 PM on February 2, 2010


"A boy and his penguin!"
"A penguin and his boy!"
"Two dips and a dad."
posted by Flannery Culp at 2:17 PM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


one of my most memorable strips, which I can't find online, curse the luck, is when Steve Dallas is defending Bill The Cat from accusations that he gave government secrets to the USSR. and at the end of the trial, bill has so sabotaged his own defense that Steve basically gets up in front of the jury and reminds them of the "shadow of a reasonable doubt" thing and says something like "IF YOU CAN PROVE THAT THIS CAT WASN'T ABDUCTED LIKE ALIENS THAT LOOKED LIKE ELVIS DURING THE TIME HE'S ALLEGED TO HAVE DONE THIS, I'LL HANG HIM MYSELF!" or something. it was a long time ago. amazing shit.
posted by shmegegge at 2:20 PM on February 2, 2010


My other favorite is Milo fact-checking his story on Jimmy Hoffa. I don't have the book handy, but paraphrased:

- Senator Bedfellow, can you confirm that you buried Jimmy Hoffa in your backyard?
- What! No!
- OK, I'll go with 'Senator denies backyard is where he buried Hoffa'
- I don't know where Hoffa is!
- 'I lost the body', says Bedfellow
posted by Flannery Culp at 2:25 PM on February 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Milo answers the phone at the paper....

Mrs. Billsby: Hello? Is this the Bloom Beacon?
Milo: Good morning, Mrs. Billsby. How's the arthritis?
Mrs. Billsby: Fine, thank you. But you folks printed that I died.
Milo: That's impossible. We don't make mistakes on the obituary page, Mrs. Billsby.
Mrs. Billsby: But I'm looking at it right here.
Milo: Okay. Find some good light and read it to me slowly.
Mrs. Billsby: "Billsby slashes four, dies in cocaine brawl"
Milo: That's the front page, Mrs. Billsby.
posted by zarq at 2:36 PM on February 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oh god, the Bedfellow stuff was always fantastic

"Leaving a trail of slime wherever he goes..."
posted by quin at 2:42 PM on February 2, 2010


I think Bloom County was the first bit of pop culture I remember being around for and aware of the entire it's great/it's slipping a bit/it sucks arc.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:48 PM on February 2, 2010


I liked the Unshorn Sisters of the Apocalypse.
posted by not that girl at 2:50 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


i remember seeing that in a few recent Bloom County collections he re-edited and tweaked a bunch of strips. anyone know if that's the case with these collections? i'm reeeeeally hoping these are the originals.

Will somebody please answer this question? That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the announcement.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:53 PM on February 2, 2010


Damnit, I know every single quote people have dropped in this thread so far, and that is why picking up the first volume of the new compilation at B&N just about made me wet my pants, because there I had no idea there would be so much shit in there that I had never seen before. I never got Bloom County in the paper, only in the anthologies. Nice interview, and by all means check out the books even if you think you've seen it all.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:57 PM on February 2, 2010


I liked the Unshorn Sisters of the Apocalypse.

That's awesome. I remember them!
posted by zarq at 4:14 PM on February 2, 2010


I was looking at the customer submitted images on Amazon, and it looks like there may be a major quality issue with the collection.

Can anyone verify this?
posted by entropicamericana at 4:15 PM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


A bird... on the bass / A tongue... what a face! / At best, their music could be described as lame...
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 4:17 PM on February 2, 2010


In middle and high school, I was a huge Bloom County fan. Back when I was young and smart and optimistic. Before it all went to shit.

My dad was a huge Bloom County fan when I was a kid, and the books were always lying around the house, and when I was little I was one of those kids who enjoyed literacy so much that I read ingredients lists on cereal boxes. I read it obsessively, and first started paying attention to politics in order to figure out what the hell Milo and Binkley were talking about.

Back in 1999, when I first started participating in forums and the like, I used to use the username "limekiller", after the bum from Bloom County; I've only been "Pope Guilty" since about 2003.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:31 PM on February 2, 2010


I credit Bloom County with teaching me politics -- that, along with Pogo and a patient mom who would explain the jokes. It's Berkeley Breathed's fault that I campaigned for Dukakis in my front yard at age nine. Luckily for me, I had friends who would sing along with me, "We can't be late, we're de-le-gates! Hi ho, hi ho hi ho hi ho!"

Bloom County actually did teach me about the concept of drug legalization. The concept had never even occurred to me in my youth, before I read the strip wherein a drug dealer donates heavily to Bill the Cat's campaign (because he'd be "tough on drugs"). I've supported decriminalization to one extent or another ever since.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:44 PM on February 2, 2010


From a strip riffing on the then-big scandal about fake Hitler diaries:
Man, those Samoans are a surly bunch.
posted by John Smallberries at 4:45 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


i remember seeing that in a few recent Bloom County collections he re-edited and tweaked a bunch of strips. anyone know if that's the case with these collections? i'm reeeeeally hoping these are the originals.

The publisher's web site says, the books "...will collect nearly two years worth of daily and Sunday strips, in chronological order. This will be the very first time that many of these comic strips have been collected..." Breathed's web site says basically the same thing. This review says "word balloons that creator Berkeley Breathed had shortened or 'punched up' over the years have been changed back to their original wording for historical/author-wince-inducing purposes."

Also, this long interview with the book's editor has a lot of behind-the-scenes info.
RUSSELL: You've obviously had some obsessive readers -- me for one -- noticing some differences between the wording in a few of the strips you've collected and the strips published in the collections by Little/Brown. What was the decision process there?

DUNBIER: We used what we had in the source material. For instance, I told you we used that handmade collection one fan gave to Berkeley; that fan collection contained the strips published in newspapers. I went and checked the strips in our book against them, and that's how the strips were published.
...
In the first book, we were missing a lot of the original art, compared to what we have for the second and third book. What I suspect is that the printer's proofs contain a lot of the changes made at the syndicate level. Those changes may or may not have been made on the originals.... I don't know.

What I can tell you is that in the second book, we have almost every original. For instance, of all the dailies in the second book, we're only missing 47 originals out of nearly two years' worth. And then for the Sundays, we have 79 out of 92 original Sundays, and we have proofs for the other ones. And for Book 3, we have even more. Those will be closer in intent, I believe, to the way Berkeley had originally done them.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:52 PM on February 2, 2010


I think. Therefore ...
I am.
I am!
I think therefore I am alive! Alive with life, and thought and mind! Sweet consciousness! And immortal soul - - pop
posted by scruss at 5:06 PM on February 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ack.
posted by armage at 5:29 PM on February 2, 2010


Jerry Falwell-alike: Wife, I am home! Fix me a steak.

Wife: Fix it yourself Mr. Moral Majority, I'm tired.

JFA: Wife, your moral responsibility is to serve your husband. And I want dinner served. NOW.

JFA: Did you hear me? NOW!!!!

(Next frame, in the kitchen, JFA is standing in his boxer shorts squinting at a package)

JFA: Peel back corner of foil to expose tater tots...


(It occurs to me that this is the exact opposite of this XKCD . )
posted by mneekadon at 6:00 PM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think therefore I am alive! Alive with life, and thought and mind! Sweet consciousness! And immortal soul - - pop

This!

Also see: "AND TAKE THOSE 16 *$#%?! ELVES WITH YOU!"

and

"PROGRAMMABLE TOASTER OVENS! DID YOU HEAR ME? PROGRAMMABLE TOASTER OVENS!"


Full set here and here.
posted by zarq at 6:05 PM on February 2, 2010


(Next frame, in the kitchen, JFA is standing in his boxer shorts squinting at a package)

I remember that strip, wasn't it his wife who was putting the tater tots in?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:20 PM on February 2, 2010


How can a photograph go 'THBBPPT'?
posted by milquetoast at 6:22 PM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Caspar Weinberger link I posted earlier is borked. Here's the right one.
posted by zarq at 6:28 PM on February 2, 2010


If anyone's interested (and at the risk of self-linking), one of the last interviews I did in San Francisco was a lengthy and comprehensive two part podcast interview with Breathed: Part One and Part Two. It was scheduled for thirty minutes, but Breathed really wanted to talk. My prep work involved reading all of Bloom County, Outland, and his children's books in three crazed days. But there's much there on process, art, the origins of Oliver Wendell Jones, and surreal humanism.
posted by ed at 6:30 PM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


"The truth, Steve, is that Knight Rider is actually a children's program."
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 6:35 PM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


No mooning!
posted by armage at 6:53 PM on February 2, 2010


(Next frame, in the kitchen, JFA is standing in his boxer shorts squinting at a package)

I remember that strip, wasn't it his wife who was putting the tater tots in?


Pretty sure not. I had that strip on the corkboard by my desk for years. Trying to find a scan of it somewhere -- we'll have to look in that nifty new book, I guess.
posted by mneekadon at 7:00 PM on February 2, 2010


Ah, the guy's name was Otis Oracle. That strip should be in the first volume of the compilation, as he apparently disappeared after 1982.
posted by mneekadon at 7:07 PM on February 2, 2010


"The turnip twaddler was a low blow."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:09 PM on February 2, 2010


S'pose we're sharing this with Carol Burnett?
posted by Spatch at 7:20 PM on February 2, 2010


"Have you SEEN what's in your john?!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:38 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


That strip should be in the first volume of the compilation, as he apparently disappeared after 1982.

It is and I have it around here somewhere. I'll find it at some point and check it out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 PM on February 2, 2010


IF THE PROFESSOR CAN MAKE A MICROWAVE OUT OF TWO COCONUTS AND GILLIGANS HAT, WHY CAN'T HE FIX THE #&%^^ BOAT!!!!
posted by disclaimer at 7:53 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Otis was peeling back the wrapper. I scanned that strip, photoedited the text slightly (to fit a 100x100px frame) and made a simple icon for a friend to use on her LJ a number of years ago. When I get home, I'll post a link to it.
posted by zarq at 7:54 PM on February 2, 2010


Mars Needs Women
posted by mnb64 at 8:05 PM on February 2, 2010


"Ted Koppel is a waffle!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:26 PM on February 2, 2010


The icon. Very crappy quality.
posted by zarq at 8:26 PM on February 2, 2010


Reagan Calls Women 'America's Little Dumplins'
posted by chaff at 8:36 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks Zarq! Oop Ack!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:37 PM on February 2, 2010


My formal affiliation will always be the Meadow Party.
posted by Miko at 8:44 PM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


MY MISTRESS IS POOPED, THE REDS HAVE OKLAHOMA, AND I'M GOING TO BED.
posted by Spatch at 8:47 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Great Scott. They must have planted cantaloupes."

"36 pounds. 2'11". I don't wear any pants. Svelte, buoyant waterfowl."

"YAAAA!" PHOOSH!

"The Battle of Shady Creek..."
posted by zarq at 8:54 PM on February 2, 2010


You're welcome! Ack! Thbthth!
posted by zarq at 8:55 PM on February 2, 2010


Young Republicans have taken over a school and barricaded themselves in a building where Opus is.

Opus: Oh, Milo, it's awful..I've been captured by a mob of Young revolutionaries!

They seem to be mostly business students wearing tie-dyed polo shirts, getting stoned and beer and demanding severe cutbacks in social programs.

Oh, these crazy, idealistic kids, Milo!..

Protester: DONT' TRUST ANYONE UNDER 30K A YEAR!!!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 PM on February 2, 2010


Jedi knights don't wait 15 years for a sequel.
posted by zarq at 9:08 PM on February 2, 2010


Thanks for posting this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:24 PM on February 2, 2010


My formal affiliation will always be the Meadow Party.
posted by Miko
Milo at 13:44 PM on February 3 [!]

FTFY
posted by armage at 11:44 PM on February 2, 2010


The Death Star! Aaigh! Retreat!
posted by armage at 11:48 PM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


As someone who was an infant when Bloom County ended its run and who has somehow evaded living in a newspaper market that carries Opus all these years, I find this thread positively Markov Chain-ian.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:40 AM on February 3, 2010


…there are also those who know that life’s greatest joys are its minor triumphs. It is to this latter group that we dedicate that day in which the all-volunteer group of fearless snake slaughterers succeeded in beating senseless a battery cable from a ’73 Pinto.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 AM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Empress, I love that one. And this one too, from a few days earlier. :)
posted by zarq at 7:17 AM on February 3, 2010


dhartung: Ah. My favorite strip was when Steve Dallas, drunk out of his gourd, had a conversation with his conscience, manifested as a Tinkerbell-like flying fairy.

Bartender, I'll have twenty, count 'em twenty double martinis.
posted by zarq at 7:20 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn. How did it take me so long to discover GoComics.

"Have you seen what's in your john?" (More Dallas drunkenness)
posted by Burhanistan at 7:22 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Found it. Hairy Fishnuts.
posted by zarq at 7:36 AM on February 3, 2010


I ran over his toes. Twice.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:28 AM on February 3, 2010


My older brother had a Bill the cat doll. Best thing about it were the washing instructions. Typical, "wash in warm water", type stuff. Ended with "Hang dry. Do not iron tongue."
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:16 AM on February 3, 2010


I had this one on my cork-board for so long it's now in tatters and barely legible. Thanks for finding it.
posted by ambulocetus at 5:58 PM on February 3, 2010


That link doesn't go anywhere, ambulocetus.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:23 PM on February 3, 2010


I think it references Burhanistan's comment, here and this comic.
posted by zarq at 10:55 AM on February 4, 2010


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