Opus to End (Not That I Noticed He Returned!)

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 7, 2008 in Comic Books |


The 80s were the perfect time for Bloom County as Doonesbury hit a high point in the 70s — the time was right for a comic strip that was sophisticated and geeky yet silly. Berkeley Breathed wasn’t afraid to have a Star Trek reference yet his work was very “user friendly” at the same time (sort of like Pogo). But all good things come to an end and Breathed pulled the plug on the strip in 1989 — so along with New Wave music the strip sort of represented the 80s to me.

Now sadly since about the year 2000 I’ve stopped reading physical newspapers — I get all of my news via the web. Around NYC the only paper who has a decent comics section is the Daily News, and the few times when I’m looking at the Sunday papers in print the New York Times just sort of sucks you in. So I was pretty surprised to learn that five years ago Breathed brought back Opus as a strip!

To me bringing back Opus was a mistake so I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything. It’s sort of like going to a reunion show for a cherished band from a previous era — you just know in your heart it’s never going to be quite as good the second time around. Of course a more fanboy example of this would be the poor job Lucas has done on the last trio of Star Wars — no matter how much work is put into special effects, it just won’t feel the same as the first time you watched it. So I salute retiring Opus:

Berkeley Breathed says goodbye to Opus: ‘I’m destroying the village to save it’

“Berkeley Breathed is putting his penguin on ice. The 51-year-old cartoonist said he will pull the plug on his comic-strip career and “Opus” after Nov. 2. In an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times, the 51-year-old Breathed wrote, “30 years of cartooning to end. I’m destroying the village to save it. Opus would inevitably become a ranting mouthpiece in the coming wicked days, and I respect the other parts of him too much to see that happen. The Michael Moore part of me would kill the part of him that was important to his fans.”

“Opus,” a 5-year-old Sunday comic with a madcap political bent, stars the pudgy penguin from Breathed’s classic “Bloom County” strip. It will end just before the presidential election.”

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