Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Book Talk
Reload this Page >

Opus: 25 Years of His Sunday Best

Book Talk A Place To Discuss Books and Audiobooks

Opus: 25 Years of His Sunday Best

Old 10-28-04, 11:04 AM
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
DJLinus's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 8,990
Received 44 Likes on 39 Posts
Opus: 25 Years of His Sunday Best

Just thought all the Bloom County fans might want to know that there's a new collection out - Opus: 25 Years of His Sunday Best. Personally, I'm still hoping for a complete collection, a la The Far Side.

Cartoonist delivers his magnum 'Opus'
Mon Oct 25, 7:02 AM ET
By Kathy Balog Special for USA TODAY

In a country underscored by 15-second celebrity and bizarre political twists, few fictional characters have channeled our collective out-of-control insecurities better than Opus, the beleaguered, lumpy-billed Everypenguin at the center of Berkeley Breathed's comic parallel universe Bloom County.

When the landmark cartoon strip burst onto comics pages in 1981, the Cold War still raged, an ex-movie star occupied the Oval Office, and Donald Trump was a rising star. That's why today's release of the retrospective Opus: 25 years of His Sunday Best (Little, Brown, $29.95), which includes 215 strips, lends itself to wicked comparisons of what was then and what is now.

Consider: The strip's oddball cast of characters, who skipped between reality and the surreal, foreshadowed today's mainstream mix of fiction and truth, even down to their 1989 exit. Prophetically, the original comic strip ended when Trump, the future star of NBC reality show The Apprentice, buys the comic strip and tells Bloom County's cast: "You're fired."

Back then, pop culture references to current events were scarce, says Breathed, 47: "For topical humor in the media, you essentially had Doonesbury, Saturday Night Live and Johnny Carson (news)'s monologue. Today, we are tush-deep in snarky commentary on things that happened not last week, but a few minutes ago."

Breathed (rhymes with method) is no stranger to snarky. Few news events escaped mention in Bloom County. The arms race and religion in the classroom drew big story lines, public condemnation and a huge cult following. "Humor comes from confrontation not conciliation," says Breathed, something he sees mushrooming to nuclear proportions, courtesy of the Internet and cable TV's "instant punditry."

Eventually, Breathed says he "grew weary of looking for the negative in everything," and concentrated instead on other projects, including a less-demanding spinoff Sunday-only strip Outland, published collections of his early strips and a string of children's picture books. There are 8 million copies in print of Breathed's 19 books, and he has signed a Hollywood deal to bring Opus to the big screen, a project still in development.

When he returned to newspapers a year ago with his reinvented Sundays-only Opus, carried by 185 newspapers, about half the number of Bloom County at its height, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist found little innovation in the comics section. "It's hard to push the envelope anymore. If Bloom County were starting now, I could never get away with what I did then. I'm getting my hand slapped more than I ever was in the '80s. It's a genre that doesn't want to get shook up."

Asked to name a scandal he'd like to pounce on, he becomes circumspect. "Bill O'Reilly and his loofah mitt in the shower. Or the one where we invade the wrong country after being lied to, and it costs tens of thousands of lives. Either is just as fun, but people seem oddly more concerned with the former."

And while he continues to lob satire-laced bombs via Opus, Breathed concedes that "today's political environment is less an 'easy target' than it is one shot to living hell. I can't - don't want to - compete with this, especially only appearing weekly. So it's been a pleasure stepping back a bit. Not that Donald Trump gags don't live forever."

Asked to name his favorite strip, Breathed says, "The image that never fails to make me giggle like a Catholic school girl giggling at a dirty book" is from a recent strip: Opus dreams of meeting a beautiful island girl on a tropical beach, and it turns out to be Michael Jackson (news), who starts chasing him demanding "A snuggle." Opus runs for the hills screaming, "I'M SORRY I'VE GOT A WAFFLE BURNING!"

Says Breathed: "I put that image on the endpapers of the book, just to remind me that to an embarrassing extent, I can still manage to amuse myself."
Old 11-02-04, 08:25 AM
DVD Talk Special Edition
fuzzbox's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Boston
Posts: 1,178
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
I don;t know how this snuck under my radar, but I've got a 20% off Borders coupon that has Opus' name on it... :-)

Old 11-13-04, 08:09 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Somewhere on the 101
Posts: 190
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh my goodness, do I ever feel old...25 years!?
Old 11-14-04, 01:43 PM
DVD Talk Limited Edition
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: east texas
Posts: 5,473
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
bloom county is my favorite all time comic strip and this is from someone who was born in 1975 so i wasn't very old when it first ran but i understood it anyway. i would LOVE for this to be collected ala far side.
Old 11-22-04, 05:14 PM
DVD Talk Limited Edition
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Memphis, TN
Posts: 5,612
Received 18 Likes on 8 Posts
I just had the jaw dropping realization that Steve Dallas cleaned up his act and is now President.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.