Posts tagged Opus
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Man, do I ever miss Bloom County. This book, though, isn’t Bloom County. It’s more of a reminder of what was a “golden age” of comic strips. And by golden age, I mean golden age in MY lifetime. There are comics that predate me (Peanuts, etc.) that are just as legendary.
But I digress.
As a kid who never understood the joys of the sports page, I would gravitate to the comics section of the Sunday newspaper each and every week. So my childhood and teens were spent on a solid diet of Berkeley Breathed and Bill Watterson. When Bloom County ended, I had the last strip cut out of my local newspaper, mounted on poster board, and pinned it up on the wall next to my Apple IIc.
I miss Bloom County.
Opus is a Sunday only comic that ran in the new millennium while print media was slowly spiraling into oblivion. As bad as political correctness was in the nineties, the past decade has taken the American mindset to such an extreme need for sanitized entertainment that it would have been impossible for Breathed to recreate the magic of Bloom County again… but dammit, he tried.
This book just missed the mark for me, though. Aside from the obvious limitations that newspapers put on the strip (there were at least three or four strips that noted that an alternate strip was sent along with it “just in case” the newspaper opted not to run it due to it’s controversial content,) there were a couple of things that the book as whole did that made it less enjoyable.
1. A Lack of Notes: In the previous Bloom County and Outland volumes, Berkley Breathed and his editor would occasionally offer pop culture insight or side stories at the bottom of random strips. That is sorely missing from this volume.
2. Cohesion in Storytelling: Breathed did this in the beginning (introduced Steve Dallas appearing along with other characters,) but later in the narrative he just gave up. Binkley just shows up… the same age. No explanation. Oliver has a cameo and, again, no explanation. I know it’s just a comic strip – but this bothered me for some reason.
I enjoyed reading the book for the feeling of closure. In the end, though, “Opus” just serves as a reminder of how great Bloom County was by showing that there couldn’t be a Bloom County again.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I miss Bloom County. I recently discovered a wonderful collection of books being published that give access to the complete collection of comic strips that I remember reading when newspapers were still relevant. (This is, for the record, something I wish someone would do with comic books that are worth giving a shit about.)
Outland was Berkely Breathed’s return to the characters he created in Bloom County (with some random additions) that allowed him to write the same stuff but only on Sundays.
Bill’s there. Opus is there. Even Steve Dallas eventually appears… and (in the end) [SPOILER ALERT] turns out to be gay.
I loved reading Outland and I look forward to the Opus collection that comes afterwards. If I had to give any sort of criticism, though, it would be this: consistency. The strip started trying NOT to be Bloom County 2.0 by throwing in characters like Ronald-Ann (who was introduced in Bloom County as a set up for Outland) and Mortimer Mouse. By halfway through the collection, though, they (and others) had all but disappeared and were replaced by Bloom County favorites that had resurfaced.
I didn’t mind the return of the B.C. characters, but the phasing out of the other characters just seemed unceremonious.
In the end, though, this book did not suck.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In late elementary school and middle school I suffered from an overabundance of intelligence made worse by my insatiable addiction to reading. Unlike most of my peers in the geek industry, I wasn’t really into comic books. I read some Star Wars (because it was STAR WARS) and the occasional limited series (like Transformers, which after the limited series, was NOT a limited series.) I read books without pictures… with two notable exceptions:
Bloom County and Calvin & Hobbes.
Over the past few months I read all five volumes of “The Bloom County Library.” Doing so was amazing for two reasons:
1. NOSTALGIA. Before the Internet, pop culture existed in print. Bloom County reflected the world of celebrity, technology, commercialism, and politics similar to the snark of today’s websites and memes. It was intelligent, funny, and you can’t go wrong with seeing the world through the eyes of a hypersensitive penguin. My favorite? The adventures of hacker and online pirate Oliver wreaking havoc via a dial up model on a monochrome monitor.
2. COMMENTARY. Berkeley Breathed took the time to add anecdotes on various comics in the library. Some of them have to do with eighties pop culture. Others have to do with his processes as a writer and artist and his dealings with the newspaper industry.
Watching old movies brings back memories. Reading something as insightful as Bloom County brings back more than just the memories; it immerses you in an era.
I am glad I own these because I *will* read them again.