Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Magnum Opus

The LA Times has an interesting article about Berkeley Breathed, creator of the beloved comic strip Bloom County. He talks about how young he was when he started writing Bloom County, and how he regrets the way he handled relationships with his fellow writers, including Gary Trudeau, Charles Schultz and Bill Watterson (who is like the J.D. Salinger of comics). He is pretty self-deprecating (he calls his first strips in college “embarrassing, offensive and juvenile”), but it's an interesting read. My favorite thing was learning that his home studio is modeled after the interior of the Nautilus, the submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Reading the article reminded me of how much I love Bloom County. My sister and I read every book when we were kids. We had Opus T-shirts. I also read some Doonesbury, but Bloom County appealed to me more at the time, because there was less talk about health care, and more puking and violence. I didn't understand half the references to Tammy Faye and Oral Roberts and Michael Dukakis (80s!) but it was still funny. I loved Milo and Binkley and Opus and Cutter John and Steve Dallas. It's just one of those things from childhood that, when you find out someone else was into it, you squeal and share memories.

Lately Breathed has written a number of popular children's books, which I hope are bringing joy to a whole new generation of readers, but I will always remember the good times, like when aliens reversed Steve Dallas' brain and he got a perm, or when Bill the Cat joined a cult, or when Opus was dating Lola Granola, and then they almost got married, but he accidentally punched her in the face with his nose when they kissed, and passed out instead. THAT IS ART, PEOPLE!

Berkeley Breathed - article on LA Times blog
Bloom County on Wikipedia

No comments: