I rejoiced yesterday upon hearing the news that my favorite cartoon from high school had rebooted. Yes folks, cartoonist Berke Breathed has re-discovered his mojo and Bloom County is back and hotter than ever. More hi-jinks from Milo Bloom, Mike Binkley, Steve Dalls, Cutter John, Oliver Wendell Jones, Portnoy, Hodge-Podge, and of course, Opus and Bill the Cat. All in time for the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections. Golly, it feels like 1985 around here again.
I was a big fan of Bloom County during my high school days. No, you don’t get it. A really big fan. How big? I owned all of the Bloom County cartoon strip books that were released at the time. I owned several Bloom County t-shirts. My stuffed Opus went to every gig and sat upon my guitar amplifier. I spent time in class daydreaming and drawing pictures of Opus to pass the time. The above picture is a snapshot of all of the Bloom County books that remain in my possession from my high school days. I was big fan, indeed.
Bloom County ended in 1989 and that seems altogether fitting. For me, no comic strip more perfectly embodies and critiques the 1980s than Bloom County. The references are so completely “of their time” that it is difficult to read them in any way other than as an 80s time capsule.
People wax rhapsodic over Garry Trudeau and his Doonesbury comic but, for my taste, Bloom County was always so much more enjoyable. Trudeau always seemed like he was aggressively grinding an ax in every strip. Breathed was grinding an ax too, but also did so with more levity, absurdity, and winsomeness. After all, no comic strip displayed the absurdity of the Cold War than when Oliver Wendell Jones hacked into the Pravda computers and changed the headline to read, “Gorbachev Sings Tractors: Turnip! Buttocks!”
Welcome back, Mr. Breathed and Bloom County. I’m looking forward to a Billy and the Boingers reunion tour and a resurgence of hair metal any day now.