I recently picked up the final Berkley Breathed collection, a compilation of his very very old and very very early Academia Waltz comics. I find the the further you back you reach into Breathed’s oeuvre, the (1) more blatantly it rips off Doonesbury and (2) the funnier it is. And sure enough: The Academia Waltz collection reminds me a lot of Trudeau’s Yale comics from the ’60s and ’70s, except with fewer instances of sexual assault as a punchline.
I was actually deeply impressed with the very first comic in the collection….
…which neatly skewered hypocrites who whine about the “friend zone” 35-odd years ago.
Alas that pretty much everything he’s penned over the past 25 years or so has amounted to “damn kids and Muslims.” What is it about humorists that causes so many of them to calcify into miserable curmudgeons? I mean, heck, just look at me… and I’m not even a humorist.
6 thoughts on “A stopped waltz”
Are you even reading his new stuff on Facebook? It’s fantastic! :)
I’ve read a few and they all came across with the same bitter tone as his Outland and Opus comics.
Many from the last few weeks are less bitter? Unless Milo has a speaking role of course.
My guess for the whole calcification thing is that almost all of these people have serious undiagnosed mental health issues, and as the years wore on, it was hard to not lash out against proxies for what is driving them nuts.
Well that’s depressing.
Comedians by their nature observe things with a lot of detail so as to find the funny within. That level of observation is going to reveal the dark parts of our world and over time that eats away at you and makes you bitter. Much of Bloom County’s humour came from poking fun at the ridiculous elements of 80s America. He needed to be somewhat cynical to even notice that. Some blissfully naïve guy that takes everything at face value couldn’t make those observations in the first place.
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