I’ve been working my way through all those Berkley Breathed hardcover comic compilations that have been coming out over the past couple of years. Bloom County was a heck of a comic. The ’80s in a nutshell.
My favorite part of my rereading of these books came a few months back when I first embarked on this long-term endeavor. In a totally unrelated event, I was at the grocery store, and I noticed a clerk’s nametag that said, “Haig.” “Wasn’t ‘Haig’ the name of some political figure a while back?” I wondered to myself.
When I got home, apropos of nothing, I randomly picked up the first volume of The Complete Bloom County and thought, “I should finally read these things.” A few pages in, I came across… a reference to Al Haig, who the footnotes mentioned was the former Secretary of State. Mystery solved. That was one of those events you have to file under “coincidence, hell of a.”
Anyway, I’m into the Outland collection now, which unlike Bloom County I’ve never really read — my local paper didn’t pick up Outland. So the comic above was something I’d never seen before. But it dazzled me, because I had no idea that Breathed had made the Maxfield Parrish-esque cover of a Bloom County collection from years before — Penguin Dreams and Stranger Things — into legit comic canon.
Minus the cadaverous Michael Binkley, of course.
4 thoughts on “Stranger things”
I’ve never heard of Bloom County, but I remember seeing that penguin in a strip not too many years ago called Opus. The only thing about it that I can recall is the penguin seemed to be going insane at the end of the strip and ended up in some kind of kennel, I think. It was weird seeing that next to Snuffy Smith.
These hardcovers are great; I’m finishing up the “Opus” collection now. It’s interesting to see characters drift in and out of the various strips — you never know who’s going to show up.
The 90’s were the apex of the newspaper comic strip. Outland, Calvin & Hobbes, the early Get Fuzzy & Fox Trot, the comic era is loooooong gone now.
I once dressed up as Opus for Halloween in the 5th grade. Yes, I did win that year’s award for best costume, but everyone thought I was a penguin.
I haven’t read anything outside of Opus stuff, but I’ve heard great things. I gotta get on that.
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