‘Bloom County’ began its epic (and its Opus) 30 years ago

Dec. 12, 2010 | 12:00 p.m.

bloom 1 Bloom County began its epic (and its Opus) 30 years ago

bloom 2 Bloom County began its epic (and its Opus) 30 years ago

Last week marked an anniversary I didn’t want to see slip by without mentioning — it was 30 years ago that “Bloom County” began its run as a maverick force in the world of comic strips and a newcomer named Berkeley Breathed gave a new generation (my generation, to be specific) a strip that had the sociopolitical mojo of “Doonesbury”  and daft, surreal whimsy as well as the heartfelt energy that would clearly inform the magical run of  “Calvin &  Hobbes,” which trailed “Bloom” by five years.

bloom 3 Bloom County began its epic (and its Opus) 30 years ago
bloom 4 Bloom County began its epic (and its Opus) 30 years ago

I grew up in south Florida and fell in love with newspapers by reading the Miami Herald, which had one of the most personality-packed staffs in America — crime reporter Edna Buchanan, future bestelling novelist Carl Hiaasen, humorist Dave Barry and sports-page graybeard Edwin Pope. Fitting right in with the paper’s ethos was Breathed’s syndicated strip, and without a doubt, the frequent journalism imagery within its panel influenced my path, which began in eighth grade when I wrote a story for the Pines Middle School student newspaper. The topic? How to collect and grade comic books. There was a photo with it of me holding an issue of “X-Men” with a glorious Neal Adams cover. We can all see where that led …

bloom 5 Bloom County began its epic (and its Opus) 30 years ago

bloom 6 Bloom County began its epic (and its Opus) 30 years ago

Anyway, happy anniversary to Breathed and thanks to IDW Publishing, which has been reprinting the old “Bloom” strips in wonderful collections that clearly have been put together with care and affection by IDW editor Scott Dunbier. The books make great Christmas gifts if you know someone who still smiles when thinking of newsprint mornings, talking penguins and Walter Mondale jokes…

– Geoff Boucher

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