Berkeley Breathed says goodbye to Opus: ‘I’m destroying the village to save it’

Oct. 06, 2008 | 9:04 p.m.

OpusEXCLUSIVE

Berkeley Breathed is putting his penguin on ice. The 51-year-old cartoonist said he will pull the plug on his comic-strip career and “Opus” after Nov. 2.

In an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times, the 51-year-old Breathed wrote, “30 years of cartooning to end. I’m destroying the village to save it. Opus would inevitably become a ranting mouthpiece in the coming wicked days, and I respect the other parts of him too much to see that happen. The Michael Moore part of me would kill the part of him that was important to his fans.”

“Opus,” a 5-year-old Sunday comic with a madcap political bent, stars the pudgy penguin from Breathed’s classic “Bloom County” strip. It will end just before the presidential election.

Berkeley_breathed_and_opus Breathed, who won a Pulitzer Prize for “Bloom County,” also writes screenplays, novels and children’s books. In a press release from the Washington Post Writers Group, which syndicates “Opus,” he said, “With the crisis in Wall Street and Washington, I’m suspending my comic strip to assist the nation. The best way I can help is to leave politics permanently and write funny stories for America’s kids. I call on John McCain to join me.”

“Opus” will end with an online contest asking readers to guess the fate of the penguin. At Breathed’s website there is a notice that “The Opus Paradise Contest” begins Oct. 12. The Times has not yet decided on a replacement for “Opus” on Sundays.

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Comments


102 Responses to Berkeley Breathed says goodbye to Opus: ‘I’m destroying the village to save it’

  1. Allen g says:

    I don't think you could read any of Mr. Breathed's strips and think he was a republican.

    • CLBrown says:

      Really? I've read every singe one and I doubt, very much, that he's an avowed Democrat.

      See, what you're doing is looking at Mr. Breathed's ability to point out absurdity and pretense… and since you, it seems, see that ONLY on the "other side of the aisle," you assume he's inevitably supporting YOUR POSITION (since you see yourself as lacking pretense and being very reasonable, and you see the other side as being full of pretense and being absurd).

      The reality is that he was never offensive, or overly aggressive, and was an equal-opportunity absurdist. Unlike, say, Gary Trudeau, who promotes his (and his wife's) extreme-left agenda at all times.

      I assume, frankly, that Mr. Breathed is one of those folks who refuses to join a party at all. His strips make it quite clear how silly he finds the entire "party system."

      And I suspect that what he was talking about, above, was his desire to avoid "stripping" during what he saw, rightly as becoming the most partisan time in the USA since the Civil War.

      That he mentioned Michael Moore's behavior as an undesirable trait DOES say, at least, that he's still discerning and observant… and I applaud him for, unlike so many others, choosing to withdraw from the battlefield rather than allowing himself to be corrupted. (Are you listening, Mr. Trudeau?)

  2. tom w. says:

    NO…… this is one of the few good strips left. WHY??????
    I thought he was kidding with the recent story line.
    This sucks

  3. John Frumm says:

    I take it this guy is republican, and he feels if Obama is elected his comic would inevitably become a ranting mouthpiece in the coming wicked days?

  4. Chinatown says:

    Ok all i got to say is this
    its the robots people
    let me take you to the year 2002
    notice something fnny? you should. alien robot overlords took over the planet
    now they are experimenting with different market holy actCHRISTIASNdBALEOM

  5. JOhn Beaty says:

    Actually, he's always been an equal-opportunity mocker of pretentiousness, both Democrat and Republican. But he also has tremendous respect for his fans and his characters.
    It's worth finding the BLoom County books: them's good readin'!

  6. Brian S. says:

    John Frumm, that is exactly the kind of thinking that has energized the conservative base of the GOP into accepting sub-mediocrity. Good luck with that strategy.

  7. Dan R. says:

    @ John Frumm
    That's not what it looks like to me, considering he called on John McCain to join him in quitting, and going to write children's books.

  8. Tom says:

    I highly doubt it John Frumm. He'll go out hammering on conservatives, Republicans, the Bush administration, Christians, etc. and do his best to ensure Obama wins the presidential election. His prior illustrations, the strip's themes, the timing of his departure, and the fact that the strip appears on the FRONT page of Comics 2 in the Times GUARANTEES that he wants to unload everything and all available venom to impact the election for the Dems as greatly as possible.

  9. Bocephus H says:

    It's okay buddy, no one reads your comic anyway.

  10. Nelson Jones says:

    I've always hated opus. the commentary is obvious and more or less redundant, the punchlines aren't smart or even funny. The whole thing stinks up half the philly inq's front page with its air of superiority and a smugness usually reserved for people who have actually given something worthwhile to its fans. I'd rather read Cathy.

  11. Fred Garvin says:

    Breathed is simply being Breathed with the John McCain comment. I miss Bloom County and will likewise miss Opus. What's next, Doonesbury going away? To the bookstore!!

  12. Jim says:

    "The Times has not yet decided on a replacement for 'Opus' on Sundays" — hmm, based on current trends in the Times (and in newspapers in general), I have a feeling that the "replacement" will be a reduction in size of the Times's Sunday comics section(s). The editors will shrink the printed size of the remaining strips and cut the amount of "Kids' Reading Room" content somewhat, and the comics will go from 8 total pages down to 6.

  13. Mary J Davis says:

    I think it is really selfish of you to give up now. The public (me, I) supported you for many, many years. Now you are just slinging the pen at us when things are getting difficult? I am your age, and I feel like "For Better or Worse" totally let us down in the "Worse" department, and Opus is letting us down when the going gets tough. What's with you guys? I actually buy the paper for the comics. Should I just throw in the towel? I am not going to buy any more of your books. Sorry you feel better with Disney, but hey, life is life- it isn't Disney. MJD

  14. Lassie says:

    I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned here at all that BB is suffering from a very painful medical condition. I forgot what it's called but it involves a spasm of the neck. It's very painful for him to physically draw his strip now.
    Besides, there's nothing and no one out there to satirize any more. Think back to the 70's and 80's – Nixon among them….BB has been at it for a long time and I can't blame him for calling it quits.
    I still own a plush stuffed Opus with detachable "antlers" with Xmas bulbs hanging from them, and Opus still goes in a place of honor under the tree every year. Bye, little buddy.

  15. al colby says:

    Why….!!! Like someone else has said, Opus is the best comic strip. One of the few reasons why I still by the paper news. Darn it!!!!!

  16. MH says:

    Good riddance. Opus needs to be set free from Berk's self-righteous attitude.

  17. FreeTHinker says:

    I remember reading Bloom County when it was penned by Berk Breathed. Somewhere along the line, a guy who can draw funny pictures convinced himself that what he had to say was really importtant. The cartoons lost the wit and became parodies of their self-absorbed creator. The same guy who foisted a spastic cat on us expect a lament for his exit. Sorry pal. Good riddance to your simplistic tripe.

  18. Andy p says:

    As much as I've loved Bloom County and Outland I have to admit I think this is a good decision on his part. During his run on 'Opus' I've seen his writing turn from breezy yet cutting social satire to ham-fisted political cartooning. He used to have to have a deft touch with his political strips, but 'Opus' is just a blunt weekly rant. To borrow a phrase from Obama, Breathed is working with a hatchet where he used to wield a scalpel.
    I don't mean that to come off so harsh because Bloom County and Outland are among the best comics ever made, easily up there with Krazy Kat, Little Nemo, Peanuts, and Calvin & Hobbes.

  19. Yeah, yeah, B.B. Not the first time you've retired. Let's see if you can make it stick this time. Try watercolors–it seems to have worked for Watterson (sadly).
    Oh well, maybe this means we can get Brevity back.

  20. Carl says:

    Finally. Frankly that comic strip sucked.

  21. Peterjoshua says:

    NO MORE OPUS? Say it isn't so! I live for the last page of the Sunday comics where its located. I relish each frame, each statement………I have 5 of the Bloom County books,,,that I have reread (not unlike Gone with the WInd). This must be one of those demons from MY insecurity closet/nightmare closet. I mean, you just kind of think that somethings will always be there………..Doonesbury…………..OPUS………….porn……..
    I will never be able to throw myself down naked in a field of flowers with quite the same abandonement……….
    Sniff,,,,Sigh,,,,,,Sniff……..I haven't felt this betrayed since the Milli Vanilli scandal!

  22. Jeff Parker says:

    All I can say to Berkeley Breathed is Thank You.
    I enjoyed Bloom County through high school and university. I remember hanging many from the Sunday papers on the door or refrigerator through the years. Good times.
    Any talk from folks about Breathed being selfish is selfish in its own right. (Who do you serve?)
    Remember, ending a party before it turns lame makes for the best memories.
    Thanks again for countless memories, Breathed.

  23. Karl Ross says:

    This strip died a long time ago. At least the Richmond newspaper (Times-Dispatch) had the good sense to move it to the inside pages on Sunday, rather than wasting the front page of the comics section.

  24. Jenn says:

    This is a sad fate for Opus and the Crew, but I respect the author's decision. I myself have been a loyal fan since day one. Nothing beats today's chaos like a dose of comic reality and imaginative interpretation. Mr. Breathed deserves a standing ovation for his loyalty to the strip, the characters and us and for keeping it real throughout the criticism and hardships of being a strip man. Congratulations, Berkeley, on being able to make me laugh, snicker, chuckle, kafaw, and smile about the going to hell in a hand basket world we're in. And thanks for giving me something to relate to when the normal didn't seem normal to me. Glad to know I'm not the only one. Cheers!

  25. George Kaplan says:

    Thank God. Let's hope he sticks at retiring this time. I rather doubt it, though–there's still a market for Opus toys.

  26. Roger says:

    Note to Times: Here's an opportunity to replace a dull and predictable political strip with something funny (think "Mutts"). Thank you for going away Mr. Breathed.

  27. auramac says:

    If he's anti- McCain, we need Opus even if Obama wins, which better happen or else I will follow Timothy Leary's advice to drop out of this rapidly deteriorating, conservative, racist, sports-obsessed 15 minutes of fame society. To preserve my own sanity, I will have to avoid anything and anyone who would even consider as rational a tattooed-lipsticked white trash pig such as Sarah Palin. That includes friends and family. You and those institutions are all dead to me if that's where your racist butts are at.

  28. kyle says:

    @ john frumm:
    Are you wholly unfamiliar with Mr. Breathed's work, or are you being facetious?

  29. john frumm is popula says:

    The Michael Moore side of him and the crisis on Wall Street? Read this link before it's pulled down. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9c

  30. Bill Hoffman says:

    Opus was my class mascot, I graduated in 1988….***waves goodbye to an old friend***

  31. Jerry D says:

    Pear pimples for hairy fishnuts?

  32. Barbara McCullough says:

    This Great-Grandma is really going to miss you..

  33. TJ Edwards says:

    I am only three days older than Mr. Breathed and I met him very briefly once. I've loved the stuff he's come up with, and got a kick out of how often we seemed to have some interests or thoughts in common. I was heartbroken when he ended Bloom County and thrilled when he brought back Opus, though it's never been quite as satisfying as the good old days. He seems to have a detachment to the characters we love. I can only hope he can give his most loyal followers an ending that wouldn't hurt any more than the ending itself. Charles Schulz chose not to give his fans a happy closure (letting Charlie Brown finally kick the football) perhaps because he felt he wasn't getting a happy ending himself. I can only hope Mr. B will return Opus to the one place we would most like to remember him: surrounded by all his old friends, happily at home in the dandelion patch of Bloom County.

  34. John Warner says:

    One of the four best strips in the paper. I will miss it.
    J. Warner

  35. I can't believe you guys didn't get the joke about John McCain. Mr. Breathed is retiring, and he's calling on Mr. McCain to join him! Laugh a little, people!

  36. brian b. banko says:

    Ya know what?…everyone should retire sometime,so good luck hope ya have fun,but what are we gonna do without OPUS?????

  37. Shirley Laukhuff says:

    I am very sad about not being able to see and read about Opus. That was the highlight of my Tuesday morning read!!! Wish all the luck to Mr. Breathed in the Future and thank him for all he does for dogs and (cats) that need good homes!!.

  38. Steve says:

    After the Far Side, and then the crushing loss of Calvin and Hobbes, I'm gradually learning to be grateful for the work these people have done. The creativity, the insight, the satire and the heart of Breathed and Watterson are inspiring on good days, and comforting on bad ones.

  39. Shooshie says:

    Thanks for 30 years of great cartooning. Hang the false modesty and Trudeau's accusations (which you freely admit to); you're one of the all time great cartoonists, Berke! Don't worry; we'll always have your books, and I'm happy not to have to divide them between "before" and "after." It made me sad to see Walt Kelly become so morose and affected by political tripe which few of us now remember. His early strips were so light and carefree, with just the right edge of political irony — you can still read those books and laugh; not his later ones. Johnny Hart — another great cartoonist — became offensively evangelistic in his later years. I guess that's one other unacceptable alternative to aging with politics. It's a rare cartoonist who can maintain his edginess in his late years without ending up in one of the pits of aged self-absorption and disgust with the weakness of man, which become so clear after seeing it repetitively for so long. So I congratulate you for following the path chosen by the wise ones — Watterson and Larson, to name …umm… the other two. That is, retire when it's still mourned by the fans and celebrated by the witless.

  40. Mary Ann says:

    When you lived in Albuquerque, Opus was looking for his mother. I wrote to you and offered to adopt Opus. Never heard from you. Heart breaking.
    Now you're searching for a paradise for the boy. Send him to me. I will cherish him forever.

  41. IAN says:

    Bloom County is famous for retiring this comic forever – and then resurrecting it as some crazy incarnation (Outland, anyone?). Still, it makes me kinda sad … an era gone, forever?

  42. KSJ says:

    All good things come to an end.
    Those who don't like Opus obviously aren't bright enough to 'get it.'
    It is/was brilliant.
    To the happy place!

  43. KSJ says:

    All good things come to an end.
    Those who don't like Opus obviously aren't bright enough to 'get it.'
    It is/was brilliant.
    To the happy place!

  44. AT says:

    I have been a loyal Opus follower since discovering Bloom County in 1982. I am sad to see the strip finish but "all good things do come to and end".
    I hope Mr Breathed will end his leagcy with the dignity it deserves. I wish him and his family all the best in his new career path. I also want to take this opportunity to thank him for the laughs and the opportunity to see a poem rhyme with Casper Weinberger.
    Opus will alwasy have a spot on my bookshelf.
    Goodbye old Freind.

  45. Jerrold Cohen says:

    Nelson Jones, I have always read Opus. I have always looked forward to it. I never read Cathy. I get exhausted even thinking of reading Cathy.

  46. Latven says:

    Even for this Republican, Opus is a classy comic and one I enjoyed from its earlest days in ABQ. Berk is one of the few comics whose political satire is subtle and in a way intellectual – Yeah, lefties, it was also elite (but not elitist). Doones has become harsh this latter cycle and Trudeau bitter (as most of the press has) and will do or say anything – true or not – to slime over a true American like McCain, in order to get their know-nothing-about-him-'cept-he's-******. (Like to get this by the port moderators over at the LAT.)
    Compare BB's non vicious way he pokes fun at the right while respecting what's due (Mrs. Reagon's portrait) and campare him to the spate of bludgeons that has sprouted recently swung by those intellects like Lalo Acaraz (La Cucaracha) and Darrin Bell (Candorville) and of course, at the top of the LAT page Trudeau himself. Berk never had to crawl into the gutter to get his point across and in the present, to get his maan (sic) elected.

  47. Jim Rota says:

    When Berke Breathed decided to stop publishing Bloom County in 1989 it inspired me to write a tribute song to Bloom County called The Dandelion Patch. I have since recorded this song and now it appears relevant again. You can view it on youtube.com or go to unifiedtheory.com. Here is the youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gU6x9SHKeg

  48. kevin kelly says:

    Dear Cartoonist:
    I humbly ask that you reconsider a permanent ban. Although you may have gotten as Jerry G would say, "Old and in the Way" please remember that the shrinks believe reading the comics first in the newspaper helps tremendously in dealing with the rest of the paper before it hits the recycle bin. Take a break if you wish but I think you'll see that if Tuesday's outcome is as you believe there will be more to "draw on" than you might expect. Having a go at our next Irish president O'Bama isn't a racist exercise. I hope I'm wrong about this but something tells me you're fearful of being accused a racist..that would be beyond sad. Listen up Pilgrim I'm a registered conservative since 1976 and will find things less enjoyable without Opus or Bill or whoever srikes your fancy. Take a break but don't leave the adults behind.

  49. Dawson says:

    Wow I just got the Sunday paper went to the sit it said and had another part my child hood die.

  50. Jeff Chell says:

    I agree with Kevin Kelly that my world will be less enjoyable without Opus or Bill or Steve and all the rest of Mr. Breathed's wonderful cartoon world. Take whatever time you need, sir, but don't stop sharing your humor and love of life with all of us who have come to appreciate it so much! Perhaps a continued mix of new and classics, like Lynn Johnston's "For Better or Worse". Please? And a belated thank you for so many wonderful laughs from years past.

  51. franco says:

    Spending eternity (perhaps with Lola) at Milo's Meadow — "the universal path to inner peace" — would have been most approriate to the 28-year storyline of Opus. But stuck napping in a childrens' book for eternity? No way! Seems like Berk sacrificed Opus at the marketing altar of his children's books career. Shameless!

  52. paige b says:

    i cant believe this it is so wrong. please dont pull the plug

  53. Tina says:

    Goodnight Moon, with Steve reading it…with what appears as a smile…I can see his eyes and his face glowing…lovely.
    Thank you…one of the strips I looked forward to reading on my quiet Sunday mornings…my best to you and your new endeavors. To look in the past is depression, to the future is anxiety…only the present is peace!

  54. Rita says:

    I am very sad on this day to see my friend Opus go away. But I appreciate and respect Mr. Breathed's care and compassion for his readers and his country. Once this craziness in the world subsides (I have to believe and hope it will) I would love to see Opus return in some fashion. Meanwhile, best of luck with your other endeavors, Mr. Breathed. I am certain the freshness, rigor and thoughtfulness you've put into Bloom County and Opus will benefit many children (and adults who still like to play) worldwide. Sincerely, thank you.

  55. JD Adams says:

    This is sad… a part of me just died. And certainly the only, ONLY reason for receiving the The AZ Republic, or any local newsrag, is now gone. I have every book published, have read them all, and have followed Opus and the gang for decades. I wdmit… I not only looked forward to this Sunday respite, but I needed it. It was the only thing about the world today laughable. Opus and Steve and the others from the past just made it easier to accept the harsh realitites of today and tomorrow.
    To the clowns who attempt on here to argue whether the author is Republican or Democrat, and what his political bent is, or was, get a life. You're the same morons who argue over Republicans and Democrats, who to vote for, who's the better of the worst… lol… and then whine when things never change. GET A LIFE. You'd be just as well off voting for Opus. Actually, not a bad idea. Put Opus in the White House, and make Steve Dallas Sec. of State. Beats the hell out of what we're facing now.. a choice of crooks and thieves. This world would be a hell of alot better off with Opus as President. At least we could laugh as the empire crashes down around us.
    Thank you for the life you to Opus and his buddies… in doing so… you made millions of people smile every Sunday. Not bad…

  56. herb wilkinson says:

    More than any mundane critique of the world, I would like to thank Mr. Breathed for allowing me over two decades to try to forget what news was in the rest of the newspaper by allowing for a little while live in the world of Opus, Steve Dallas, Bill the Cat and friends. Even the suffering of waiting forty years for a Red Sox world series win was made bearable by the ability to join the Breated clan in whatever village they took me to, so it is with a sad, yet greatful heart, that I bid them adieu.

  57. Michael Brodeur says:

    I guess that now I'll never get it..that last chance didn't cut it either, good drawing though. The future is where we are headed with or without Opus and McCain. It's too bad you couldn't hang in there like the rest of us.

  58. V Kemper says:

    BILL THE CAT FOR PRESIDENT!

  59. Abby Hoover says:

    I'm very sad to see Opus go. That was one of my favorite comics in the Sunday Paper. The poor little penguin… anyways, if Breathed thought Opus was going to go down the crapper, I'm glad he ended it when he did.

  60. Kathleen says:

    I'm so sad. I sure will miss Opus!
    Thanks Berkeley for the fun and wild ride!

  61. A Weir says:

    Steve, Opus and Goodnight Moon…brought tears to my eyes. Opus, you brought coolness to the nerd in all of us.

  62. Xydexx says:

    Longtime Bloom County/Outland/Opus fan. Thanks for all the memories, Mr. Breathed. Be well.

  63. G Whitcher says:

    Thank you Mr. Breathed for the joy you've given in during your career. To Opus, Steve, et. al…….God Speed.

  64. alison baxter says:

    Oh dear. Another lovely one gone — yes it is sad. I love cartoons and my faves have stopped. I now enjoy the rerun of FBorW, and Doones is not quite the same but I still get it. I'm way over in Australia and get my cartoons through a cartoon site and pay for the privilege of doing so – well worth it. I have seen political cartoons and learned a lot about the USofA etc. Much better source of the truth than the TV news or newspapers (specially here in Aus!) I don't read the papers and don't watch TVnews for those reasons. But cartoons, especially ones that make you laugh, are the best indicator of how the majority of humans in USA/Canada feel. I actually don't know anyone with my own wacky sense of humour…it's a lonely world, but I laugh a lot. (woops, here they come with those funny white coats with the buckles up the back…..)

  65. Neal Nations says:

    I went to the University of Texas with BB. A friend of mine lived in his dorm and told me I had to check out this guy with the pet baby alligator, anyone want to guess who was nervy enough to hide an alligator from the RA's? At the time it was Academia Waltz in the Daily Texan with a young Steve Dallas (the only character to survive it all and the last to see it go…. Berke’s alterego????) and associated fraternity associates, then Bloom County (whatever happened to Milo Bloom?), Outland, Opus, books, films and fame. I am still waiting for my 15 minutes of fame. I also got the pleasure of meeting his mother when I was teaching a computer class in Houston. So Berke, I am sad to see you retire, especially since I will be working until I am 85 now that my 401K is now a 101K. Envy, you betcaha. I wish I was half as talented at drawing and humor. And half your money wouldn’t hurt either. Talent is useless if you don’t have the drive to share it, but you should not share it if you don’t have the drive. I would rather have your talent useless than half-assed. So Berke, thanks for the memories, feel free to come back at anytime and …… see you in the funny papers.
    Your Friend. Neal

  66. Mark G says:

    I'm with JD. I feel like I have just lost a bunch of old friends. I have followed Bloom County and all the successive sequels for years. I always looked forward to the strips and it was my personal favorite, eventhough my wife could not understand my devotion. We have a picture from our wedding back in 83 where I'm sitting before the ceremony reading "Toons for Our Times" to relax. I too can associate my younger years and growing up with the wonderful world that Berke created. His wit and intellegent insight into our silly lives always made me laugh. Political affiliations aside, you had to enjoy the humor. Opus, Milo, Binkley, Steve Dallas, they became real to many and I thank Mr. Breathed for bringing them to us all these years. I feel this pit in my heart knowing that we will not be able to have this escape from reality to look forward to each week. Hopefully Berke will pick up the pen again someday as he did in the past and give us more. And the ending…was touching and perfect. All Opus ever wanted was a warm, safe and loving place to be. What's wrong with that?

  67. Reece Oliver says:

    Breathed is a very private person, and has given interviews to just a few on-line magazines. From them you get a picture of mixed political views at best. In one he said that he is an atheis and is now possibly an agnostic as well as a vegetarian and is a supporter of PETA and actually illustrated the cover of their "Compassionate Cookbook". I think these are hardly views of a Republican. I find it interesting that the Republican/ conservatives have more of a soft place for this strip than Liberals. In reality I believe Mr. Breathed is neither. He was once quoted as saying "Liberal, shmiberal. That should be a new word. Shmiberal: one who is assumed liberal, just because he's a professional whiner in the newspaper. If you'll read the subtext for many of those old strips, you'll find the heart of an old-fashioned Libertarian. And I'd be a Libertarian, if they weren't all a bunch of tax-dodging professional whiners".

  68. bruce says:

    Damn it, damn it…damn it. I love Opus' innocent sense of humor. All the political slants where no one and nothing is sacred. Guess it's books and the Christmas special rerun of "A Wish for Wings" every year. Sigggh!
    damn it…

  69. M. HENDERSON says:

    ONE OF THE FUNNIEST COMIC OF ALL TIME. A DESPERATE SEARCH FOR MEANING IN A MAN'S LIFE.

  70. Millie Parmelee says:

    Opus, I shall miss you terribly. Thank you for all the really laugh-out-loud Sunday mornings. Coffee, the fire going (or outside on the deck in the sunshine) and Opus. Perfect.

  71. Robert R. says:

    Personally I am crushed, Opus IS my favorite comic strip, the only one I look forward to every Sunday. I wish that it didn't have to come to this I wish that his views wouldn't be so screwed, but the man is a genius and will still be praised for Opus. Berkeley Breathed is a man with a dream, opinion, and has a great vision. I only hope for the best for Berkeley and his family I hope maybe in the future Opus might return…

  72. Randy Hayden says:

    Wow–this is a tough crowd?! So keeping with the theme of being politically incorrect…God Bless You, BB. I will miss our little buddy….

  73. Joann says:

    Stuck napping in a children's book forever?
    I think Opus represented, in large part, a very big piece of who Breathed really is. Since he is now transitioning to what he wants to be a new phase in his carrer, he has decided to take that alter ego and put him to rest. He is an artist and as such, makes creative choices. We are along for the ride if we choose to be – otherwise – we turn the page or we read something else. (Some of us just carp and whine.)
    I thought euthanizing Opus was sad on one level but this sort of move does makes the reader step back and think. A few weeks back in the strip, Opus lamented an impending doom and wanted the end to feel warm and safe…Goodnight Moon was a great choice as it is a reflection of the comfort of a warm bed and the innocence of childhood. I think it is somewhat representative of Mr. Breathed "putting his baby to bed," so to speak.
    Call me whatever you want…but Opus was a character I just loved. And I will never look at a turnip without wondering how to actually use a "turnip twaddler!"
    If you didn't like him (or his creator), you always have had the option to read something else.

  74. Mullie says:

    I am so sad…. I knew about the contest, met the cartoon script two years ago. The only thing in the paper I looked forward too. Please don't end opus.

  75. Michael Lazzeri says:

    Sir, I'm 62 y/o, so I go a long way back with comic strips. That said, these past 30+ years have been made so much more tolerable with Bloom County / Outland / Opus, to look forward to. Truthfully, at least half of my motivation for reading the paper used to be to see what was going on with the characters in Bloom County. I loved them all, especially Opus, and I'll miss him. If he had to go, better now, so that he doesn't become too shrill, too pessimistic, too unhappy. Mr. Breathed, thank-you—from my heart—for making me smile, and some times laugh out loud, like no else ever has, or ever will. Michael Lazzeri, LA, CA.

  76. dthrnbrg@gmail.com says:

    So long old friend
    Opus, you helped this old tough guy see things as I use to see them, and as I wish I still could. But experiences and reality have had a toll on this meadow day dreamer. Sleep tight.
    Mr.Breathed
    Take care. I used to be him.
    PS
    Tell Bill the Cat to stop screwing with me. I know it's him.

  77. Dr. E says:

    Did no one else notice the reflection of Opus's face in Steve's sunglasses? Does it mean he was still alive or was it just a fading memory?

  78. Dr. E says:

    Another counterbalance lost in the battle against the craptastic Fox News and friends.

  79. Steve says:

    My fervent hope is that BB keeps his promise this time and stays "retired." I'm disgusted by liberals who use what used to be called "the funnies" to espouse their tripe.

  80. Gern says:

    You made a lot of people happy with this cartoon. You shouldn't have stopped it.

  81. THe One-Eyed Underta says:

    I remember the very first 'Bloom County' strip. Mr. Breathed has always been a breath of very fresh air, no matter what he was working on. Conservatives and their far right brethren hate Opus and Mr. Breathed precisely because they exist. There is no tolerance or room in the black cinder Repubs call their 'heart' for anyone who thinks outside the lock-step, marching boots of the right.
    Mr. Breathed deserves a rest. I hope he fares well and doesn't abandon his viewpoints, just because he laid Opus to rest.
    Free-thinking, socially aware comics are now all but dead. 'Calvin and Hobbes' was the first masterpiece to go. Now it's Opus. Soon, it'll be 'Doonesbury'.
    The Right only wants you reading 'Beatle Bailey', 'Blondie', and "The Family Circus'. Totally fitting and apporpriate for people with no sense of free thought, little imagination, and no heart.
    Good night, Opus. It's just as well you'll miss the coming days. It's going to get pretty ugly around here.

  82. Fan says:

    What a shame.
    I understand his frustration but would like to see Opus continue. With the demise a few years back of Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side, there's not much in the way of intellectual stimulation/humor in the comics other than reruns of Peanuts.

  83. Susan V says:

    Two of the only reasons I purchased the LA Times was for the Comics section I and II….I have followed and been a fan of Opus from the beginning….Bloom's County…Outland…Opus….I have most of the books….Now I'll have to purchase all of them…Is it possible to have ALL the characters made a collectibles…figurines….stuffed animals…..I don't ever want to forget the men's couch and their briefs….Opus was too compassionate to be a republican!

  84. Bob says:

    I'm amazed at some of the vicious comments here. BB was an artist who shared his vision with us. If you didn't like his point of view, you didn't have to read. I'm also surprised at the number of "fans" who are berating BB about his decision. You are the ones who are being selfish. The artist has no responsibility other than to himself.
    Mr. Breathed, thank you so much for the many laughs you've given me and my family over the years. Enjoy your retirement from comics. And Opus, enjoy your nap.

  85. Marion Brown says:

    Gads!!! My favorite strip! Love Opus to death! If McPain and Palinsky get into office, I sure wish I could grow wings and fly far far away from this country headed for doom.
    You watch – if it is a republican win, we will be into another war right away …you betcha! And,I see a draft coming down the pike. God help us all.

  86. Jim Hickman says:

    It's funny how a comic strip character can become like a member of the family…dropping by bright and early every Sunday morning for coffee and danish. Opus, dear friend, you've pulled off what most of us can only dream of, going to a perfect rest in a perfect place. I'm with you, David Mihocik, misty eyes and all. And to you, classicaljim, I hope I represent Big Steve well when I say "****ing **** off!!!"

  87. David S. Mihocik says:

    IN REPONSE to The One-Eyed Undertaker:
    "and their far right brethren hate Opus and Mr. Breathed precisely because they exist. There is no tolerance or room in the black cinder Repubs call their 'heart' for anyone who thinks outside the lock-step, marching boots of the right."
    Let me clue you in on something, Mr. Bigot. You are the problem with people. Only seeing black and white. Right or wrong. BB and his comic strip was not a mouthpeice for liberalism, that would be the hack-job Doonesbery. The world and characters created by BB were bigger than that. Sure it took cracks at Reps. but also Dems and Star Trek and cockroaches. You sir, need to grow up and stop looking at life with your sh*t-smeared glasses and see that the world is filled with people, not labels
    I quote my comment I left on the website The Comics Curmugeon. (http://joshreads.com/?p=1774#comments)
    "I’ll openly admit the following as a 25 year old Republican leaning guy: when I saw the final Opus panel on Sunday morning, my eyes misted over and I hugged my Opus plush in a very manly way. There are very few real artists making quality comic strips, and we have lost the greatest for the third, and it seems, final time. Thank you Berkeley for all the years of joy, and the laughs, and now the tears you somehow managed to get out of me.
    Above all I will miss big Steve Dallas, in my opinion, the greatest comic strip character ever. In the end, it was Steve (with Opus obviously) who closed the curtain on the strange, lovely world of Bloom County-Outland-Opus. Not Bill the Cat, not Oliver, not Milo or Binkley. But my chain smoking friend Steve. You were truly a king amongst men.
    Goodnight."

  88. Dane Furvowitz says:

    It seems like Opus got a lethal injection; he sacrificed himself to save the dog.
    Perhaps one can write a fanfic about Steve Dallas, Bill the Cat, and Milquetoast planning Opus's funeral.

  89. classicaljim says:

    Does this mean that the egomaniacal, self-referencing Berkeley Breathed will finally go away? I occasionally enjoyed the strip, he does have something to say, but enough already. BB, it's not all about you!

  90. I took my BIG Stuffed OPUS and cried in his fur. He will be with me forever. But Berk, why oh why . . . . .
    Ellen

  91. Jeff Prouty says:

    "The best way I can help is to leave politics permanently and write funny stories for America’s kids. I call on John McCain to join me.”
    Well, now John McCain is free to take Berk up on his offer!
    Rest in peace, Opus…

  92. Mike says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that the so called "fans" of these strips as evidenced by the majority of inane comments above so utterly fail to get it. I empathize with Mr. Breathed, and agree with his decision to end this.The world has changed and not for the better.His work is best remembered for it's humor and intelligence.Both of which are missing in present day America. Perhaps what has been lost the most is the ever present underlying optimism Opus had in the 25+ years of the characters storylines. It has been put to rest along with my own youth.The inherent goodness and values remain. Thank you Berkeley
    for the joy you brought to me and others. As to the soulless scoffers, remember this:
    "Dont blame me, I voted for Bill 'n' Opus"

  93. Mama Hen says:

    I was crushed when Lyn Johnson stopped FBOFW without letting us know if April made it as a rock star, or how Elizabeth's marriage worked out. Now Opus snoozes his way into the sunset.
    All this makes me feel terribly old, and old is not what I want to feel. I hate that this strip has become. part of the crumbling of the comics world, If I were an egomaniac I could say that every strip I've really loved has faded from view and I must have caused it by liking them so much. Therefore I must become neutral about the few that are left or they too will flicker and die. I don't have that ego, and I'm not to blame, but if ever there was a time for 'magical thinking' this is it. I grew up on Blondie and Dagwood and Nancy and Sluggo (If you remember that one, you're an old codger too) and they were satisfying like a bowl of popcorn. But when I grew up and hungered for meat and potatoes, there was Calvin and Hobbs, so exquisitely drawn, For Better or For Worse (I cried when Farley died) and Opus with his jockeys on his head, also exquisitely drawn. Now what's left? Zits and Baby Blues aren't going to do it for me, and I agree with the earlier writer that the LA Times will likely continue their cost cutting by rearranging the existing strips and not bring in anything new.
    It makes one wistful to reach a certain age and see long held joys begin to seep away. It is too much of a reminder that our friends, relatives and even ourselves are finite and will have an ending, maybe sooner than expected. BB is too young to be feeling this, but I'm not, and it adds to the sadness in inexplicable ways. I won't mind at all if Opus chooses to take an encore at a future date. Just don't wait too long. I want to still be here to enjoy it.
    -Lori the ole Mama Hen

  94. Vicki Crawford says:

    Please reconsider Opus please give us back our opus we have love this little for along now aonly wish you will give him back to us we miss him already give him back to us so many of us love and want him to come back for wesay goodnight Opus may you come to us soon. Vicki Crawford

  95. carol says:

    Opus has been my favorite comic strip for the past few years. I saved reading it 'till last to savour it like a dessert. I am so saddened that Mr Breathed will end this strip, I loved Opus, especially, and loved the othercharacters as well. I shed more than one tear to see it's end. Would you please reconsider bringing Opus back to life? I know that you won't bring this strip back just for me, but at least know that looking forward to and reading Opus was one of the highlights of my "Sundaze". c

  96. Terri Copeland says:

    I am still saddened that my favorite comic is gone. It is still sinking in. I was afraid this would happen, after the ending of Bloom County and Outland so I saved everyone of the Opus strips this time. Like the loss of Calvin and Hobbs and For Better or Worse it is hard to take for this girl. I lost my dad this spring and he also loved Bloom County/ Outland/ and Opus, amoung many others, and we enjoyed sharing laughs together nearly everyday. He knew the BB strips were my favorite and he saved his Sunday comics every week for me. It is a double sad time for me now and makes missing my dad even harder. For now I will visit the book stores and load up on some good memories. Thanks Berkekey for the wonderful reading and for the fellowship it provided to me and my dad. -tlc1 in good ole Texas.

  97. I liked opus. LikeD opus. They were always retarded, I only liked them bcuz I like penguins. But this sucks. I hope you have fun you retarded penguin killer! ui just hope they don’t take away blondie or umpstart, or launn, or *gasp* something else…:O so yea

    KEEP IT GANGSTA YO!

  98. Jim LaFortune says:

    Jim LaFortune
    Always enjoyed the strip. They still make me laugh when I reread them. Have most of the books, etc. as well as plush toys. People generally take life too seriously. Do they think they will get out alive?

  99. henry says:

    wake up opus the village needs you and milo,binkley,bill,steve and the whole gang.
    please wake up and come back.
    your loving pal
    henry
    4-6-11

  100. Brian says:

    I know this is a little late to post, but I wish I was around in the early 80s to grow up with bloom county and read Opus’ later comics as a young adult, but I think it’s still too soon to send the penguin back in the south pole or wherever. Please, at least bring him back eventually.

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