by Brian Clarey
How could Eric Ginsburg know how awesome Berkeley Breathed’s comic strip Bloom County was? He wasn’t even born when the revolutionary strip debuted in 1980 — I was 10, for the record — and he was just two when Breathed killed the strip in 1989.
He has no idea who Opus, Bill the Cat, Steve Dallas, Lola Granola and Portnoy were… but he soon will.
Breathed brought Bloom County back to life just last week, only in a somewhat different form. Back in the day, one could only read the strip in daily newspapers or collected anthologies. Now Breathed is giving his comics away for free on Facebook, eschewing the newsprint that brought him to prominence.
“Deadlines and dead-tree media took the fun out of a daily craft that was only meant to be fun,” he told the New York Times after the debut on July 13.
The situation for daily newspapers has only gotten worse since he’s been gone, though the political climate is ripe for his style of lampooning.
Bloom County proper — he ran a couple of spin-off strips for a few years afterward — ended in 1989, when he drew Donald Trump into the script. The Donald eventually “bought out” the strip and fired everybody years before “The Apprentice” and that stupid catchphrase. Breathed has intimated that Trump’s run for president may have been the impetus for the comic’s return.
And that is great news. There is no more potent form of rebuttal than outright mockery. In that, Bloom County has always excelled.
The strip will run only on Facebook, its creator says. No newspapers. No website. Even berkeleybreathed.com lists only links to his Facebook posts rather than have a landing page for the strip itself.
Breathed’s site only contains his bio and a dense list of Bloom County merchandise — keychains, T-shirts, postcards and the like — giving us another clue as to why, after all these years, the strip has been brought back to life.
Fine by me. We need Bloom County more than ever. And I should have Ginsburg on board by the end of the week.