Archive | Bloom County

Barry One, Pearl Two

A few months ago in this space I showed you some photos of our LOAC books, arrayed on my bookshelves — you can see it here, if you’d like a refresher.

More recently, we received some impressive bookshelf photos from another comics historian, the estimable Barry Pearl. Check out this first of five shots of Mr. Pearl’s amassed comics collections and be prepared, like me, to resist the urge to whistle in appreciation …

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Back to the Shelves

Several years ago we took some time in this space to show you what my LOAC bookshelf looked like. I shelve my books in alphabetical order by author, or by publisher where that makes more sense — for instance, while my William Saroyans are under “S”, my Fantastic Fours are under “M”, with the rest of my Marvel Comics collections. My Library of American Comics titles are therefore under “L,” and then shelved alphabetically in a logical way (well, logical to me, anyway), as you can see:

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Opus Bonus Strip!

Courtesy of Roger Ash at Westfield Comics, here’s a rare item: a Bloom County strip that never appeared (to our knowledge) in the newspaper. It was printed on the top of the box containing the Opus phone from Tyco. The copyright on the box is 1988. Thanks for sharing, Rog!


When Is Bloom County NOT Bloom County?

When it’s Outland.


Soon after Berkeley Breathed decided to end Bloom County in 1989, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist launched Outland. And while there were certain…penguin-ish similarities…in the Sunday-only comic strip, Breathed broke new ground with Outland that made it every bit as fresh and unique as Bloom County was before it.

We’re collecting the entire run from 1989-1995 in a single book—more than 300 Sundays. The proofs just came in from the printer and we should be okaying it for press by tomorrow. From this point, it generally takes about two months until the book will be on sale in stores and online.

Here’s a sneak peak. You might recognize a few of the characters…




In the pre-digital world…


Some of you may be old enough to remember the pre-Photoshop days when we actually used paste-ups, rubber cement, waxers, rubylith film, and Graumbacher opaquing paints! (Dates me, doesn’t it?!).

It’s been brought to our attention that in Bloom County Volume Four, the “Meet Deathtongue” Sunday page from December 7, 1986 (which we also used on the back cover) was missing a few words in the last two lines of the final panel. One reader speculated that we exercised “crude censorship” in deleting a reference to the singer Lionel Richie.

Well, I like a conspiracy theory as well as anyone, but in this case, the explanation for the missing words in the “Deathtongue” Sunday is pretty mundane. When Berkeley packed up the original art for us to print the book, the paste-up lettering simply fell off. Neither he nor we noticed it. No censorship, no conspiracy, just old rubber cement!

Sheesh—and you thought there was a deep dark secret! Thanks to the reader who pointed it out.

Here’s the Sunday with the lost lettering re-created in all its original gloryblm861207

Bloom County Goes Digital!


In addition to keeping the entire set of the Bloom County Library on your bookshelves, you Berkeley Breathed fans can also take the strips with you when you’re traveling…if you have an iPad. IDW has signed an exclusive digital distribution deal with Apple for the Eisner Award-winning Bloom County, and Darwyn Cooke’s Eisner Award-winning The Hunter, as well as The Outfit, the second book in his series, and other titles.

We’ve been thinking a lot about how our classic comics can possibly translate to new digital formats. I’m all about readability. Jeff Webber is IDW’s e-publishing guru. I talked to him about how his design team took the book format and ran with it. “It really translates nicely to the iPad screen,” Jeff told me. “Our design team modified the digital format to present the strips on single screens while retaining the overall graphic integrity of the print series. We wanted to make sure this didn’t come off as shoveling a print book into a digital format.” The app features full screen strips covering the first year of Bloom County, from December 1980 through December 1981, along with an introduction by Berkley Breathed and comments about individual strips.


“Apple was excited to see that we’ve brought this classic material to the iPad,” Jeff added. Bloom County Library Vol. 1 was selected by Apple for “New and Noteworthy” in the iPad App Store, and is in the top 10 books.

Bloom County: The Complete Library Volume One is now available from the App Store for $7.99.Click here to download.


Bloom County Wins 2010 Eisner Award


The Library of American Comics again won the Eisner Award for Best Archival Project—Newspaper Strips given at the San Diego Comicon, as Bloom County took home the honors. LOAC’s Bringing Up Father was also nominated.

Above are (left to right) Creative Director Dean Mullaney, Associate Art Director (and Sunday colorist) Lorraine Turner, Berkeley Breathed himself, and series editor Scott Dunbier (proudly holding the award).

It was the first Comicon appearance for Berkeley, who also received the Inkpot Award. He was a real trooper, signing books and talking with fans for three straight days. He also created a Comicon-exclusive t-shirt. Needless to say, a fun time was had by all.


“Ha, fooled them again!”

“Ha, fooled them again!” is what Berkeley Breathed exclaimed when told that Bloom County: The Complete Library, Volume Two debuted in the number four spot on the New York Times Best Seller list. “Seriously, I’m happy people still enjoy this stuff. Surprised, but happy.”

In Volume Two, Breathed ramps up the volume, offering even more funny and insightful commentary than in the first volume, while context pages help fans recapture the glory of the 1980s.

Beginning with September 27, 1982, Volume Two collects every daily and Sunday through July 1, 1984, most reproduced from Breathed’s personal archives of original art. Kicking off this second installment is an introduction by journalist and former Nightline host Ted Koppel, who takes readers on a brief journey back to the Reagan years and reflects on the strips he shared with Opus.

“What’s really astounding to me is the freshness of this material after so many years” editor Scott Dunbier told me this afternoon when the New York Times list was announced. “The events in these pages are right out of today’s headlines—the economy, politics, even Michael Jackson! But, most importantly, we see them all through Breathed’s own unique perspective, which is the true joy of Bloom County.”

Volume Two also features the introduction of Binkley’s anxiety closet and boy genius Oliver Wendell Jones, as well as the fondly remembered death of the Bill the Cat storyline.




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