Archive | Bloom County

The August LOAC Wheel of Fortune: Just for Laughs

We continue journeying toward our two hundredth Library of American Comics release with the August spin of the LOAC Wheel of Fortune – but before we give it a whirl, these few (semi-) serious paragraphs on a humorous subgenre –

I noted with interest that we’ve devoted almost twenty-five percent of the total LOAC output to some of the funniest of the funnies – and well over that percentage if you consider “story strips” like The Gumps, Little Orphan Annie, Baron Bean, Bungle Family, and Gasoline Alley to be comedy first and narrative continuity second. (I’ve chosen not to do that, to keep the list of titles under consideration to a manageable amount.) From dailies like 1933’s Polly and Her Pals and Herriman’s Krazy Kats that were published the next year (both collected in LOAC Essentials volumes) to more contemporary series such as Bobby London’s run on Popeye in Thimble Theater, The Library of American Comics has reprinted the crème de la rib-tickling crème. That commitment will continue, as you’ll see in the soon-to-be-released Screwball! book that will have you *plop!*ping with laughter into the nearest comfy chair (at least, we hope that’s where you land — *plop!*ping down onto a hardwood floor can hurt!).

Some of the LOAC parade of comedy also boasts historical significance – think of Dagwood Bumstead’s hunger strike and his eventual wedding to Miss Boopadoop in Blondie, Volume 1 – and some of it has sprung from our agreement with Disney (as you’ve surely noticed, the first word in Silly Symphonies is, well – Silly), but those are extra benefits added to comics designed to provoke smiles, chuckles, and out-and-out guffaws as they brighten up your day.

We have so many humor collections in our backlist, we’ll split it in twain and do two funny-funnies spins of the ol’ LOAC Wheel of Fortune, one this month and the other later in autumn (we have something planned for the September spin that is specifically tied to that month, so stay tuned for that!). Here is our August list of contenders …

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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.


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