Review: Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol 1

A boy and his Opus

A lot of things happened in the Eighties.

Pac Man was big, as was Rubik's Cube. Walter Cronkite retired after nineteen years doing the news and Harrison Ford stared in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Meryl Streep took home... well everything. My Dad cast his first vote and Ronald Reagan was president. (Please note, Dad says he is not to be held responsible for that last one.)

Bloom County Vol 1And a young college student set out writing one really cool and funny comic strip, then went on to write screenplays, novels, etc. His characters have become American icons, say one of their names and people all over the world know who you are talking about.

This time around I thought I would review a book collection of one of Dad and Jenny's favorite strips.

Bloom County: The Complete Collection, Volume One by Berkeley Breathed

The book has comic strips from Mr Breathed very first comics that he did in his college paper, up to 1982. His first drawings were funny, but doesn't look at all like they do later on. But you can still see his humor and a few of his characters that he stuck with.

The book starts out with even more of a treat after, we get to see for the first time anywhere; six comic strips he did "For emergencies" ; which means these are one papers can use when they need one quick. I guess cartoonists have to do that, I mean think about it; they must have to do a lot and turn them in at once? Just to keep up.

Then we get into the beggingins of Bloom County itself and it characters. First we meet are two older folks. One is a old man at a Burger King. Now back in the day, you could order a hambuger anyway you want and back then you got it. It was Burger King's motto. So he goes in and ask for a burger with out a bun. (Which we can get now.) After arguing with the guy behind the counter he gets what he wants. Then the guys asks if there will be anything else? "Milkshake, no cup." Hehehe

Turns out that is Milo Bloom's Grandpa that everyone calls the general. The general is like a lot older people I know from here. Still living the war, not trusting people and looking for "Darn Ruskies" under every rock and behind every tree. He is a big supporter of any war types in office and Congress and feels the best answer to any troubles is to nuke em!

Milo Bloom is a heavy set young boy, maybe my age or so. He has glasses and is not at all afraid to speak his mind. He has a lot of views and points out things that people miss.
Later on we see him take on a role at the local small town paper as a reporter. He has dreams of being the next Walter Kronkite, but really comes off as one of those writers for the tabloids. Often making up wild stories about a crocked senator that lives in town. Half the stuff he prints is made up, but turns out some are pretty close to being true, too. One funny strip shows Milo sitting at the obituary desk of the newspaper looking bored. He reaches over to a large telephone book and dials a number. "Hello? Mrs Johnson? Okay just checking." HEHEHE!

Yeah okay bad taste I know, still, funny.

Milo lives in a old boarding house. Most of the tennats are older people, but the nerby meadow is full of talking animals. Bunnies, bears, beavers, ect. All of them act like humans. With issues and concerns the same as ours. They love going to movies, protesting anything that will treaten them, and aren't afraid to bring tomatoes to the senator's speaches.

Other people of note are Steve Dallas, the local lawyer. He feels he is quite the ladies man, always hitting on women and always single. Bobbi Harlow, Bloom County's first women liber; she becomes the new school teacher, ready to enlighten the girls and teach the men in the town a thing or two. Cutter John, a geeky guy in a wheel chair; loves Star Trek and Bobbi, also talks to the animals but more on that in a bit.

Then there is Milo's friend and classmate Blinkey. Blinkey is a very shy very skinny kid. He likes reading, hanging out with Milo, and waking up his father at 3am with shocking celebrity news updates. His father, who recently got laid off; is not amused and thinks Blinkey is a dork. He keeps trying to get he to be more "manly" by getting into football and stuff. But he is not cut out for that, and would rather parley than tackle. (or get tackled.)

Then there is Bill the cat. Bill is a stray that someone let into the boarding house. He has seen better days and spends most of his time eating, sleeping and coughing up fur balls. He somehow manages to get his own toy and t-shirt line though.

Lastly there is Opus. EVERYONE knows him, so what can you say? He starts out life in Bloom County as a Blinkey's pet. Still learning words with the help of Mr Rodgers and TV, he later becomes everything from a cow in the christmas school play, Meadow party vice president candidate, to Mr Spock.

The whole book is full of comics, each one as funny as the last. You get to see the character progress and react to what is really going on in the real world at the time. Also, along each comic is the story behind it, or something that was happening in history at the time.Which is really cool to me. A lot of the people in politics I had no idea who they were, those little notes helped me get the jokes. Also made me research as well.

History lessons from a comic strip, hehe; who would have thought huh?

The book is a hard bound, coffee table size book from the libray of American comics. and comes with it's own ribbon book mark. Volume two has just come out as well so make sure to check out both. Oh and parents, younger kids may not get the jokes; but there is nothing offensive that i saw here. I might recommend it for like 12 and up. That way they understand a little more.

Mr Breathed has gone on to write novels, one of my favoriite movie screenplays; Secondhand Lions, and is working on a new movie called, "Mars Needs Moms." How can you pass that up??

You can find more over on his web site at:
http://www.berkeleybreathed.com

Go check it out and enjoy the books, this one is a keeper and I look forward to reading Volume Two.

Darcy

Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1: 1980-1982 by Berkeley Breathed
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Idea & Design Works Llc; 1 edition (October 6, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1600105319
ISBN-13: 978-1600105319

Comments

  1. Well, now I know what to get my Dad for Christmas.

    • And according to Amazon, Volume 2 came out in May, and Volume 3 will be out in November.

      Bloom County was one of the comic strips I almost always cut out of the paper and stuck around my desk, both at home and when I started working. To this day, I still remember the strips with the county music festival, especially the one with Opus dancing and singing his own interpretation of the lyrics to "Every Breath You Take".

      "Sting and the boys would like a word with you"... still cracks me up all these years later

  2. Yeah we have them both now,
    She grabbed my Greg Bear book I was half way though with. So this ones MINE!!

    Tim

  3. More reviews coming, just have to do some research on a couple things.

    Darcy

Speak Your Mind

*