What interesting projects are on your horizon?
BB: Three: a novel; two of my books are in development at Disney; and Opusâ??s death, which approaches.
Has Opus, the penguin, been a fixture in all of your strips? I donâ??t recall, and Iâ??ve been in Austin since your The Academia Waltz days. And, assuming you mean the death of Opus, the strip, will that be the last we see of B. Breathed, newspaper cartoonist?
BB: Opus has been in all my cartooning post Academia Waltz. I mean the death of Opus literally, as told in the comic, which means the suspension of the feature (no dates set as of yet). Newspapers may indeed fade from our lives, but childrensâ?? books may yet have a future.
Are you serious about killing off Opus in the strip?
BB: Yes, but my wife would leave me, she reports. I have to factor this in.
Do your publisher and newspapers know this?
BB: They know that all good things come to an end. Iâ??d like to see Opus go out with George Bush, both headed into the sunset.
UPDATE: I emailed Amy Lago, Berkeley’s editor to see what she knew of these comments. Here is part of her reply:
To paraphrase Twain, the reports of the death of Opus are exaggerated. I got this from Berkeley Breathed earlier today:
“I mentioned Opus’ literal death just for talking points on my [book] tour coming up. Not gonna kill him, but it’s good for copy.”
Berkeley’s ever-so-pleased with himself when he’s provocative.
That said, I doubt a day has gone by since November of 2003 when he hasn’t thought about ending Opus. There’s little that’s harder on a cartoonist than staring at a blank piece of bristol board with a deadline looming.
So, it appears that the mention of killing off Opus has more to do with gaining attention for his book tour and less about the future of his feature. Then again, this is Berkeley we’re talking about here, so every week when you see Opus in your newspaper, chalk it up as a win.