See All Topics

Home / Section: Comic strips

Hard bound Bloom County collection due in October

bloom_county

IDW Publishing has announced that they will release the first volume of The Bloom County Library in October of this year. Each of five volumes will collect nearly two years worth of daily and Sunday strips, in chronological order. This will be the very first time that many of these comic strips have been collected, and the first time in a beautifully designed, hardcover format. The books will be part of IDW’s Library of American Comics imprint, and designed by Eisner Award-winner Dean Mullaney.

“Fans have pestered me for years,” said Berkeley Breathed, “for this ultimate Bloom County collection in that polite, respectful badgering way that only fans can manage. Thank God I can now tell them something better than just ‘please remove your tent from my lawn.’ I can say, ‘It’s coming!”

Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed newspaper strips of modern times. Premiering on December 8th, 1980 – a month after the election of Ronald Reagan as President – the strip brought to the comics pages a unique amalgam of contemporary politics and fantasy, all told with hilarious humor and wit.

The beloved and quirky denizens of Bloom County include Opus, Steve Dallas, Bill the Cat, Milo Bloom, Michael Binkley, and Cutter John. Breathed was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1987 for his work on Bloom County. The strip was published in an astounding 1200 newspapers.

The phenomenon that was Bloom County spawned a merchandizing bonanza, as well as two spin-off strips, Outland and Opus. The first paperback collection of the strip, Loose Tails, sold over one million copies. Bloom County paperbacks cumulatively sold over six million copies. At the height of the strip’s popularity, Breathed walked away on August 6th, 1989.

IDW Publishing Special Projects Editor Scott Dunbier conceived the series. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be editing the Bloom County Library,” said Dunbier. “This is a series that I can’t wait to hold in my hands.”

The Bloom County Library will also contain a series of “Context Pages” sprinkled throughout the volumes. These pages will provide perspective for the reader, presenting a variety of real-life events and personalities that were contemporary at the time of original publication.

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
February/5/2009
@ 8:27 am

I hope Berke won’t alter the art and the dialogues, something he’s always done in his book collections.

#2 RS Davis
February/5/2009
@ 9:30 pm

I agree…there are some good sites that have printed side by side copies of strips next to those that appeared in the books. Frankly, most of the edits only served to water down or diffuse the ‘funnyness’ of the strip.
I wonder how he is going to handle the strips that were completely copied? There were times when Breathed just took and old strip and redrew it for later publication, sometimes years later – without changing as much as one word of dialog. Inexplicable.
Nevertheless, it is still my favorite all time strip and will be first line to buy it!

#3 Garey Mckee
February/6/2009
@ 10:40 pm

Bloom County has always been one of my favorite strips. Especially some of Breathed’s darker gallows humor.

I’m intrigued by the idea of the context pages in this book. So much of Bloom County was a product of it’s time, but does it really need that much explaining?

Perhaps as time marches on and younger people discover Breathed’s work it might be warranted. Does this mean this new collection is aimed toward a second generation of Bloom County fans, rather than the readers who enjoyed the strip when it was being produced?

#4 RS Davis
February/7/2009
@ 9:55 pm

I don’t know, Garey, but I do know that when the next generation of comic strip readers ‘discover’ it, it will be to them the ark of the covenant.

As much as I like Dilbert, Pearls, Fuzzy and the rest, Bloom County is ‘Comic Stripping 101’. I’ve always thought it was the Alpha and Zulu of newspaper strips. It had it all: fantastic characters, hiarious story lines, scalpel like humor sheatherd in strip friendly goofiness, wonderful art and beautiful line…who else is doing that?

Although most fans put Calvin & Hobbes at the top of the heap, I have to give it to Mr. Breathed. Bloom County had no gimmicks to rely on like Calvin’s Walter Mitty fantasy life or a stuffed/alive/stuffed/alive feline principal.

No, the Mighty Bloom Daily Strip had to fly on the power of great writing, energetic satire, up to the minute timeliness,elegant illustration and the best cast of characters since Pogo.

And it did it day after day for almost 10 years. What a hell of a standard for any ‘toonist anywhere, anytime.

Frankly, I always thought that Garfield and Calvin were the newspaper strips answer to the Beatles – everyone loved them, they were adorable and cute, everyone like what they did and could quote them or talk about them, but they were never truly that dangerous and never pushed the envelope very hard.

Well, if Garfield and Calvin were the Beatles, then Bloom County was the Rolling Stones. It was dangerous, it was rude, it was up in the face sometimes, but it had the writing and artwork to back up its attitude.
When the dailies ceased production, the comic strip industry lost a lung, half it’s teeth and most of it’s onions.

And any comic stripper that pisses off Pat Oliphant has GOT to be on the right track.

Anyway, I do sincerely hope that a new generation of comic strippers discover Bloom County for the first time in these new books.

My hope is the new Bloom County books would motivate an entire new legion of fresh talent to push the door open and do for today’s newspaper pages what Mr. Breathed did for them in 1981 – make them funny *and* sharp again.

End of rant.

Sorry.

And Mr. Breathed, please send the check via Registered Mail for tracking purposes.
Thank you.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.