Fans of the funny pages rejoice, Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Berkeley Breathed has resurrected his satirical comic strip, Bloom County, after a 25-year absence by posting a brand new strip to his Facebook page Monday. The new panels feature one of the comic’s main characters, the talking penguin named Opus, waking up and asking, “That was some nap!! How long was I out, Milo?”
The strip originally ran in more than 1,000 newspapers and reached over 40 million readers between 1980 and 1987, when Breathed ended its run. It built a reputation for skewering the Reagan-era social issues with a biting sense of animated satire, culminating in the Pulitzer win. The cartoonist continued individual storylines with the comic strips Outland, between 1989 and 1995, and Opus, which ran from 2003 to 2008.
Fans of Bloom County were tipped off of the potential comeback by another post on the artist’s Facebook page from July 12 that was a photo of Breathed sitting in front of his computer with a blank panel and the caption, “A return after 25 years. Feels like going home.”
The New York Times reached out to the artist to explain the return. “Deadlines and dead-tree media took the fun out of a daily craft that was only meant to be fun,” Breathed said. “I had planned to return to Bloom County in 2001, but the sullied air sucked the oxygen from my kind of whimsy. Bush and Cheney’s fake war dropped it for a decade like a bullet to the head. But silliness suddenly seems safe now.”
The upcoming presidential race will surely give Breathed enough to lampoon, an eventuality the artist slyly agreed with. A Facebook user commented on one of the photos saying, “With Donald Trump returning to the political spectrum, I believe it is only fitting. I have missed you guys.” Breathed replied, “This creator can’t precisely deny that the chap you mention had nothing to do with it.”
As for where readers can find the strips, the artist told the Times he’ll be sticking to Facebook. “I want to hear from them — hear how my characters played a role in their lives — hear how they might still,” he said. “Those of us lucky enough to be granted such a role should thank our fans daily. The return of Opus and the old gang is my way.”