Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bloom County 2015

Here's something to cheer about.  A short time ago, I posted my tribute to the great '80s comic strip Bloom County.   The strip was one of the great pleasures of the eighties, running from 1980 to 1989, and caught the spirit of that odd and quirky decade.

Now, a few days ago, we received word that the comic's creator, Berkeley Breathed was bringing back the comic on an irregular basis, publishing the new strips on his facebook page.  The second installment of Bloom County 2015 just came out, with Opus pondering his status as an eighties relic. (Click each of those links and the new strips are in the articles.)

As an eighties relic myself, this is joyful news indeed!


Just noted this article by Sean Nelson in The Stranger, titled "I'm Trying to Stay Excited About the Return of Bloom County."

Nelson makes some good points. He says that he has been very excited about the return of Bloom County.  But he also "can't help wondering whether maybe Bloom County was so about the ‘80s that it never should have left them." Further along, he notes: "When Breathed retired the strip in 1989 (replacing it with the conceptually distinct, ultimately indistinguishable, yet massively inferior Outland for reasons passing understanding), it marked the end of something very dear to those of us whose little sensibilities it helped shape. . . . But the ‘90s came in hard and the collective comedic sensibility morphed immediately into the assumption of bemused skepticism."

Nelson struck on something very true in his article. Bloom County came out at a very unique time, and was very much a part of its time. The eighties, for all its good and bad, had a particular sensibility . . . one that allowed for a particular, lighthearted, sometimes oddball, sometimes absurdist, comedic view of things.  Notably, the '80s featured a blossoming of the comics pages with this quirky sensibility, with the likes of Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbs, The Far Side, and the more mainstream Garfied.

For so many of us, the comics pages of the '80s brought many a joyful time. But, as they say, all good things must end. It is true that when the '90s came with its darker worldview, it swept all of that away. The end of that era really was something that many of us still feel . . . the feeling of something we knew in our youths, but now missing.

Nelson concluded with a show of support for the return of Bloom County, and this hopeful thought (which I share):

"Maybe now that we appear to have re-entered an age of piety, cant, and psychotic superciliousness, the time will be ripe for the return of Opus, Bill the Cat, Steve Dallas, Binkley, Cutter John, et al.—representatives of a time when you didn’t have to say anything too off-the-wall in order to be the good kind of shocking."