Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Comics Fans, Rejoice: Opus Is Back after 8 Years; Berke Breathed Resumes Drawing Because 'World Went and Got Silly Again.'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Comics Fans, Rejoice: Opus Is Back after 8 Years; Berke Breathed Resumes Drawing Because 'World Went and Got Silly Again.'

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger Bull, The Times-Union

Opus is back.

The large-nosed penguin with the nasty herring habit -- once a naive resident of the friendly but sarcastic meadows of Bloom County -- is now the star of his very own comic strip. Opus , a Sunday-only strip, debuts today in the Times-Union.

It will signal the return to the comics pages, after an eight-year absence, of Berke Breathed, the artist and writer behind Bloom County and Outland.

Once described as a cross between Doonesbury and Pogo, Bloom County featured an eclectic cast of characters who opined on the absurd and political, often mixing the two. They once threatened to strike when newspaper space shrunk for comic strips.

Perhaps that's why Opus is one of the few strips to be guaranteed a half-page. To accommodate that, the Times-Union will move Dilbert to the Sunday Business section (you'll find it there today) and discontinue Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Breathed has not revealed what Opus has been up to. His Web site (www.

berkeleybreathed.com) only said, "We can't, at this time, go into detail as to what he's been doing during his mysterious missing decade, although Opus is deeply embarrassed about the rumors, especially the one naming him as the catalyst behind the unfortunate break-up of J. Lo and Ben. It will all become clear soon."

Breathed has also not said whether the other Bloom County regulars -- Steve Dallas, Milo, Binkley, Bill the Cat and the gang -- will appear with Opus.

Breathed started Bloom County in 1981. In 1987, he won a Pulitzer Prize for the strip. Two years later, with Bloom County running in 1,300 papers across the country, Breathed quit drawing it. Artistic burnout was to blame, he said.

But he soon began Outland, a Sunday-only strip that eventually featured some of the same characters, including Opus and Bill, the hairball-hacking cat who was a star in spite of himself. …

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