Berkeley Breathed (YGtCTO #231)

Bloom County

Comic strip written and drawn by Berkeley Breathed

Berkeley Breathed

I had no idea how long it took to get to Rosebud. Re-reading Bloom County in sequence via the collected complete run, I kept waiting for that gorgeous creature to pop up in the meadow. At last, Rosebud has appeared after what has to be three years of periodic indulgence on my part.

At Ohio University (the one in Athens), we were spoiled to have a daily newspaper produced by exhausted journalism students. This kept us reasonably abreast of current events. More importantly, it included comics. Well, one or two. Bloom County was one and sometimes it was joined by the work of an enterprising student. This was apparently early in the run of Breathed’s creation, so I had never seen it before, despite pretty consistent attention to the funny papers.

Soon after arriving on campus, I moved into a large apartments and discovered the joy of thin walls and housemates with different circadian rhythms. At that time, practically nothing was open on Sunday mornings in town. A long walk took you to… nothing. The streets were not completely deserted. A few people stumbled in and out of the Big Boy restaurant, which was the only place open. Maybe Hardee’s was open, too, but I don’t think so. (Is it any wonder we all looked pasty?)

One of my housemates
magically appeared every Sunday with the large paper out of Columbus- I think it was the Dispatch. I later learned that a small bookstore down a side street opened early on Sundays in order to provide newspapers and sundries to college professors and their families.

Said housemate spread out on the floor in front of the sofa. I would eat breakfast at our table and watch him read. He began by separating out the bits that bore no interest for him. I grabbed them. But, he hoarded the comics, so I often had to wait until later in the day when he left in order to get a read.

But I’m not telling the whole story. He actually bought two different newspapers, as often as not, because he wanted to ensure that he had the proper allotment of comic strips. Some papers carried Bloom County and some carried… whatever the other one was that he wanted. I’m just glad that he got Bloom County because that wonderful daily college paper that I mentioned earlier- it only came out on weekdays.

A remarkably large number of people identify with comic strips. At work, on vacation, just bumping into people- they want to share a new favorite from Dilbert or Get Fuzzy or whatever. Often, they share different days from the same strip and I start thinking of them as the Dilbert guy or such. More weird is how that can become pejorative when the strip takes a turn toward controversy. Bloom County, much like Doonesbury, was already hip deep in controversy from the start. I like to think that works in my favor for anyone that thinks of me as that Bloom County fan.

What’s it all about?

You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 69 more to go.

New additions to You’ve Got to Check This Out release regularly. Also, free humor, short works, and poetry post irregularly. Receive notifications on Facebook by friending or following Craig.

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