R.I.P. Opus the penguin

Listening to: “Everyday is Like Sunday” – Morrissey

It’s election day, yes, and you need to go vote. GO VOTE GO VOTE GO VOTE.


In other news (wait, there’s other news?), Berkeley Breathed, the legendary cartoonist who brought us Bloom County, Outland, and Opus, all starring an earnest-eyed penguin and his fellows, has officially ended his run. After Calvin & Hobbes, this was my favorite comic strip. As a kid, it was my first introduction to political issues and lying naked in the periwinkle alike.

In this interview from Salon, Breathed talks about why he thinks his brand of gentler satire can’t survive intact in our increasingly sharp-toothed, snark-saturated cultural landscape:

It’s not so much dark times now, as profane and loud. Satire you’ll have, oh dear me, indeedy yes. “Vomitous” and “awash” are two words that come to mind. It used to be that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. How antediluvian. Rather, everyone will now want a satirical YouTube film with 15 megabytes.

Satire we’ll have. Rather, the real dearth in our world will be sweetness, comfort, thoughtfulness and civility…

There’ll always be great, classic cartooning. There’ll also be radio. Concept rock albums. Theatrical movie dramas for intelligent adults. Little kids riding bicycles down a neighborhood street without a grown-up. Family dinner hours. Eleven-year-old girls who dress like children. Instant coffee. Buggy whips.

They’ll just be much harder to find.

The very, absolute last comic strip characters destined to become true household words across America were invented 23 years ago: Calvin & Hobbes. There are and will be no more new ones.

That’s a technology and cultural issue. Not a talent issue…

For the old “Bloom County” fans who take me as a cold-heart cynic about my cartoon, know that I made the mistake of playing Puccini’s “Madam Butterfly” at midnight while I was drawing Opus for the very, final, last time last week and I got rather stupid. I’ll just leave it said that way. It’s an odd business.

Here’s to ya, ol’ penguin ol’ buddy.


Righto. Off to volunteer at an Obama phone bank! I’m crossing all my appendages and knocking on piles and piles of wood.