Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Best of Flashbacks

Did you know that there's new Bloom County? Was everyone else aware of this but me?  Berke Breathed has been producing new Bloom County strips online this year!  And now they're coming out in a collection called Bloom County XI: A New Hope, and I got it from Netgalley to read and my heart, it grew three sizes that day.

I don't think I can overstate how much Bloom County meant to me when I was a kid.  I learned about satire there, about politics and the press and what it looks like to be sincere in the face of cynicism.  Opus the Penguin was the mascot of my New Sincerity movement. Milo Bloom is the guy I'd want running my political campaign.  Steve Dallas is the ur-slimy-dudebro to me. Bill the Cat...well, I've got nothing for Bill, but as a prop he gets the job done.

The new book drops right back into the middle of the series when it comes to art and style, but drops into the modern era.  The cover made me worry that the art would be more like Outland, the trippy spinoff that marked the end of Bloom County, but it's not; it's got the friendly feel of the best comics from the late '80s. And the stories are not spun out of the 1985 material, but take the same sensibility that the comic had in its heyday and bring it into the modern world: naive and determinedly optimistic Opus tries out internet dating, Steve Dallas tries to find a place for his particular brand of masculinity in the world, and Milo runs his Bill/Opus ticket for the Meadow Party in the 2016 election.


Reading this was amazing.  It was like getting back a part of my childhood, and remembering how it felt to learn so much of what I still know today.  Welcome back, Opus.  I missed you.

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