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Classics of Western Literature: Bloom County, 1986-1989

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A retrospective of the Bloom County comic strip from 1986 until its conclusion in 1989. One of the most beloved and avidly read comic strips of all time, Bloom County not only became a part of, but helped define, the popular culture of a decade. This collection is destined to become a classic.


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A retrospective of the Bloom County comic strip from 1986 until its conclusion in 1989. One of the most beloved and avidly read comic strips of all time, Bloom County not only became a part of, but helped define, the popular culture of a decade. This collection is destined to become a classic.

30 review for Classics of Western Literature: Bloom County, 1986-1989

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Bloom County represents, for me, the absolute apex of twentieth-century art and letters. There is no better source for information on western culture and history in the 1980s, but its appeal just goes so far beyond that. Actually, this is a rare topic on which words do fail me. I simply cannot express how much I love Bloom Country. This particular book was in my backpack when it was stolen one afternoon my freshman year at Berkeley High School. The sad part about this was that I was headed to Cod Bloom County represents, for me, the absolute apex of twentieth-century art and letters. There is no better source for information on western culture and history in the 1980s, but its appeal just goes so far beyond that. Actually, this is a rare topic on which words do fail me. I simply cannot express how much I love Bloom Country. This particular book was in my backpack when it was stolen one afternoon my freshman year at Berkeley High School. The sad part about this was that I was headed to Cody's after school to attend god-like idol Berke Breathed's book signing. Because this collection had been snatched, I was left to purchase Breathed's new children's book (either the Xmas story "A Wish for Wings that Work" or "The Last Basselope," whichever one came out second) and have him sign that. I was star-struck when I got to his table, and muttered something about my little brothers really liking the previous kids' book he'd written. I then spent the rest of that day, and every other day in the fourteen years since, kicking myself for having said this instead of just keeping quiet, which would have been better: Berkeley Breathed must have thought I was some dumb-ass teenager too young to have read Bloom County, who'd happened upon his recent projects and taken him for just another childrens book writer and illustrator!!!!!! What a humiliating and horrendous catastrophe! If only there were some way to go back, to make him understand!!!!!! Mr. Breathed, if you show me the beginning of virtually any anthologized Bloom County strip from its many years in syndication, I can descibe from memory exactly what happens in the final panel: the punchline and the expressions on every character's face. Without your work, I would never have learned a single thing about the Falklands, heavy metal, the moral majority, or any other event from an era I lived through, but was too young to pay attention to at the time. Reagan's administration would still be a complete mystery to me without your enlightening books. Moreover, I would always have doubted that my favorite aspects of art -- cynical humor, social criticism, idealism, poetry, beauty, romance, satire, good politics, and absolute silliness -- could ever be synthesized perfectly in one place. I still can't really look at classic-era Bloom County without falling apart a little bit, because it is so sublimely perfect to me. It's hard even to think about. I was literally in love with this strip. It's ridiculous. I can't even talk about it.... Thhpt! One day maybe I can express my abiding gratitude to Berkeley Breathed, perhaps by naming my firstborn either "Opus" or "Ronald-Ann."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marsha Altman

    This was a weird revisit. The original strips in this collection were from the late 80's, and having been born in 81, I probably read them in the early 90's, when I was too young to understand some of the political references - and to be honest, to this day I have no idea who Jean Kirpatrick is, though now I do know about the Iran-Contra Affair, who Tammy Fay who, and can understand why alarmists would be afraid of Sandanistas. I loved the comics anyway as a kid, and they hold up surprisingly we This was a weird revisit. The original strips in this collection were from the late 80's, and having been born in 81, I probably read them in the early 90's, when I was too young to understand some of the political references - and to be honest, to this day I have no idea who Jean Kirpatrick is, though now I do know about the Iran-Contra Affair, who Tammy Fay who, and can understand why alarmists would be afraid of Sandanistas. I loved the comics anyway as a kid, and they hold up surprisingly well despite the aging material. Unlike other cartoonists, Breathed hasn't come to look sexist and/or racist by today's standards. He also is an incredible artist on his own, despite doopy-looking Opus. I will say that ending of the strip - where Trump's brain in Bill the Cat's body buys out the strip and fires everybody - was always profoundly sad to me, but it has an extra mean kick now that Trump is President.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Good stuff! This collection is from the last years of the Bloom County syndicated comic strip, selected story-lines and strips from its mid-80s peak right up to the last panel created for Bloom County. I bought a copy of this book in 1991, I loved Bloom County and thought it was one of the best,freshest and most entertaining comic strips I had ever read. I still have the book and reread it every year or so and I can honestly say I still enjoy it as much as the first time I ever picked it up. True Good stuff! This collection is from the last years of the Bloom County syndicated comic strip, selected story-lines and strips from its mid-80s peak right up to the last panel created for Bloom County. I bought a copy of this book in 1991, I loved Bloom County and thought it was one of the best,freshest and most entertaining comic strips I had ever read. I still have the book and reread it every year or so and I can honestly say I still enjoy it as much as the first time I ever picked it up. True... some of the references are terribly dated, and don't have the same punch they once did but the same thing could be said about a lot of us. I recommend Bloom County (this edition or any other) for anyone who likes irreverent and silly humor.

  4. 5 out of 5

    SebastianDangerfield

    Final "Bloom County" collection, in oversized trade paperback. Much of the first half of this volume was seen before in the previous trades. We start, though, with stuff never reprinted in quite some time: The college strip "Academia Waltz". Steve Dallas and Cutter John in their nascent forms. Two pages of sketches. Then we drop in on the mid/late 80's. Penguin Lust. Suing Santa Claus. Anxiety closet. Alien abduction reversing Dallas' personality. Gearing up for the '88 Election. BB discovers "K Final "Bloom County" collection, in oversized trade paperback. Much of the first half of this volume was seen before in the previous trades. We start, though, with stuff never reprinted in quite some time: The college strip "Academia Waltz". Steve Dallas and Cutter John in their nascent forms. Two pages of sketches. Then we drop in on the mid/late 80's. Penguin Lust. Suing Santa Claus. Anxiety closet. Alien abduction reversing Dallas' personality. Gearing up for the '88 Election. BB discovers "Krazy Kat." Spuds McKenzie comes out. Ronald-Ann debuts. What is Oliver doing to Bill? Opus busts down Mary Kay in search of Mom. And Bill the Cat has been kidnapped and had his brain switched with Donald Trump. He hasn't changed a bit. The very idea of Trump's (fictional) voice coming from the mouth of beloved Bill. Shudder. Metaphysical rumbling and rambling. "Naked Came I", the autobiography of P. Opus. "Trump, The Strip", the firing of the cast, everyone finds new work in old strips, except Opus who exits with Ronald-Ann into "Outland", the successor to "Bloom County", and ...out. Goodbye. If I remember correctly, with this book I broke a tradition and did not purchase for many years. I was mad at Breathed for ending the strip. I understood why he did it, but that didn't mean I had to like it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alan Lampe

    What a fun riot this book is. We get to see some of Berkeley's early cartoons and remanence with old friends like Opus, Bill the Cat, Milo, Binkley, Steve Dallas, Hodge Podge, and more!! Although not the entire scope of the story is told, we get to relive Death Tongue's downward spiral to Billy and Boingers. We recall Opus's marriage to Lola Granola, Donald Trump's brain in Bill the Cat's body, Steve being abducted by aliens, Oliver cat sweat experiment, and so much more. In no time you'll remem What a fun riot this book is. We get to see some of Berkeley's early cartoons and remanence with old friends like Opus, Bill the Cat, Milo, Binkley, Steve Dallas, Hodge Podge, and more!! Although not the entire scope of the story is told, we get to relive Death Tongue's downward spiral to Billy and Boingers. We recall Opus's marriage to Lola Granola, Donald Trump's brain in Bill the Cat's body, Steve being abducted by aliens, Oliver cat sweat experiment, and so much more. In no time you'll remember how good pickled herring is and want your own salad shooter, or thirty thousand. Really is a fun read to get your mind off of more complex things. Enjoy it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbi Faye (The Book Fae)

    A truly massive book full of funky funnies from the funny penguin of Bloom County! A walk down memory lane in full color and black and white, the comic strip made loads of commentary on political and social change, I slammed it shut when I found the one on D. Trump, ugh, shudder...! But other than that is about 250 pages of chuckles, so you are sure to find something funny as you look back on the late eighties.

  7. 5 out of 5

    spike marlin

    This book is a classic. A survey of most of Bloom County comic found in other books with some new content added, it showcases some of the best of Bloom County. This was one comic that I enjoyed the most. Too bad it is no longer published.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Donnell

    Did not quite finish this book. Got past the half-way mark then did some skimming. Tried to read all the Donald Trump cartoons, though. Very intense, given current events. Donald Trump, circa 1989, gets stuck in Bill the Cat's body. Most powerful is a Sunday panel on page 211. Trump-as-Bill is telling Ronald-Ann, a six year old African American girl, how great this country is. Trump enumerates several of the things he has--like a mansion and a yacht and his dreams of making a financial killing, Did not quite finish this book. Got past the half-way mark then did some skimming. Tried to read all the Donald Trump cartoons, though. Very intense, given current events. Donald Trump, circa 1989, gets stuck in Bill the Cat's body. Most powerful is a Sunday panel on page 211. Trump-as-Bill is telling Ronald-Ann, a six year old African American girl, how great this country is. Trump enumerates several of the things he has--like a mansion and a yacht and his dreams of making a financial killing, while Ronald-Ann dreams of dinner. Trump/Bill closes with saying this country is so great because "folks like you haven't strung up folks like me by their intestines." Ominously, though, this is not the last panel. In the last panel, Ronald-Ann's doll adds the word "yet." A sad thing about reading political commentary from the 1980's--which seeps through much of this collection--is that you see the recognition of the corruption, those in power getting away with crimes, people becoming more heartless, and you know that things did not improve, in fact got MUCH worse. Bottom line: sadly, it seems, it is the way of humanity to continue to devolve no matter how cleverly problems are named. Interesting to note that, according to Internet searches, Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, was a big Bloom County fan. She sent Berke Breathed a fan letter, asking him not to end the strip. Breathed was touched by, and proud of, Lee's attention. Still the strip ended. How sad to have been a devoted follower of the denizens of Bloom County back in 1989, only to watch then vanish into the sunset.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Orion

    This volume is a collection of the newspaper comic strip "Bloom County" from 1986-1989 including pages of four black and white daily four panel entries and pages of two full color 6 panel Sunday entries. If you are a fan, this book provides additionally an introduction called "Last Word" containing some biographical information, Breathed's first cartoon penned in the 10th grade, his one 1977 political cartoon for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper, and 16 strips from his "Academia Waltz" su This volume is a collection of the newspaper comic strip "Bloom County" from 1986-1989 including pages of four black and white daily four panel entries and pages of two full color 6 panel Sunday entries. If you are a fan, this book provides additionally an introduction called "Last Word" containing some biographical information, Breathed's first cartoon penned in the 10th grade, his one 1977 political cartoon for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper, and 16 strips from his "Academia Waltz" submissions to the University of Texas' Daily Texan college newspaper in 1978-79. The fan who enjoys this volume may also want to read Berkeley Breathed's Outland: The Complete Collection which picks up where Bloom County leaves off in 1989 and contains all the Sunday color strips for "Outland" through it's end in 1995.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jimyanni

    This is an entertaining collection of strips from the old "Bloom County" series; it covers a pretty wide variety of the strips from that period (1986-1989). If you already have all of the books that this selects strips from, there may not be any new material here, but if you don't, there's a good chance that you'll find something new. In any case, it's as highly amusing as one would expect of a "Bloom County" collection.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David Caldwell

    When I was working in any of the many bookstores where I was employed and I did not want (or have the time) to read my current book, I would grab one of these collections to read on my too short break. I slowly but surely worked my way through several series. These are great time killers and will usually improve your mood no matter how hectic the day. Laughter can be the best solution to dealing with the public. Definitely an ambitious title.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I love Bloom County cartoons. This is a wonderful collection. I love the characters and how he draws them, in his unique style. Many good cartoons I can find funny and illustrated technically well, but there aren't many out there that has all that and makes you feel for the characters. This is one of them.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jaye

    A few days ago I found a 1985-vintage plush figure of Opus from this comic strip. I remember Bloom County lovingly from my teenage years, and this collection was a great way to time travel a bit. That said, a lot of the jokes are very topical, ie, they were very much a part of the era they were written in. Some of that stuff isn't funny anymore.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    One of the best comics, some of them are political some are just silly and some are reflective, a good mix. There aren't that many good comics anymore in my opinion and this was certainly one the best.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Seizure Romero

    The introduction to this book contains one of the funniest cartoons in the history of anything, ever. It's called "Gesundheit" and according to Mrs. Lewis, teacher of Breathed's 10th-grade art class, served as the harbinger of Breathed's rise to fame.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    I have long been a Bloom County fan, so it's no surprise that I had a great time reading this collection of the strips. Now I need to track down the rest of the collections, so I can re-read the whole run :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tabitha

    A fun collection of a great comic! I've always loved Bloom County, and I picked up this volume as a whim and a treat for myself. I look forward to getting ahold of some of the earlier comics, but this will happily hold me over til then.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    With the Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County is one of the best comic strips of all time. I read and reread this in high school, it was the only thing that could make me laugh out loud as an angsty teen.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    I miss Bloom County... I totally remember that Bill and Opus ran for president/vice president of the U.S. (I even had a shirt saying I voted for them) but I didn't remember that Bill's next adventure featured him with the brain of Donald Trump. How prophetic! One of my favorite series ever.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    I've always loved Bloom County and this book pulls it all together. It's especially timely because of the presidential elections depicted showing that not much has changed. And for the storyline about Trump's brain being transplanted into Bill the Cat's body. Priceless!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carey

    If the 80s were this witty I wanna go back. Still awesome, 25 years later.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Don

    I believe Breathed hit his stride here.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dioscita

    I can't claim Breathed is as great a Cartoon Genius as 'Calvin & Hobbes" Magician Bill Watterson, but to me Breathed is a solid second. I can't claim Breathed is as great a Cartoon Genius as 'Calvin & Hobbes" Magician Bill Watterson, but to me Breathed is a solid second.

  24. 4 out of 5

    angrykitty

    another awesome anthology. this one really captured the early cartoons, and for that, i give my thanks. the early ones were by far the best.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tripmastermonkey

    while berkeley breathed doesn't seem as funny as he used to, this collection is hilarious!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This equals five stars for all the other Bloom County books, too!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Curtiss

    An inflated look at the characters of Bloom County; which have nothing whatever to do with the title subject.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Bloom County is my favorite comic strip. I even have a "Bill the Cat" stuffed toy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    Bloom County from 1986-1989. Brings back memories. Found it on the local take-it shelf at the library.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robert Lesstrange

    More of Berke Breatheds' satire brilliantly illustrated!

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