Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bloom County was a popular comic strip by Berkeley Breathed which ran from December 8, 1980 until August 6, 1989. It examined events in politics and culture through the lens of a fanciful small town in middle United States, where children have adult personalities and vocabularies and animals can talk and role-play. It grew out of a strip featuring many of the same characters that Breathed started while a student at the The University of Texas, where he worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan.
- Opus is a large-nosed penguin with a herring addiction who lost his mother during the Falklands War. Initially Opus was only a bit player in a throwaway gag. But his hopeless naïveté made him a favorite, the center of the strip, and the subject of two "sequel" strips (Outland and Opus) and a children's movie.
- Milo Bloom is a ten-year-old newspaper editor and probably the most world-wise of the whole bunch.
- Steve Dallas is a former fraternity member, unsuccessfully practicing lawyer, would-be womanizer, manager of Deathtöngue, legend in his own mind, and antagonist of the group.
- Bill the Cat is an large orange cat who bears the characteristics of someone entirely burned out on LSD. He's been a cult leader ("Bagwan Bill"), televangelist ("Fundamentally Oral Bill"), perennial presidential candidate for the Meadow Party, had his brain replaced with Donald Trump's, has died (and was cloned from his own tongue), been a Russian defector, heavy-metal rock star ("Wild Bill Cat" of Deathtöngue), drug addict, cat-sweat donor, and a woman named Frieda.
- Michael Binkley originally owned Opus ("A boy and his penguin!") and is wishy-washy and overly reflective, when not contemplating the lives of pop-culture icons. His "anxiety closet" has been a staple of many storylines.
- Oliver Wendell Jones is the genius of the bunch with such escapades as inventing a miracle hair-growth formula, hacking Pravda with the headline "Gorbachev sings tractors! Turnips! Buttocks!", and various other technical achievements.
- Cutter John, a wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran often in Star Trek fantasies and anti-war protests.
- Bobbi Harlow is the feminist school teacher of Milo and Binkley, as well as the love interest of Steve and Cutter. She was a major character until 1983, when she faded away completely.
- Tom Binkley (Michael's father)
- Lola Granola
- Steve's mother
- Milquetoast the Cockroach
- Rosebud the Basselope
- Ronald-Ann Smith
See also Minor characters in Bloom County
Among the topical issues discussed at length in Bloom County are US anti-drug policy (Dr. Oliver's Scalp Tonic), Christian televangelist scandals (Fundamentally Oral Bill), animal testing (Attack of the Mary Kay Commandos), hard rock and censorship (Deathtöngue and Billy and the Boingers), and inter-species relationships (Opus meets Lola Granola).
After Bloom County, Breathed started a Sunday-only strip called Outland with original characters. However, Opus, Bill and other characters reappeared and slowly took over the strip.
Bloom County books
- Loose Tails (1983)
- Toons For Our Times (1984)
- Penguin Dreams and Stranger Things (1985)
- Billy and the Boingers Bootleg (1987)
- Tales Too Ticklish to Tell (1988)
- Night of the Mary Kay Commandos (1989)
- Happy Trails! (1990)
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