If you were a fan of the comic strip “Bloom County,” then you are probably familiar with the name Berkeley Breathed. Breathed was the artist who drew the strip from 1980 to 1989, and he is considered one of the most influential cartoonists of his generation.
Berkeley Breathed’s Early Life
Breathed was born in Encino, California in 1957. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Fine Arts in 1979. While at college, he worked on the student newspaper, which is where his interest in cartooning began.
The Creation of “Bloom County”
In 1980, Breathed created “Bloom County” for The Washington Post. The strip featured a cast of characters that included Opus the Penguin, Bill the Cat, Milo Bloom, and Steve Dallas. It quickly became popular for its satirical take on politics and pop culture.
- Opus – A naive and innocent penguin who becomes one of the most beloved characters in the strip.
- Bill – A cat who is always depicted as being either drunk or high.
- Milo – A liberal journalist who serves as a voice of reason throughout much of the strip.
- Steve – A conservative lawyer whose views often clash with Milo’s.
Awards and Recognition
During its nine-year run, “Bloom County” won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1987. The strip was also adapted into a TV special called “A Wish for Wings That Work” and a video game called “Opus: The Day We Found Earth.”
The End of “Bloom County”
In 1989, Breathed decided to end “Bloom County” and began a new strip called “Outland.” This strip featured many of the same characters as “Bloom County,” but it was not as well-received by fans or critics.
Berkeley Breathed Today
Breathed has continued to work in the comic strip industry, creating strips like “Opus” and “Bloom County 2015.” He has also written several children’s books and served as a screenwriter for films like “Mars Needs Moms.”
Berkeley Breathed’s contribution to the comic strip medium cannot be overstated. His unique style and satirical wit helped to define a generation of cartoonists, and his work continues to inspire new generations today. If you are a fan of comics or satire, then you owe it to yourself to check out some of his work.