Characters: Bloom County

Note that this list also applies to the strip's spin-offs, Outland and Opus.

    open/close all folders 

    Primary Recurring Characters 

Opus

Major Character In: Bloom County, Outland, Opus, Bloom County 2015

An anxious, lovable penguin introduced in 1982 who slowly became Bloom County's main character. After that series ended, every comic strip Berkeley Breathed has created since explicitly has him in the lead role. He is the symbol for the entire Bloom County universe.

Opus is very nervous and often forced into situations he'd rather not be in. However, he is also extremely flawed and as often as not brings hardship on himself – he's a sucker for late-night infomercials (which led to a shopping addiction), is extremely susceptible to the side-effects of dandelions, and tends to develop crushes on powerful women in the media. From the end-period of Bloom County through all of Outland, he was on a quest to find his mother. They finally meet at the end of the latter… but then he promptly fled at the beginning of Opus when he found her insufferable.

  • Art Evolution: Opus's nose grows substantially larger as the series progresses.
    • Characterization Marches On: He also becomes less of a penguin and more like some kind of vaguely penguinish humanoid – his nose is much more like a mammalian/human nose (he even gets rhinoplasty at one point, and it's fleshy enough to liposuction) and he ends up with teeth and hands.
  • Butt Monkey: Forced into doing a lot of things and treated like crap by the world a good chunk of the time.
  • Breakout Character/Ensemble Dark Horse: Opus was originally only supposed to appear for a few weeks, but both the fans and Breathed himself loved the character so much, he quickly became a regular and eventually the main character. "Pear Pimples for Hairy Fishnuts" was arguably his breakout.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: In a meta sense. His introduction is where Bloom County hit its stride.
  • Gag Nose: His large nose has been the butt of many jokes, a sample of which can be seen here.
  • Interspecies Romance: Was engaged to human Lola Granola for at least a year and has gone on dates with other human women.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After he and Cutter John disappeared over the ocean, he returned with regular amnesia. But after a while his normal personality and memories returned but what happened to Cutter John was unknown.
    • Luckily months later, a false claim that Eddie Murphy was marrying Opus's crush Diane Sawyer shocked him enough to jar his memory.
  • Missing Mom: A recurring theme in Bloom County and Outland.
  • My Beloved Smother: See Wanting Is Better Than Having below.
  • Put on a Bus: Twice. The first time he and Cutter John were lost at sea and presumed dead and he came back with amnesia. Then later in the strip, after Bill became Fundamentally Oral Bill, he was kicked out of the Boarding House by the converted house members after Bill decried "Penguin Lust" on TV. He came back later after Bill stopped being popular and stayed ever since.
  • Retcon: He was introduced as Binkley's pet.
  • Rip Van Winkle: Bloom County 2015 starts with him waking up from a nap and being told he slept for 25 years.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: He's very fond of herring.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With every single character except Binkley, though it's mostly one sided.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: Opus searched for most of Bloom County and Outland for his mother… only to find out she was overly controlling and tried to force him to marry a large, repulsive penguin named Eunice.

Milo Bloom

Major Character In: Bloom County, Bloom County 2015

The star of Bloom County from its earliest days, Milo was the group's Only Sane Man, though he could be goofy as the rest of his friends when the situation called for it. Also a dedicated journalist with a habit for completely making up stories stretching the truth.

  • Almighty Janitor: Has a lot of pull at the Bloom Beacon despite being the intern and later copy boy.
    • It helps that the Chief Editor is a jittery wreck from trying and failing to hold off his yellow-journalism impulses, and thus spends much of his time hunched on his desk in agony as Milo tempts him.
  • Characterization Marches On: See below.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Early in the strip, to the point of having a crush on Betty Crocker. He mellowed out with time but still has traces of it, such as when he is holding casual conversations while spearfishing at a small creek with a whale harpoon.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In a strip full of them, he tended to do it the most.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Parodied.
  • Lurid Tales of Doom: What he publishes in most of his articles for the paper.
  • Only Sane Man: For most of the strip, especially in the Meadow Party storylines.
  • Put on a Bus: He wasn't in Outland or Opus. (Though he did have a nonspeaking cameo in one of the last Outland strips...as a passenger on a bus!)

Bill The Cat

Major Character In: Bloom County, Outland, Opus, Bloom County 2015

Introduced partway through the first strip's run, Bill is an ugly, mangy, flea-bitten, smelly, all-around-nasty creature who "speaks" almost entirely in rude sounds… and has run for president twice, been both a Hair Metal musician and a fundamentalist preacher, and has bedded innumerable women. Also, he tends to die a lot – one time resulted in his body becoming a vessel for Donald Trump's brain. He is the second most popular character in the series, and the only one besides Opus and Steve to play a major role in every post-Bloom County comic.

Although Bill was created to lampoon Garfield and its Merchandise-Driven nature, he became nearly as merchandised himself.

  • Anthropomorphic Shift: Became taller and longer-limbed over time. The trope was inverted as well, as Bill also gradually stopped speaking in anything but grunts and "ack"s and suffered a major drop in intelligence.
  • Back from the Dead: Thanks to Oliver cloning him from his only remains (His tongue).
  • Breakout Character: Created by Breathed as the least marketable character possible, he ended up with tons of merchandise.
  • The Chew Toy: Literally, in this case.
  • Fat Cat: In any of the early strips… although his belly looks more distended than overweight.
  • The Grotesque: Played with. Bill is an ugly, smelly, brain-dead cat, but he doesn't let this stop him from gaining fame, fortune, and women.
  • Hypocrite: During his stint as a self-righteous televangelist, Bill persecuted penguins for their "penguin lust." It's later revealed that he's had his own indiscretions with a "transexual slave trader". Bill showed no remorse, and his viewers quickly forgave him,
  • Kavorka Man: Especially in Outland.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Which he plays as an instrument during his stint with the heavy metal band Deathtongue.
  • The Unintelligible: he only speaks coherently every once in a while. Usually he says little more than "ACK."
  • Take That: He is one, to Garfield. Milo makes this absolutely explicit in Bill's introductory strip.

Michael Binkley

Major Character In: Bloom County, Opus, Bloom County 2015

A wide eyed idealist and Milo and Opus's best friend. Lives with his dad Tom, with whom he clashed due to their polar opposite personalities. Also has a closet full of anxieties.

  • All Love Is Unrequited: His attempts at romance haven't gone that well.
    • Blondie, his first crush, did go out with him, but outright rejected him when he tried to make her his girlfriend.
    • Abbi is entirely unaware he has feelings for her, to his dismay.
  • Breakout Character: Went from a nerdy Klinger to one of the main characters.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Especially early on. Case in point: He attempted to buy a dog to please his father… but ended up with Opus instead.
  • Dysfunctional Family: He often acts as a voice of reason and reluctant parental figure for his Man Child father.
  • Future Loser: Any time any character looks into the future, Binkley ends up having an unpleasant life.
  • Last Name Basis: His real first name is Michael, but even his dad calls him Binkley.
  • Missing Mom: Ran away with a Hells Angel about 2 years after Binkley first appeared.
  • Only Sane Man: Can often be this, unless his anxiety closet and lack of sleep break him – which happens from time to time.
  • The Pollyanna: Despite the anxiety closet, he's one of the least cynical characters in the series (and that includes Opus).
  • Progressively Prettier: In his very first appearance he was a gawky, chubby, bespectacled, bald kid. Though almost immediately he grew his iconic giant puff of hair.
  • Retcon: The ways in which his backstory has changed…
    • He was originally Opus's owner, a fact which was dropped and ignored pretty early on.
    • By the beginning of Opus, Binkley had apparently aged into a teenager, had a disastrous first kiss, and had become a Tibetan eunuch. He returned in a later comic, unaged, with zero explanation.
    • Earlier than that, near the beginning of Outland he'd apparently become Bart Simpson. This was likewise dropped.

Steve Dallas

Major Character In: The Academia Waltz, Bloom County, Outland, Opus, Bloom County 2015

A scumbag lawyer with murderers as his almost exclusive clientele, Dallas is a dedicated Republican, drinker, smoker, and womanizer. He's also Breathed's longest-lasting character, starting with his college strip The Academia Waltz. He is the only character to have the distinction of being a main character in every single one of Breathed's strips. note  Later had his personality flip-flopped to become a sensitive guy, then flipped back.

  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Steve's habit of having a few too many has led to incidents of this (most notably during his attempted "courtship" of Bobbi).
  • Amoral Attorney: The man has clearly never taken an ethics class in his life.note 
  • Ax-Crazy: When he abstained cold turkey from cigarettes and tried to kill Opus.
  • Back for the Finale: His personality went back to normal just in time for Bloom County's last few weeks.
  • Casanova Wannabe: He very rarely scored with women.
  • Cool Shades: Except for that time when the aliens rewired his brain…
  • Heroic BSOD: During Bloom County 2015 after getting dumped then rejected. he snaps out of it after meeting a cancer patient.
  • Hopeless Suitor: For Bobbi. And he frequently got arrested and punched in the process.
  • Jerkass: And proud of it.
  • My Beloved Smother: His relationship with his mother is ambivalent at best.
  • Pet the Dog: After spending the months of November and December in 2015 raving about his bad lot and comptemplating suicide, he finds a kid in the hosptial with cancer. He then procedes to, after spending the night with the kids mother off panel, take all of his toys and posters and put them up in his room at the hosptial.
  • Shout-Out: During Steve's nicotine-withdrawal lunacy, Opus hides in the bathroom. Steve attacks the bathroom door with an axe, a shout out to The Shining.
  • Strawman Political: For Republicans.
  • Suddenly Sexuality: At the very end of Outland, Steve casually reveals he's gay, and runs away to get married to Mark Slackmeyer. Though with his return in Opus, he is back to his typical woman-hunting ways.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: In Bloom County, after the aliens rewired his brain to make him a modern sensitive man, the cast were just as annoyed by his overly wimpy personality.
  • Write Who You Know:invoked "Steve Dallas is, sadly, not a caricature."

Oliver Wendell Jones

Major Character In: Bloom County, Bloom County 2015

The resident nerd of the area. Both a dedicated hacker and mad scientist.

  • Black and Nerdy: One of the earliest examples in media, probably the Ur-Example for comics.
  • Black Best Friend: With both Binkley and Milo.
  • The Cracker: Hacked the White House computers on a regular basis, not to mention countless others.
  • For Science!: Pretty much anything he does.
  • Hulk Out: When he drinks a mysterious substance and transforms into a towering hulk. The effects quickly wear off, however. Opus was pontificating with his back to Oliver the whole time and never noticed.
  • Out of Focus: Has only shown up for a few scattered strips so far in BC 15.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: His father has this attitude toward him, especially when Oliver's experiments go wrong at his expense.
    • His mother is even worse, given that she's shown to dislike his hobbies of computers and science even when he's not doing much with them. She thinks he needs to me more like Michael Jackson.

Cutter John

Major Character In: The Academia Waltz, Bloom County, Bloom County 2015

A disabled war veteran (of Vietnam in Bloom County; of Iraq in Bloom County 2015). He relies on a wheelchair to get around. Well-liked by everyone… except a jealous Steve. Often lucky in love – he dated Bobbi Harlow until she disappeared from the original strip; in the reboot, he gets together with Cozy Fillerup.

  • Ascended Extra: In Bloom County 2015, getting an entire story arc focused on him and showing up in the comic before Steve of all people. This is likely due to Berke finding a workaround for the previous issue of Cutter's wheelchair – a sleeker modern model that fits in the page better and crutches for when that's too much.
  • The Captain: Played Captain Kirk and just captain in general during the meadow crew's Star Trek fantasies.
  • The Casanova: When he wasn't dating Bobbi.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Breathed said that he got rid of Cutter because he found it hard to draw a wheelchair in the confines of a comic. This is averted in the 2015 relaunch. See Ascended Extra above.
  • Handicapped Badass: Got tons of women and stood up to the Russians during months of imprisonment.
  • Porn Stache: Although he had his back when that type of moustache was in style.
  • Put on a Bus: He was almost completely absent from Outland and Opus, though unlike other characters he was mentioned and/or appeared in flashbacks.
    • The Bus Came Back: Just like for many other 80's-era Bloom County characters when the strip rebooted in 2015.

    Lesser Multiple-strip Characters 

Tom Binkley

Binkley's dad who started out as an overzealous jock before turning into a beaten down divorcee.

  • Butt Monkey: Nothing seems to go right for Tom. He's been arrested for stripping (something he only did to keep his family fed), divorced by his wife, had no longterm luck finding a new one, and has his son wake him up every night to talk about some random celebrity thing.
  • Characterization Marches On: One of the biggest cases of this. Early on he was an overzealous jock who forced his son into doing things and tried to stop him from going out with blondie based on her race. After his divorce, he becomes a more sympathetic character who's exasperation with his son comes more from Binkley constantly waking him up and who's generally beaten down by life.
  • Jerkass: Early on, where he reguarly berated his son and forced him into sports against his will. After his divorce while he'll still take jabs at Binkley, it's more out of frustration with Binkley waking him up every night with celebrity gossip than out of genuine malice.
  • Man Child: Acts like this from time to time, especially in Bloom County 2015 with his man bun and his closet of shame filled with a sex doll and a Bart Simpson Bong with a trump poster on the side.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Gets upset in one strip when Binkley dosen't wake him with celebrity gossip, having gotten used to it.

Milquetoast the Cockroach

An obnoxious, thieving roach.

  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Being a roach, he loved to eat rotten discarded food and other oddities. For example, before enjoying a Ding Dong, he asked Opus to rub it in the gunk under the refrigerator. In another strip, he recited a poem to himself while going to sleep.
    As I slumber, I think I'll number my favorite foods, short of lumber! Pickled eels! Last week's veal! Banana peels well congealed!
  • Creepy Cockroach: Not so much creepy as annoying.
  • Ironic Name: "Milktoast" means timid and quiet. Milquetoast the Cockroach is anything but.
  • Jerkass: He delights in angering Opus.
  • Made of Iron: He's squashed repeatedly throughout Bloom County and Outland, but always recovers.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: While registering to vote, he proudly proclaims himself an "Arthropod-American".
    • In Outland, when Ronald-Ann delivers a class presentation on Afrocentric history, Milquetoast interrupts with assertions about bug-centrist history.
  • The Prankster: In several strips, Milquetoast and his friends whisper bizarre subliminal suggestions in people's ears while they sleep. Milquetoast also squirts toilet bowl cleaner up Opus' nose while the penguin was sleeping, then manipulates Opus into feeling sorry for him.
  • Vocal Dissonance: For a tiny insect, he has a deep voice. In the cartoon "A Wish for Wings That Work", he has a basso profondo voice.
  • Wholesome Cross Dresser: He occasionally wears drag. In the cartoon "A Wish for Wings That Work", he's decked out in a wig and dress (stuffed with Milk Duds) while looking for the Cockroach Cross Dressers in Crisis meeting.

Ronald-Ann Smith

A young black girl from the "wrong side of the tracks" during Bloom County. Became the main character during Outland before Opus took over and eventually disappeared from the strip entirely.

  • Ascended Extra: Went from a recurring character in Bloom County to one of the main characters in Outland.
  • Back for the Finale: Appeared for one out-of-character strip during Outland's final months.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She was usually very sweet during Outland, but had quite the mischievous streak.
  • Companion Cube: Her doll Reynelda. Reynelda's head was blown off by a stray bullet during a neighborhood gun fight. Reynelda speaks on rare occasions, such as after Ronald-Ann's conversation with Trump!Bill and during a tea party in Outland.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Disappeared two thirds of the way through Outland.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: She lives in poverty in a squalid, crime-ridden neighborhood.
  • The Pollyanna: Easily the least cynical, most optimistic character Berkeley ever created, which is ironic considering how horrible her life is.

Donald Trump

Yes, that Donald Trump. A source of occasional jokes during Bloom County. After an accident during the comic's last year, his brain was installed in Bill The Cat's body – Bill himself had died (again) and wasn't using it. The decision by the real thing to run for president was what convinced Berkeley Breathed to resurrect the strip. Naturally, Trump is again a frequent source of mockery in the 2015 version.

  • Eat the Dog: Literally plans this after his dog Goldie Tinkles runs away.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Fails to see just how hard Ronald Ann has it.
  • Jerkass: It's Donald Trump, what do you expect?
    • His actions lead, in-universe, directly to the end of the original Bloom County - he buys the comic, fires all the characters, and paves over the meadow to build a massive skyscraper.
  • Rags to Riches: Early on due to Ivana throwing him out after he became a cat. He claws his way back up, unfortunately.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: The reason he's in the comic. He has no idea how to live without large stacks of cash.
  • Snap Back: Is back to normal, as is Bill – well, as normal as either of them can be – in Bloom County 2015.

Lola Granola

Opus's fiancée for about a year (and wife for about an hour) in Bloom County. Was a modern artist with a personality opposite Opus's.

  • Back for the Finale: She had a brief conversation with Opus at the Bloom County wrap party in the strip's last weeks.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Quite a bit.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite appearing in two of Breathed's four previous strips, she has not appeared or even been mentioned in Bloom County 2015.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Of Dan Fogelberg's face, apparently in a scandalous location.
  • Granola Girl: With a nice big lampshade.
  • Moral Guardians: Threw a fit in Real Life over Lola's 2007 conversion to radical Islam. This led to that series of Opus comics being cut from several newspapers. The outcry eventually prompted Breathed to end the comic.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Opus.
  • Put on a Bus: After she and Opus annulled their marriage, she did not appear again (aside from a brief cameo at the Bloom County wrap party).
    • The Bus Came Back: She returned to Opus in a major role as Steve Dallas's girlfriend… nearly twenty years after her last appearance in Bloom County.
  • Satellite Character: In most of her major Bloom County storylines, she had almost no interaction with anyone besides Opus. Ditto with Steve in Opus.
  • She Who Must Not Be Seen: For the first few strips that featured her.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible:invoked Lola's modus operandi.

     Bloom County 

Major Bloom

Milo's Grandpa and a major character early on. Obsessed with fighting communism and making Milo into a real man; he fails at both.

Bobbi Harlow

A 20-something feminist teacher who was a main character during Bloom County's early years. Eventually became less and less important until she up and disappeared from the strip. Dated Steve and then Cutter John.

  • Bus Crash: Was revealed to have later joined the staff on Donahue, and then cut her ear off when Geraldine Ferraro lost the vice presidency in 1984.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Towards Steve.
  • Straw Feminist: Subverted. Didn't stop the town from treating her like one, though.

Yaz Pistachio

Bobbi Harlow's teenage niece, who only appeared in the comic in 1983.

Rosebud

A basselope (basset hound/antelope) who appeared late in the Bloom County run.

  • Samus Is a Girl: Assumed to be male until a 1988 storyline about somebody in the strip being secretly female.

W.A. Thornhump

The rather dubious President of Bloom County, Inc. Whenever he appears, he's either desperately trying to raise Bloom County's (in-universe) flagging readership or perform damage control.

  • The Alcoholic: When Bloom County's staff submitted to drug tests, Thornhump's results showed that he consumed massive quantities of alcohol that day. The last panel of the strip shows Opus delivering Thornhump's six martini lunch.
  • Bald of Evil
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Will go to just about any lengths to boost the strip's readership. But rest assured that you definitely won't be seeing Nude Oil-Wrestling with Olive Oyl.
    "Tomorrow, more trash you'll never see here."

Portnoy and Hodge Podge

Respectively, a groundhog and jackrabbit who sometimes hang out with the human gang (and Opus). Early on, they also hung out with a couple other animals, including an unnamed bear.

  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite being fairly major characters in Bloom County, they did not carry on to Outland or Opus; thus far have not appeared in Bloom County 2015.
  • Fantastic Racism: Hodge Podge does not like pigs. So when Portnoy came out as a groundhog, Hodge did not take it well.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Hodge Podge had kids with Rosebud.
  • Jerkass: The two are generally rude and selfish.
    • During Bill the Cat's stint as a televangelist, Portnoy and Hodge Podge fell under Oral Bill's sway and taunted Opus for his "penguin lust."
  • Shout-Out: Portnoy's name is a reference to the novel Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth.

     Outland 

Mortimer Mouse

Mickey's unsuccessful brother who was cast out of Disney after returning to find what Michael Eisner•  had done to the place and picking a fight with him. Dropped from the strip because Disney threatened to sue – turns out they already have a copyrighted & trademarked character named Mortimer Mouse.

  • Arch-Enemy: Michael Eisner
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A rare enforced instance. He disappeared early in the strip due to legal threats from Disney, only returning for a brief cameo.
  • Name's the Same:invoked With Disney's own character of the same name… though the Disney original has no blood relation to Mickey.
  • Take That: Not actually one at Mickey Mouse. However, after Disney made it known they were prepared to sic their lawyers on Outland, Breathed used his Mortimer to rip Michael Eisner a new one.

Tim W.Forty

A purple cockney weasel who disappeared soon after Opus was introduced into the strip.

Truffles The Pig

A glasses wearing pig.

  • Out of Focus: Outside of the below mentioned strip didn't have much of a roll in the strip.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Spent an entire strip harassing Opus over every term the penguin used due to it apparently being offensive to pigs.

     Opus 

Opus's Mom

Opus's long lost mom. Quickly proves to be a smothering wreck. Opus eventually leaves her behind to return to Bloom County.

  • It's All About Me: Isn't at all happy about Opus's departure even though he wasn't at all happy in the arctic and spent over a decade looking for her.
  • My Beloved Smother: To the point she tried to arrange a marriage for opus to keep him from leaving.

Pickles

A wild little girl who befriends Opus.

  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Disappears shortly before Binkley returned.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Responded to a car parking in too small a space by preparing to chainsaw it down to size.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Talks up girls and boys being equal but quickly retracts the position after Auggie points out it means that Women are just as capable of men's negative qualities as Men are.
  • G-Rated Drug: Had a princess addiction.

Auggie Dallas

Steve's son, left on his doorstep by an old girlfriend.

     Bloom County 2015 

Abby Fillerup

A little girl about Binkley and Milo's age who dabbles in New Age activities like yoga and acupuncture. She's the daughter of Cozy, Cutter John's most recent girlfriend.

  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: She's a bit off, to say the least.
  • The Gadfly: Her idea of activities while Opus is baby sitting her is to paint him rainbow colors and she repels Opus's attempts to woo her mom on Cutter John's behalf by grabbing his schnoz.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: She teaches yoga and is a professionally-amateur acupuncturist. She also loves to paint stuff (usually Opus) to look like mandalas or similarly zen things.
  • Oblivious to Love: Is entirely unaware of Binkley's crush on her, despite him dropping rather obvious hints.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Since her introduction, she's been in nearly every comic, and most of the new storylines have her as the primary focus (leading to diminished roles for the rest of the cast). The only thing that stops her from becoming a full-on Creator's Pet is the fact that that she's received such a positive response from the fandom.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For Pickles from Opus.
  • Sweet Tooth: After her mom gives in to Cutter John (elsewhere), she takes Opus and company up on their last wooing attempt – Chocolates.
  • What Are Records?: Refuses to believe the funnies existed.

Cozy Fillerup

Cutter John's new love interest and single mother.

Sugar

Steve's girlfriend of when the strip starts. They quickly break up after she sees his anniversary present for her.