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Trivia / Bloom County

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  • Accidentally Correct Writing: The 1986 strips suggesting that Ozzy Osbourne's Prince of Darkness persona was just a big act and that he was a fairly down-to-earth bloke seemed like a cheeky Take That! to rock image-making at the time. But The Osbournes showed that it was the truth after all.
  • Colbert Bump: Garry Trudeau putting Doonesbury on hiatus in 1983 directly benefitted Bloom County, since newspapers and readers turned to it to fill the void.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Berke is disappointed by the 1991 animated special based on one of his books, A Wish for Wings That Work (which itself is based on Bloom County), because of the overall results, despite being credited as writer and executive producer.
    • When asked about a copy of the special on VHS or DVD in a 2003 interview, Breathed replied that "Hopefully in the rubbish pail. We can do better than that and we will with an eventual Opus film… but I'm glad you enjoyed it. I presume your family was on speed when they watched it. I would imagine it helps."
    • In a 2007 interview, Breathed claims that the reason he dislikes the special was simply "unspectacular ratings" and his humor "wasn't meant for television, even if it was done right." Another reason was his "lack of writing experience", and that the director was way over his head. He also would have preferred Sterling Holloway•  to provide the voice for Opus.
  • Executive Meddling: There were several strips that were inexplicably censored and edited in the phase of going into book prints. Breathed claimed that usually after finishing making the strips, he would simply mail them off to the company and never kept any copies of them himself, so he likely didn't notice that they were altered, either. Whereas other times, he edited the strip himself upon putting it in a book. Most of the time, these were just subtle changes in dialogue; Berke has frequently expressed frustration with how wordy some of his strips got.
    • Zig-zagged with the classic books. Some have the edited strips, while others have them as they originally appeared in the newspaper. The Complete Library, a definitive collection of sorts, seems to be sticking to the latter, delegating the edited versions to bonus features in the back of each volume.
    • Several of the Complete Library Sunday strips are slightly tampered, mostly from being recycled from the 25th Anniversary Opus book (which had updated colors and some gags that were edited for tightness). The only acknowledgment of tampering from Berke was for a gag in which Bill talks, which (despite ruining the joke) struck him as out-of-character. note 
  • Follow the Leader:
    • In the 1980-1982 anthology, Breathed admits that he openly cribbed Doonesbury for much of the strip's first year. Doonesbury later returned the favor when it began to take cues from Bloom County.
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    • Liberty Meadows and The Boondocks were clearly influenced by Bloom County.
  • Missing Episode: For the longest time, Berke declined to reprint a very large number of strips, including most of the first two years, mostly because he found them unfunny and/or outdated. Platypus Comix archived a great deal of the missing strips ages before the first archive book (1980-1982) was released.
  • Name's the Same: Weird Harold, a Yaz Pistachio Satellite Character who only appeared in a few strips, shares his name with a character on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.
  • Old Shame: The paperbacks are missing a lot of strips, apparently due to Berke's embarrassment of them. In particular, most of the first year-and-a-half was tucked away because Berke was flat-out embarrassed by how crude and unfocused the strip was at the start. Even now that the whole shebang has been gathered into The Complete Library, Berke's commentaries on certain strips (particularly in the 1980-82 volume) smack of "dear God, why did I ever write this?!".
    • He's not a fan of the A Wish for Wings That Work special, either, as mentioned above.
    • The Academia Waltz, his college strip and Bloom County's direct predecessor, is so shameful to him that, for many years, he even refused to release them all in the Library, instead only a small sample of the least offensively bad comics are included. He finally relented and allowed IDW to republish them in a collection in 2015 - six years after he allowed the rest of his output to be published. He's still embarrassed about it - the title of the collection is The Academia Waltz and Other Profound Transgressions, and the cover shows Opus opening a box with content warnings and that had been chained shut.
  • Popularity Redo: Many, many Academia Waltz comics were redrawn as Bloom County comics as the strip found its footing. The Complete Library tends to point these out.
  • Reclusive Artist: In the last thirty years there have only been a handful of photos of Berke, and outside of his career history, very little is known about him. A little odd, considering his occasional willingness to give interviews.
    • Notably, Berke appeared in a 2007 episode of America's Most Wanted. His residence had been broken in to during a rash of burglaries at the University of Texas at Austin that ended in one of Breathed's acquaintances being murdered in a robbery gone wrong.
    • Amusingly, he's featured prominently in the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson, discussing an even more reclusive artist.
  • Recycled Script: Berke tended to reuse a ton of gags in his comics. Of note: The "Whopper, no bun" gag, which was used in Bloom County's first comic, came from Berke's previous comic The Academia Waltz, and was later reused again in Bloom County itself.
    • He did it again with several Opus strips.
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: The original strip only ran from 1980 to 1989, but it has been constantly praised for its unique combination of topical satire and fantasy, and many other cartoonists have cited it as an influence.
  • Technology Marches On: One Sunday strip has a teacher mention typewriter ribbons as one of the things he has to spend money from his meager salary on. Needless to say, after about the mid-90s, he probably wouldn't be using a typewriter anymore.
  • Trolling Creator: Berke offhandedly said in an April 2007 interview that he was going to kill off Opus. He recanted it two months later after receiving the desired uproar, saying it was "good for copy."
    Berke: I was kidding about killing Opus, by the way. I'd like to walk the streets free from fears of spontaneous garroting.
    • Then a year later, as the strip was ending, Berke teased this in a comic with "the Creator" telling Opus that "the end is near." Opus doesn't die — he ends up as a character in Goodnight Moon.
  • Un-Cancelled:
    • Directly from Bloom County to Outland in 1989.
    • There were eight years of lag time between Outland (which ended in 1995) and Opus (which started in 2003).
    • Then again with Bloom County 2015, which began seven years after Opus ended and twenty-six years after the original Bloom County ended.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The CG Opus movie that was supposedly under consideration. Instead, we got another CG movie based off of a Breathed work.
    • Similarly, a prime-time animated series was in talks, before Breathed backed out of the project due to fear of losing control of his work. This decision was part of the impetus behind the choice to revive the strip.
    • If A Wish for Wings That Work had been made any later during Outland's run, it could very well have included animated versions of Binkley and Steve Dallas. In that same vein, had Steve and Binkley been regular characters in Outland when this was drawn, we would have likely seen a Steve or Binkley drawn by Bill Watterson.
    • Opus might still be running today had Berke's editors not put the kibosh on a strip satirizing Scientology, and if Moral Guardians hadn't freaked out about Lola Granola converting to Islam.
  • Write Who You Know:
    "Steve Dallas...a frat-boy lawyer who I knew in school. He's never written me. I suspect he was shot by an annoyed girlfriend, which has saved me many legal fees." —Berkeley Breathed, in volume one of Bloom County: The Complete Library.
    • In Volume 2, he remarks of Steve that "Sadly, he is not a caricature."
    • In Volume 4, he adds that Lola Granola, Opus's girlfriend and one-time fiancée, was modeled on the woman he would go on to marry.
  • The strip made its debut on December 8, 1980 — the same day that John Lennon was murdered.


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