An Open Letter to Berkeley Breathed

by Bill Brenner on July 15, 2015

Dear Mr. Breathed,

I’m thrilled — thrilled! — that you’re bringing back “Bloom County.” I grew up reading your deliciously demented take on life in the 1980s. As a metalhead, my favorite story line was Billy and the Boingers. I loved that Steve Dallas casually decided that forming and managing a band with Opus and Bill the Cat would be more lucrative than defending serial killers.

Mood music:

When air traffic controllers went on strike and Ronald Reagan fired them all, you brilliantly turned it into a story about Santa’s Elves going on strike and getting fired by the President.

I equally devoured the saga of Steve Dallas quitting smoking and Bill the Cat getting exiled to the Soviet Union, where his job at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant ended badly:

BillTheCat

I could go on, but I think I’ve established my credentials as a “Bloom County” fanboy.

Now, I don’t mean to be an ungrateful fanboy, but I did feel that you lost your way at various points.

That jag where Opus was being hunted by pissed-off Mary Kay cosmetics saleswomen was a little flat. The time you turned Steve Dallas into the mirror opposite of his true personality also fell flat for me. I appreciate what you tried to do there. I just didn’t laugh like I did when Binkley’s old man agonized over whether he was a racist for not voting for Jesse Jackson in the 1988 presidential primaries.

You made me sad when you ended “Bloom County,” though the final installments, where all the characters were finding other comic strip character jobs, was wonderful. I think I was depressed for a week when the final strip came out:

cfb404fc9f047503eb3104b568b5767c

But then you created “Outland,” which was a yawner from the start. I tried to like it. I even named a pet mouse after Ronald-Ann when it became clear you were going to give her a lead role in the new series. (Ronald-Ann the mouse eventually got her head eaten by another pet mouse, but I digress…)

I think you knew you were floundering. That’s why you started bringing back the old Bloom County stars for visits. But it just didn’t click. All I wanted — all most of your fans wanted — was for “Bloom County” to come back.

Now it’s back and I’m giddy as can be. But I’m also a little nervous. Will you truly rise to the occasion?

The world has changed in 25 years and there’s plenty of fertile ground you can cover. Some things I’m hoping you’ll address:

  • What does Binkley’s anxiety closet look like in the post-9-11 world?
  • Is Steve Dallas going to get hooked on e-cigs and go back to defending killers? And is his mom coming back to lecture him (I hope)?
  • Is Milo Bloom editor of the Bloom Beacon now, and, if so, who are his favorite targets of scorn now that Senator Bedfellow is long gone?
  • Speaking of the Bloom Beacon, how well has it made the jump to digital media?

You can’t really go back to lampooning Prince Charles and Princess Diana, but you have tons of celebrities to pick on in 2015. Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton. Kanye West. And there are plenty of fresh political battles to sink your teeth into. I’m interested in what “Bloom County” thinks of government surveillance and the push to legalize pot. And Congress is more broken than ever. Surely you can have some fun with that.

And, in case you didn’t know, heavy metal is popular again. Bring back the Boingers.

Your biggest fanboy,

Bill

Bloom County Cast

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