It's unusual -- but not unthinkable -- for an artist to retire a certain style or project while it's still popular. Better to be remembered for the high points, the reasoning goes, rather than as "the thing that wouldn't die." In the 1980s, cartoonist Berkeley Breathed pushed the outlandish cast of Bloom County to popularity and a Pulitzer.
who ran for president and coughed up a hairball on Connie Chung. It
also offered the most pointed political and social commentary seen in a
comic strip since Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury.
At its apex, it was syndicated in 1,200 publications worldwide. But
unlike Trudeau, Breathed retired his strip in 1989, saying, "A good
comic strip is no more eternal than a ripe melon." Perhaps, but that
doesn't mean the strip -- or the cartoonist -- has lost anything over the
features a retrospective of the cartoonist's prolific career
encompassing the creation of seven children's books; cartoons; movie
projects (including a film based on his book, Mars Needs Moms); and, of course, a comprehensive look at Bloom County.
His inspiration? Well, everything: "You draw -- literally -- from your
life if you're going to write anything with some juice to it." We
respect the right of any artists to do whatever they think is best. Just
the same, we'd love to see Opus and Bill have their way with the likes
of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.
The exhibit runs through June 19 at the Cartoon Art Museum. Admission is free-$7. A reception is scheduled for April 2.