Berkley Breathed’s Bloom County reigned supreme in the 80’s as a new renaissance of comic strips hit the field with Bloom County,Gary Larson’s The Far Side, and Calvin and Hobbes. Bloom County pleased more the college crowd as did the Doonsbury readers from which both were courted by the same readership. Bloom County is more mainstream then Doonsbury which had a more selective taste. Opus and Bill the cat was the driving force of the political laced allegoric strip. Berkley Breathed’s strip is now collected in true form, the original collections were dissected to please publishers at the irking of Berkley. In a recent interview, he summed up the condition of the newspaper and the comic strip within the next five years. Seems the golden years are long gone, if artists do not find a way to parlay their work into cash. It will get harder to find outlets that will print strips, just posting itline will not generate money if you do not have sufficient hits.
This is a sad topic but I’m going to be blunt. Newspapers have about five years left. Young readers of the newspaper comics simply don’t exist anymore in numbers that count. Those eyeballs are elsewhere and will not come back. Online comics are terrific. But they will never have 1% of the readership any major comic had 20 years ago, by the nature of the technology. They’re different beasts now. No, after having 70 million daily readers in 1985, getting 3000 a day online isn’t terribly energizing at this stage. I’m happy to go to the storytelling potential of film and books now. My heart was always there anyway, to be honest.-Berkley Breathed