Beware: Opening up Bloom County, The Complete Library, Volume Two: 1982–1984 brings with it a commitment. You will not be going anywhere for a while. Hours, probably.
If you can put it down without first getting thoroughly engrossed, then you’re a better person than I. Or maybe you have a vastly different sense of humor. Bloom County is the ultimate comic strip ever published, in my opinion. Period. Yes, The Far Side is incredible. And so was Calvin & Hobbes. And who doesn’t love Peanuts? But Bloom County…that one was absolute magic.
IDW’s wonderful archives of this series (each spanning two years in the strip’s 1980s-spanning run) are handsome and elegant. And of course they’re complete: They contain all the strips published in the time span plus tons of bonus material. But it’s the recollections of creator Berkeley Breathed inside that really seal the deal.
A bit of back story: For volume one of the anthology, Breathed shared many insights into the beginnings of the series. However, he didn’t believe, before publication, that anyone still cared about his old comic strip, and thus he needed convincing from IDW to do the reprints. Moreover, the remembrances he offered in that volume, although great, were somewhat pared down compared to volume two. That’s because the overwhelming sales on the first edition convinced Breathed that his fans were not only still around—they were legion.
Breathed skewered the ‘80s and even those of us who lived through them sometimes have trouble remembering them. So it’s incredibly helpful that Breathed includes such tidbits as this, which accompanies a poetic strip from 1983 centered on Caspar Weinberger: “Caspar Weinberger served as Secretary of Defense under President Reagan. He wrote me a poem back asking for the original strip.”
Bloom County, The Complete Library, Volume Two: 1982–1984 brings back so many pleasant memories, and contains so many behind-the-scenes touches, that it’s even better than the first one. Come along for the ride and spend some quality time with Opus and Milo and the gang again!
Reviewed by John Hogan on July 13, 2012