Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is proving to be a powerful magnet for retired comics. Over the weekend, David Letterman emerged from his self-imposed exile to mock the candidate with a new Top 10 list. Now Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed has brought back the much beloved comic Bloom County.
Breathed teased the return Sunday, with a Facebook post showing him at work on the strip – dubbed Bloom County 2015. The first strip appeared on the page Monday morning.
“A return after 25 years,” he captioned Sunday’s picture. “Feels like going home.”
Breathed first hinted at the return of Bloom County last Wednesday, replying to one of the many fan pleas to revive the strip. “Watch this space,” he wrote.
What’s less clear is whether Breathed’s decision to revive Bloom County will be ongoing – and, if so, if he intends to only make it available online or if he will once again syndicate it to newspapers.
Apparently, though, Trump’s latest presidential campaign was just too juicy a subject for him to resist.
“With Donald Trump returning to the Political Spectum [sic], I believe it is only fitting [that the strip should return],” read one of the hundreds of comments made by fans after Breathed’s Sunday tease.
“This creator can’t precisely deny that the chap you mention had nothing to do with it,” Breathed replied.
Judging by the number of shares — 15,000 and counting within four hours — and the comments on his Facebook page, his audience is thrilled.
Given how Bloom County ended its nine-year run in 1989, a decision of Breathed’s own choosing, Trump would certainly be a good jumping off point. As Bloom County‘s days came to a close, the narrative focused on Trump (whose brain had been transferred into Bill the Cat’s body several months prior after the millionaire was fatally injured by the anchor of his own yacht) ‘buying’ the strip and firing all of the regular characters.
Irreverent and not afraid to go after politicians – or any public figure – Bloom County is one of the classic American comics. It spawned two spinoffs as well as books and television specials.
Despite deciding to end Bloom County, Breathed could never quite walk away from the characters that breathed life into the strip. Outland, a Sunday only comic that ran from 1989-1995 eventually saw the return of Opus, Bill the Cat and other familiar faces. And Opus, which ran from 2003-2008, was entirely centered around Bloom County’s most popular character.
Ironically, part of the reason Breathed ended Opus was because of the 2008 presidential campaign.
“Thirty years of cartooning to end,” he told the Los Angeles Times at the time. “I’m destroying the village to save it. Opus would inevitably become a ranting mouthpiece in the coming wicked days, and I respect the other parts of him too much to see that happen. The Michael Moore part of me would kill the part of him that was important to his fans.”
Since then, Breathed has stayed active, writing and illustrating a number of children’s books – including Mars Needs Moms!, which, in 2011, was made into a motion picture.