The Bloom County Library, Vol. 1: 1980-1982
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The Bloom County Library, Vol. 1: 1980-1982 (Bloom County: The Complete Library #1)

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  1,496 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Berkley Breathed's Bloom County was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed newspaper strips of all time. Bloom County ran from December 8th, 1980 to August 6th, 1989 and was published in 1200 newspapers on a daily basis.
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by IDW Publishing
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Michael
Berkley Breathed's Bloom County first caught my eye in the 80's when he'd do the occasional strip with Cutter John, Opus and several other characters acting out their own versions of scenes from Star Trek. It also caught on around my house the day he published a Sunday strip that included the phrase, "Gag me with a Smurf." It was a staple of my family's conversation for years to come.

It was only as I grew up that I realized there was more to the strip than Trek parodies and cool pop culture refe...more
David Edmonds
I faithfully read Berkeley Breathed's strip Bloom County, and the follow-up strips Outland and Opus, every day while it was running. I loved these characters and still do to this day. Breathed's commentary on the events of the day was always a little on the snarky side, but it was always done intelligently. It is clear in these early strips that Breathed is trying to find his voice. There are some characters that you can tell just don't mesh as well with the evolving feel of the strip, and event...more
Benjamin
Nov 30, 2009 Benjamin added it
Shelves: comics
The question was twofold: if one already had the original Little, Brown paperback collections, what would one gain from the Complete Library, and furthermore, do the jokes hold up after all this time? By Breathed's own admission in the footnotes and introduction, the strip doesn't really find its footing until about halfway through the volume. The really wild and zany stuff is yet to come. And yet, the language, the joy of words, and the charm is there from the beginning. And it's a quieter feat...more
Caroline
A beautifully produced, thorough collection of the first two years of 'Bloom County' comic strips. Probably not the best vehicle for encountering BC for the first time, but fascinating for context and background -- if you're like me and remember reading the paperback collections, or even just the Sunday strips that ran in the 1980s (my local paper never carried the dailies, so I only know those from reading collections).

The start's definitely rough as Breathed himself admits in the notes, and so...more
Neil
Only the very best of topical material remains interesting 25 years later, so I really wasn't sure what to expect when I returned to Bloom County. I don't think I'd ever seen most of these early strips either. I'm happy to report that Milo, Binkley, Opus, Cutter John, and the rest remain entertaining after all this time. I'd forgotten his extended riffs on Charles and Di, which are funny too.

It's hard for me to imagine this strip from the perspective of the reader who actually needs the annotat...more
Seth Madej
It's a joy to see these strips again, and even more so to see the ones that have never been previously collected. This volume isn't the golden age of Bloom County. Breathed's still finding his footing through most of it. But the illustration is as skilled as always, and there are plenty of gems and the first appearances of most of the major characters. Not to mention the startling realization of how closely the political and social landscape of 1981 matches that of 2011.

The reprints are high qua...more
Anila
I have never been fortunate enough to live in a place where Bloom County is part of the newspaper comics. Thankfully, I had parents who owned one of the old anthologies - Bloom County Babylon - and so when in my youthful search for something to read I had gone through all the Dilbert, Fox Trot, and For Better or For Worse anthologies, I turned to that strange and forboding-looking black book.

At the time, I think I was not yet immature enough to fully appreciate the hilarity of this comic strip....more
Rebecca
Politically, my opinions diverge from Breathed's but I enjoy his comic strip anyway. I liked this particular volume because of the occasional commentaries by Breathed himself. It takes a while for the strip to take shape but by the end of this volume it is the Bloom County we are familiar with. I personally laugh at the outlandish characters and behavior of everyone in the strip. Breathed pokes fun at everything around him. The way animals and people carry on and talk to each other in Bloom Coun...more
Peacegal
After reading this weighty volume in two days I’m now convinced that Bloom County and other serialized comics are best taken in small doses.

Bloom County, with its frequent political jokes, was always of-the-moment, which could be a problem for those reading the book 30+ years later. (Lots of Cold War worries about the Bomb.)Thankfully, editor’s notes explain some of the references to politicians and TV stars who have since been lost in the sands of time. However, I find it quite sad that indivi...more
Ubalstecha
The great comic strip of the 80s has finally been collected into one place. This first volume follows the introduction of Milo, Bobbi, Cutter John, Steve, Binkley, Opus and even Bill. Included are some of my favourite strips, such as the New Year's Eve party, "Cook a Meal!" and the early Star Trek parodies. As an added bonus, it also includes some strips that have never been printed in collections before. Berkeley Breathed's commentary accompanies the book, showing fans where various characters...more
Chris
Great book but I would like to strangle the dude at IDW that designs the packaging. One day in my briefcase and all of the silver ink fell off of the spine. Reminds me of their Parker the hunter San Diego comic-con exclusive dust jacket, that had nothing written on the spine. Darwin Cook was nice enough to write the books tittle on it for me with a silver marker. Oh, and it is a crap magnet. I swear, by the time I got the book home there were loli-pops, tumble weeds, a transient and a litter of...more
Tom Franklin
Reliving the start of Bloom County...what a gift! The book starts off with a smattering of Berkeley Breathed's college comic strip (to show where some of his Bloom County characters and ideas started) and then it's right in with the entire run of the strip from 1980 until close to the end of 1982.

The only annoying thing about this book is the sidebar explanations of key people (mostly politicians) mentioned in a specific strip. I know this was done for people who weren't around in the 1980s, but...more
Caleb
I was too young to catch the heyday of Bloom County (it ended in 1989 when I was 5 and I grew up thinking the name of the strip was Outland ), but now I know what I missed. This could not run in papers nowadays (I'm surprised Opus lasted as long as it did before Breathed gave it up for the third time) and this is a good thing; probably part of the reason that it wouldn't run in papers today is the fact that it's still relevant, if not more so.

The early strips also make the early, sketchier Doone...more
Michael
Beautifully presented, the strips in this first volume brought back plenty of memories from my formative years, and I'm eagerly awaiting publication of Volume 2. Hopefully, it will include more of Breathed's insightful commentary and fewer explanations of basic pop-culture references. In fact, my greatest disappointment with Volume 1 is the lack of Breathed's annotations -- such as the one reminding readers that comic strips rarely portrayed animals speaking to humans, a common occurrence in "Bl...more
Ben Brackett
Given the current political state, perhaps a very appropriate time for my first reading of Bloom County at an age I'm old enough to understand it.

I was a little irritated with the editors notes on things like who Ronald Reagan was. It was a very timely and topical comic, so if a person reading didn't have the context and had to read the patronizing notes to what the comic referenced, they probably wouldn't like it in the first place.

Around 3/4 of the way through, it felt like Berkeley started t...more
Ben
Jan 17, 2010 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: humor
This collection includes many strips that I hadn't read before, as they weren't included in previous collections. It's interesting to see the evolution of Breathed's style and focus.

There are sparse side notes, which includes comments by Breathed and information about various pop culture and political figures who appear in the strips. Some of them actually explain a few references that I didn't get the first time around. Of course, some of the strips I didn't get the first time around, but that...more
J
An absolutely gorgeous edition. This is just the first volume of IDW's complete Bloom County strips. If their other collections are as beautifully prepared, they're well worth the money.

I grew up reading Bloom County, and although I didn't understand a lot of the jokes when I was seven (yes, I get them now), I still loved the strip. I read the original anthologies over and over again as a kid. Revisiting such a beloved favorite was a delightful, occasionally poignant experience. I'll be buying m...more
Khairul H.
One of the funniest newspaper comic strips of the 1980s. This first collection is the roughest, though. Opus and most of the gang do not yet look like they do later on (Opus actually looks like a penguin), the jokes are very dated (Reagan bashing, nuclear disarmament, Michael Jackson(!)) so if you're new to Bloom County this might not be the best collection to start with.

But for those of us who read the strips in the morning paper or collected the paperbacks and read them until they fell apart,...more
Sean Pfile
C'mon....it's Bill n Opus!
Adam
Wow, absolutely gangbusters stuff. The topical references are dated, obviously, but this is vital, lively madcap stuff. And it's really funny, too!

See the strip (and Breathed's artistic abilities) evolve over time... the original focus was Milo, his grandfather, and an assortment of boarders at a boardinghouse. Watch as Opus, Steve Dallas, Binkley, Bill the Cat (barely), Cutter John, and Bobbi Harlow are introduced. I guess I'll have to keep reading the series to figure out why she faded away.
David
Jan 10, 2011 David rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: fun
Loved it! It was a birthday gift. I have always loved Milo and Cutter John and Opus and even Bill the Cat. Great fun. Laughed out loud.

Went back and re-read it in late November 2010 because I got Volume 2 for my birthday on the 13th and wanted to re-read Volume 1 first. How dumb is that? Meanwhile I have this big stack of unread non-fiction waiting on the shelf and more still on the Amazon wish list. I guess that is as clear a statement of my priorities as I have seen lately.
Laura Lemay
I grew up with Bloom County and hadn't realized quite how long it had run. This is the first of a number of deluxe collections of the entire series. They're very big and heavy books that are tough to take into bed but are still fun to read front-to-back. This first collection, like the original series, takes a while to get going but is a ton of fun. Unlike other reviewers I don't find the editorial side notes explaining topical events or people that distracting.

Carl Nelson
This first volume of the complete Bloom County shows that Breathed followed a few red herrings on his way to the strip's heart and soul: Opus the Penguin. Most of the jokes hold up extremely well, largely due to the exuberance of the cast. Even the frequent tweaks against Reagan come across as gentle, as Breathed always finds a laugh across political differences. A great trip down memory lane, and the asides in the margins from Breathed are nice touches.
Caroline
I loved Bloom County SO much as a kid, and it still totally holds up. The powers that be (actually, the Library of American Comics) finally realized how ridiculous it is that Bloom County books were long out of print, and published these anthologies. I loved reading Breathed's margin notes, as well as being able to see the evolution of the strip. (Opus didn't even appear for the first year!) Very much looking forward to reading the next four volumes.
Frank
Breathed is one of the Big 5 comic strip creators of my time along with Charles Schulz, Garry Trudeau, Gary Larson, and Bill Watterson. (I'd include Matt Groening as well but his strip isn't in mainstream pubs). As with most artists, this collection of his earliest work is more a work-in-progress. A bit raw and dated in places. Hard to judge accurately out of the context of his era, an era when the cutting edge was being defined in this format.
Sarah
Dec 25, 2009 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: humor
A must for any fan of Bloom County. I was struck by how relevant the comics still are today, which brought about a mixture of amusement and sadness - in twenty years, we have solved so little. My one complaint is that there are little blurb of commentary along the side that are often very distracting and often unnecessary, explaining who major political and historical figures of the time were.
Brian
One of the top 3 or 4 comic strips of all time. This complete collection of the first two years has many strips I've never seen before. That alone makes it worth having, even though I own all the other collections that were released when the strip was in publication. Breathed's commentary on certain pivotal strips is an extra bonus. The book itself is very high quality.
Colleen
There is something special for me in going back to childhood comics with an adult's perspective. Also, I particularly enjoy annotated comic books. I got both in this book. I got to go back to the days of Pear Pimples for Hairy Fishnuts, and be reminded of the cultural references to movie stars of the 1950s. It was a fun read on a cold winter's morning.
Beck
This was a hilarious collection of cartoons. If you ever get the chance to read any of Berkeley Breathed's stuff I recommend it. My favorite strips in the collection were the ones involving Steve Dallas, Bobbi Harlow, and/or Cutter John. While Steve may be my favorite, I like Bobbi and Cutter together waaaaaay too much for him and her to ever be a thing.
Rob Hermanowski
One of my all-time favorite comic strips - it was a blast re-reading these. More pop-culture oriented than "Peanuts", but less political than "Doonesbury", Breathed was clearly influenced by both of those other classsic strips. I look forward to eventually reading all of these (the complete "Bloom County" will apparently run five volumes).
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Guy Berkeley "Berke" Breathed is an American cartoonist, children's book author/illustrator, director, and screenwriter, best known for Bloom County, a 1980s cartoon-comic strip which dealt with socio-political issues as seen through the eyes of highly exaggerated characters (e.g. Bill the Cat and Opus the Penguin) and humorous analogies.

More about Berkeley Breathed...
Bloom County Babylon: Five Years of Basic Naughtiness Bloom County Loose Tails 'Toons for Our Times: A Bloom County Book of Heavy Meadow Rump 'n Roll Penguin Dreams and Stranger Things (A Bloom County Book) Billy & Boingers Bootleg (Bloom County Book)

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