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The Bloom County Library, Vol. 1: 1980-1982

(Bloom County: The Complete Library #1)

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  2,531 ratings  ·  113 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 an astounding 1200 newspapers on a daily basis. The huge popularity of Bloom County spawned a merchandizing bonanza, as well as two spin-off strips, Outland and Opus. The Bloom C ...more
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Idea & Design Works, LLC (first published September 29th 2009)
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Average rating 4.36  · 
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 ·  2,531 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
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
David Edmonds
Jan 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2010
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
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first collection of a classic strip. I love Bloom county and the opportunity arose to buy the whole series on humble bundle and I snapped it up.

This is pre-Opus and shows the author finding his feet but the warmth, charm and wit of the whole series are already clearly in evidence through the book. The little tales are full of joy and the characters are awesome. Milo, Steve, Cutter Bobby and Binkley. All unique and all wonderful.Even the occasional characters shine as they come and go.

If you
Oct 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
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
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rocky start to a seminal strip, but one that the author readily admits is rocky in commentary that accompanies this wonderfully packaged volume. Bloom County, like many long-running strips, is barely recognizable in its first few months. The cramped art and lettering make for a strip that doesn't quite gel. But about halfway through this volume things begin to click as Breathed finds his stride. Mainstays like Steve Dallas and Cutter John make their first appearances nearly fully formed and ar ...more
Nov 08, 2009 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
Dana Larose
I can't remember how much of the early strips I'd read before. It's funny how I expected a lot of the humour to be dated. The references were, but a lot of the jokes would still apply today.

Only 3/5 because Opus doesn't exist yet!
Christopher Roxby
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bloom County has been my favorite comic strip, along with Calvin and Hobbes, since the mid-to-late eighties. This collection is Amazing, and a real walk through my personal history. I WAS Mike Binkley growing up.
I serves to me as a reminder that, unlike today, comics, even politically-aware ones, could and did express disapproval of its opposition without venom or cruelty. Breathed's gentle mockery... Of BOTH political sides... makes me long for a better, more civil discourse.

Unfortunately, I d
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Bloom County. Growing up in the 1980s, it was a huge influence in shaping my sense of humor and personality. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that it helped turn me into who I am, even to this day in 2019. (Helped, but by no means was the only influence!)

That being said, this first volume of The Complete Bloom County Library was at times hard to read. From early fall 1980 to about September 1982 it was still really finding its way. I mean, by the end of the book you have Cutter J
S. Wilson
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a child of the eighties, the only two comic strips I followed seriously were The Far Side and Bloom County, a fact which probably says more about me than it does this collection of the first two years of Bloom County's run. Going back over these strips from the early days of Berkeley Breathed's artistic output, it is interesting to see the first glimpses of what eventually become Bloom County's overriding themes, and Breathed's occasional notes explaining possibly outdated cultural references ...more
May 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
Ah, the 1980s, when all we had to worry about was voodoo economics and Reagan's efforts to wipe us all out through nuclear times.

Gee, looking back, they really do seem simpler now.

Bloom County's first couple of years, collected in this book, bring back those simpler times. It actually goes beyond those first two years by including early cartoons in his college newspaper that would eventually lead to Bloom County. Sure, the early years echoed Doonesbury a little too closely. He admits that, but a
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 2017, digital, comics, strips
Reading this was a plan for many years. This first volume, which collects the first year of the comic strip claims, at the forward, that at this early stage the strip was still looking for its direction and rythm, and it clearly shows. However, this collection offer a very nice and enjoyable read, which takes the reader back in time to the early 80's with all the calture and historical references. There are many characters here, which help keeping the strip interesting. The book is full of cliff ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Y'know, I only heard of this strip about five or six years ago? It's pretty good. The early strips aren't, actually, but once Breathed finds his voice, it's definitely pretty sharp and mostly funny.

I'm glad I borrowed it from the library, though. The topicality grounds much of the humor, and it's not something I'd revisit as often as I'm tempted to revisit, for example, Terry and the Pirates.
Laura Davis
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stumbled across this in the library. Loved it at the time & still love it! I don't remember the first year or so, I think we started reading it in '81 or '82, so it was fun to fill in the gaps. And reading them in order all at once makes me appreciate it even more, you get the full context. Looking forward to the next one(s). ...more
Earl Truss
It's good to see these strips again. I remember reading some of these when they were new. Some of the footnotes were helpful and made me finally understand some of them for the first time. At the beginning the drawings are rather primitive but by the end of the book they are more as I remember them. ...more
Lance Grabmiller
Apr 15, 2021 rated it it was ok
The very beginning of the Bloom County universe. A rough start that really doesn't feel coherent until the final third. Breathed recycles a lot of material from his Academia Waltz days. Opus makes his first appearance about a third of the way in but doesn't become a regular until the final third and Bill the Cat only makes a couple of appearances. Just begins to hint at the later brilliance. ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brings back so many great memories. This was my third favorite comic strip after Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes. But BC offered a very different view of politics, the media, and life in general, dripping with sarcastic wit, and BB took shots at everyone. The rest of the series is on the way!
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
A lesser Calvin and Hobbes and a greater Doonesbury. Takes a while to hit it's stride before settling in as a pop culture filled political gag strip. Solid but not as great as I've always been led to believe. There's a lot of promise for future volumes though. ...more
Brian Rogers
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Started slow and not knowing what it was going to be, but once the strip hits its stride it's gold. So many strips that hadn't been complied elsewhere!

I hadn't realized how early on Breathed started poking fun at the British Royals.
Sharon Falduto
All the early Bloom Counties, with commentary by Mr. Breathed himself, including the fact that many of his early cartoons, which were due on a plane from Iowa City to Washington, D.C., at 10:30 in the morning, were actually inked in flight because he wasn't done with them yet. I miss Opus. ...more
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite comic strips.

It's interesting to see the genesis of the comic strip. Opus only makes a brief unnamed appearance but you can see where the irreverence began.
James Swenson
It's interesting to see what "Bloom County" looked like in its first weeks. The strip hasn't quite found its voice in this first volume, but there are some laughs. ...more
David Schwan
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun to read! I occassionally saw this comic strip. Great to read from the beginning!
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Bloom County; always have !
Jack Webb
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a long-time fan of Bloom County, this book and the four companion volumes are an absolute treasure. To be able to revisit this great strip, and especially to find a few I hadn't seen, was nirvana. ...more
Melody Karle
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The early strips of a brilliant series... still early days so it gets even better but I love the introduction of many of the characters. Nostalgia...
Gary Ray
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-anthology
Loved Bloom County as a kid and young adult. Love it even more now. Amazingly, most of the comics are still completely relevant.
Corey Timmins
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite daily comic strip finally complete. Many strips i missed back in the 80's and have not been able to read until now. ...more
Blaize Allen Allen
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great comic strip, although not all the humor has aged perfectly.
Nate Jackson
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Humble beginnings, but by the end of 1981, it was starting to come together. We just need a penguin and a cat.
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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.


Other books in the series

Bloom County: The Complete Library (5 books)
  • The Bloom County Library, Vol. 2: 1982-1984
  • The Bloom County Library, Vol. 3: 1984-1986
  • The Bloom County Library, Vol. 4: 1986-1987
  • The Bloom County Library, Vol. 5: 1987-1989

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