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I have a stuffed "Yuppie Opus" from this time period at home. He has sneakers and a power tie. I bet its worth a lot on eBay at this point. You can't have him.

(From Bloom County. Click on the thumbnail for full sized offscreen hair! (Subscription very required))

There were watershed moments in Bloom County, and every so often they come up as My Comics Page slowly fills out their archives of the strip. Today, we've seen one of the big ones -- the (offscreen) introduction of Lola Granola, a woman who ended up a major supporting character and Opus's love interest for a very long time.

The best part of the Lola years is Breathed set up a certain expectation in the beginning -- the first thing we hear about is Lola's hairy legs. And we don't see her for quite some time. If you haven't read the sequence, you now have a mental image of Lola. If you have read the sequence, you know how well that image does or doesn't match up with Lola herself. This all goes back to 1986, and Breathed was at his absolute storytelling peak, here. Perhaps it lacked the edge of the first few years (much less the Academia Waltz), but it also didn't fall into the esoteric banality that marked the late Bloom County and Outland years. (As for Opus... no clue. I've seen it once. Looked like Outland to me, only with less effort put into it. But I haven't seen it enough to have a real opinion.) Right now, Breathed was hitting on all cylinders, the strips were funny and the story made sense and remained compelling.

We're very close to the Bassalope years, too, and that's a fine, fine thing.


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My two big problems with Opus:

1) He's trying to bring comicbook level (and I'm talking serious computer coloring of the modern style, not silver age flat colors) coloring to the newspaper page, which is not capable of handling it. So it ends up looking muddy and overblown.

2) He refuses to let it be put online. While this would not necessarily be a barrier on its own, he also made enough other demands that a lot of papers that might otherwise have carried the strip are not. So if you don't live in the right market, you get no chance to follow the strip. Sure, this was the norm in the 1980s, but this ISN'T the 1980s.

3) Breathed seems to wish very hard this was the 1980s, when he could do whatever he wanted and the newspapers would all still clamor to print it.

And for "two" read "three".

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