Goodbye Opus

Goodbye Opus. Even though we didn’t stay in touch, I’ll miss you.
I started reading Bloom County in the ’80s, and got into it immediately. Now, just this week, Berke Breathed has ended the life of his famous penguin Opus with the retirement of the Opus comic strip. That’s right. Opus is no longer with us.
It wasn’t without some warning, as rumours of Opus’s retirement came as early as June 2008, when he began to see the “creator” and started doubting the nature of reality. Comic book reality, that is. Definite notification came in August, when the creator notified Opus of the end; of his trip to his “final paradise.”
The final panel of the comic strip was a mystery, published this past Sunday on the Humane Society’s website. If you’re at all a fan of Bloom County and Opus, don’t click on the link until you’ve read the strips leading up to it.
I never really read much of Breathed’s work after Outland started being published, but I never thought of a cartoon character’s life coming to an end. Breathed stated that he wouldn’t draw another picture of Opus after that last panel to preserve the memory (that is, “unless a film ever emerges that [he] will have control over,” which is unlikely). So Opus’s end is really that. Final.
I felt so sad when I read this. You maybe don’t keep up with your old friends … but when you hear about a friend’s death, it really affects you.
So goodbye Opus. Glad you found your happy place at last. Mine would have been with the Tahitian women.

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