Saturday, October 13, 2007

Opus (comic strip)
Opus is a Sunday strip by Berkeley Breathed. It is Breathed's fourth comic strip, following The Academia Waltz, Bloom County and Outland.
Set in Bloom County, the strip documents the adventures of Breathed's popular character Opus the Penguin, parodying both pop culture and politics along the way. It was launched with much fanfare on November 23, 2003, and is syndicated by Washington Post Writers Group.


Bill the Cat - the first of Opus' old friends to re-emerge (just months into the strip), Bill seems to be the only one completely unchanged by time. Still in a state of catatonia, he is occasionally tapped to run for political office but most often seen relaxing by Opus' side.
Steve Dallas - Steve was reintroduced little more than a year in, now having appeared in all four of Breathed's comic strips. Dallas, who had come out as gay at the end of Outland, is back to his chauvinist ways apparently due to reparative therapy. Steve's lack of ability to charm women, however, has not improved.
Pickles - A little girl with a little bit of "snarky energy" (she first appeared as a self-proclaimed Viking princess), Pickles immediately began tagging along with Opus and Bill. She has appeared much less frequently as of late.
Auggie Dallas - Steve's long lost son, reunited with his father after many years. He has nothing but admiration for Steve, even though Steve is sometimes reluctant to act like a father figure.
Michael Binkley - A longtime friend of Opus' who begins appearing in the strip after a somewhat unexplained twelve year absence (see below). Opus (comic strip) Regular characters

Senator Bedfellow - Though previously convicted on corruption charges, Bedfellow has returned of late, still usually drunk and plagued by reporters.
Editor of the Bloom Picayune - Usually Opus' boss, the Picayune's editor is depicted as hyper-stressed and suicidal, though somewhat older than he was in Bloom County.
Oliver Wendell Jones - For some reason, Oliver was shown, like Binkley, to be the same age as he had been in Bloom County and Outland. He reappeared on August 5, 2007.
Lola Granola - Appeared in the strip on August 12, 2007. This is considered odd by fans of 'Bloom County' from whence Lola came, because in her original role she was the fiancee of Opus, eventually marrying him. The marriage was immediately annulled, however, as Opus attempted to kiss Lola after their vows but was knocked cold due to 'incompatible noses.' Opus then dreamt of his future in 2007 as a henpecked husband with 23 test tube kids. all of whom Lola leaves Opus with when she abandons him. A still-single, fat, balding, paunchy Steve Dallas appears in this dream and declares to Opus about Lola that "She's got you whipped, blobbo!" (which is humorous because it is now Steve Dallas that seems to be involved with Lola). Upon waking from his dream, Opus calls for an immediate annullment, which Lola agrees to. Until the newer 2007 cartoons, she only made a few other brief appearances in 'Bloom County.' Other characters
Early on in the strip, it was revealed that Michael Binkley had fled Bloom County to become a teenage Tibetan eunuch after a disastrous first kiss. He was not heard from again until June 3, 2007, when he appeared in his child form without explanation.

Absent characters
In numerous interviews before launching Opus, Berke Breathed stated his hopes that the strip would help reinvigorate the medium of newspaper comics. He criticized many modern strips, especially Garfield, for lacking expressive artwork or original humor. but this is an urban legend.

Artwork and availability
In August 2006 The Weinstein Company revealed in a press release for an animated version of The Nutty Professor that it had a "CG-animated project" called "Opus" "in the works"., Breathed confirmed that the Miramax feature was "dead", but left the door open for an independently-produced Opus film:


In a 2003 interview with The A.V. Club, Breathed revealed that "Opus was named after a Kansas song." (The band's 1976 album Leftoverture includes the song "Opus Insert" and a suite called "Magnum Opus".) He also added, "If you're too young to know who Kansas was, to hell with you."

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