Opus Is Back

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(AP) Opus is back waddling across the comics pages — not because funnies fans need him but because his creator, Berkeley Breathed, thinks the penguin needs “finishing.”

“Unfinished characters make me as unsettled as a messy hallway will keep my wife from sleeping soundly,” Breathed wrote in an e-mail interview with cartoonist Phil Frank published Sunday in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Breathed resurrected Opus from the daily strip “Bloom County,” which he stopped drawing in 1989 when it was running in nearly 1,300 papers. He began a Sunday strip, “Outland,” with many of the same characters — including the aquatic bird’s hairball-hacking sidekick, Bill the cat — but quit that in 1995.

The new weekly strip, named for its character, debuted Sunday in large format. A Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial cartooning, Breathed insisted on the larger style.

“I’ll get bored drawing talking heads, which is pretty much all that registers in today’s nano-scale strips. Boring is bad. Small is bad. Big, good.”

He also refused to let the newspapers see the strip weeks before it is to appear because of “the snarky little office imps — especially ones around newsrooms — who feel they need to upload everything they can get their sticky little digital digits on.”

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