Will Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed Kill Off Opus the Penguin?

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By: E&P Staff

Is death on the horizon for Opus, the “Bloom County” penguin who now stars in the “Opus” comic strip?

Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed discussed (joked about?) that possibility in a Texas Monthly magazine interview just posted online. Here’s the relevant Q&A:

TM: What interesting projects are on your horizon?

Breathed: A novel; two of my books are in development at Disney; and Opus’ death, which approaches.

TM: Has Opus, the penguin, been a fixture in all of your strips? I don’t recall, and I’ve been in Austin since your “Academia Waltz” days. And, assuming you mean the death of Opus, the strip, will that be the last we see of B. Breathed, newspaper cartoonist?

Breathed: Opus has been in all my cartooning post-“Academia Waltz.” I mean the death of Opus literally, as told in the comic, which means the suspension of the feature (no dates set as of yet). Newspapers may indeed fade from our lives, but children’s books may yet have a future.

TM: Are you serious about killing off Opus in the strip?

Breathed: Yes, but my wife would leave me, she reports. I have to factor this in.

TM: Do your publisher and newspapers know this?

Breathed: They know that all good things come to an end. I’d like to see Opus go out with George Bush, both headed into the sunset.

The full TM interview can be seen here.

In the interview, Breathed also talked about his latest children’s book. “Mars Needs Moms!” — which is being published April 10 by Philomel — is Breathed’s seventh kid-literature effort since 1991.

A number of other comic creators and editorial cartoonists have also entered the children’s book field in the past couple of years (see story in E&P’s April 2007 print issue).

“Opus” is syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group, which also distributed Breathed’s now-defunct, Pulitzer Prize-winning “Bloom County” comic during the 1980s.

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