Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Sep 2016

Member Reviews

I was a Bloom County fan back in the day, when Berke Breathed came charging out to challenge Doonesbury and Calvin & Hobbes for comic page relevance and did pretty damn well. I faded back in the later years when he trimmed his cast down to just the "popular" ones and then went to Sunday only and got stranger. Strange is good, but I missed the old group.

Then, 25 years later, he brought them all back, posting on his Facebook page without much warning new daily and Sunday strips. (OK, I was just happy to see Cutter John back.) And while I don't think Breathed hits the manic brilliance he did upon a time, he's wiser and more observant now and it shows. And in our current political situation, we need biting commentary and satire like this again.
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Introduction: 

Now, I will admit that I had never read the “Bloom County” comics before, even though I had heard of the series way back in the 1990s.  I guess it was because that by the time I started reading newspaper comics, “Bloom County” had all but vanished from the strips and I was not able to read the series then.  So, imagine my surprise when I found out that a) the author of the “Bloom County” comics Berkeley Breathed, had decided to bring this comic series back to the pages in his newest comic book called “Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope” and b) NetGalley has given out this book for readers to check out!

What is this story about?

After twenty-five years of the “Bloom County” comic strips going out of the pages, the Bloom County gang has finally come back with new adventures and are trying to get used to all the new technology, such as social media and dealing with all the political drama in this modern-day world!

What I loved about this story:

Berkeley Breathed’s writing:  Wow!  I never would have thought that there would be a day where I would actually read Berkeley Breathed’s legendary comic strip “Bloom County” and now that day has finally come!  Berkeley Breathed has done a brilliant job at writing this comic book series as the humor is sharp and witty and I really enjoyed the way that the satire on the modern-day era is handled in this series as I found myself laughing at each jab at the current state of politics.  Now, I will admit that I do not normally read many books or comic books that deal with politics because most of them tend to be a bit too one-sided for my tastes.  However, Berkeley Breathed was able to make the political satires in this comic be more hilarious and memorable as it managed to poke fun at both liberals and conservatives and that really amused me!  I really liked the fact that the comic is written in a way where you do not have to read the previous “Bloom County” comics to get the characters or the setting.  The fact that the characters felt the same way as they did decades ago except for the fact that society has changed over time, really made reading this comic a pleasant experience for me!  I also loved the way that Berkeley Breathed wrote each character, especially Bill the Cat and Steve Dallas as all the characters were hilarious and entertaining to read and I especially enjoyed their interactions with each other, especially with how Steve usually acts like a jerk towards the other characters, but is still on friendly terms with them.

Berkeley Breathed’s artwork:  Berkeley Breathed’s artwork is hilarious to look at as all the characters are drawn in a semi-realistic way and yet, the images of Opus the Penguin and Bill the Cat are much more cartoonish than the human cast and they really stand out in the artwork.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like language and sexual dialogue, this comic strip does have some language such as the constant usage of the “a” word and also there are some sexual dialogue littered throughout the comic, mainly coming from Steve Dallas himself as most of his story arcs involve him trying to get a date with various women.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope” is a fantastic continuation of the “Bloom County” comics and anyone who is a huge fan of the “Bloom County” comic series will surely enjoy this graphic novel!
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We did not review this item as we are a print magazine and could not get a review  to print in reasonable time
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I grew up reading the Bloom County books and was overjoyed to see see they were back.  The characters have aged some which I love.  When things return from a hiatus you sometimes worry they will not draw you in like they once did - this is not the case for this book.  Loved it from cover to cover.
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One of my big scores at BEA was a signed sampler of the new Bloom County comics collections.  And then NetGalley came through with a digital advance (which my poor, aging iPad had trouble handling, taking several seconds to load a full page). I could not have been more excited than if I swallowed a cat and broke out in kittens (to borrow a Liberty-ism).

Breathed revived his beloved Bloom Country comic strip in 2015, putting two or three strips a week up on his Facebook page.  And it feels like Opus, Milo, Binkley, and Bill the Cat (*ack*) never left.  They've merely been waiting in the wings to burst out when we all needed a good laugh and dose of perspective.  Breathed treats us to old gags (the running genre mashup of Star Wars and Star Trek careening downhill on Cutter John's wheelchair) with new twists (Sith Lord Sexypants, omg).  Berke still has the gift to give us pathos and humor in one frame (Steve Dallas just might have a heart) but also comfort us with a laugh when we're sad (I dare you not to chuckle at his Bowie tribute strip). I'll be the first one with bells on to hear him read if he books an appointment with Prairie Lights.

(My only complaint is that IDW is apparently putting this out in trade paperback, not clothbound - and I so wanted it to match my pretty collected volumes.  *sigh*)
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Can you ever go wrong with Bloom County?

This is a really fantastic reintroduction to the Bloom County world. I thought the Star Wars reference was perfect and the chuckleworthy witticisms are classic.
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