Berkeley Breathed
Cartoonist
Berkeley Breathed
Guy Berkeley "Berke" Breathed is an American cartoonist, children's book author/illustrator, director and screenwriter, best known for Bloom County, a 1980s cartoon-comic strip that dealt with sociopolitical issues as understood by fanciful characters and through humorous analogies. Bloom County earned Breathed the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1987.
Biography
Berkeley Breathed's personal information overview.
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News
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Is Facebook the new platform for comics?
Huffington Post - 3 months
A lot of my comics have been published in the Huffington Post over the years, not on a daily basis, although I suppose they could have been, but I've decided to start publishing daily on Facebook. I will still publish political cartoons here at Huff Post. My goal was always to be published in newspapers daily, and I've had a few bites from rather large newspapers, but the timing is always off. And almost 20 years ago, when I had my chance for daily publication, I decided to go in another direction. I'm still kicking myself in the head for that. The problem is today is that newspaper comics are part of a dying profession. To be part of comics in the 1940s and 1950s would have been ideal. Comics were made for newspapers and it pains me not to be part of the original format. Almost like making a movie and having it go right to video, rather than be on the silver screen, which is what movies were meant to do. Newspapers are so hesitant to drop a comic to make room for a n ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
'Bloom County' Creator Berkeley Breathed Reveals Rejected 'Star Wars' Art
Huffington Post - about 1 year
"Bloom County" creator Berkeley Breathed shared on Facebook what he called "the fastest rejection in licensed comic book history," a piece of art he did at the request of the publishers of the "Star Wars" comics.  He calls it the Pooper Scooper Trooper:  Breathed, who has often featured "Star Wars" jokes in his recently resurrected "Bloom County" comic, said the publisher asked for "a special 'funny' promotional cover in honor of the coming movie." He tried to warn them that Lucasfilm would never approve the work. "The comics guys found this idea absurd, nay, impossible -- a sweet gentle thought," Breathed wrote.  The cover was instantly rejected by Lucasfilm, he said. Breathed didn't name the publisher, but Marvel has been behind the latest generation of "Star Wars" comics. Both Marvel and Lucasfilm are owned by Disney.    While Breathed is known for his satire, Comic Book Resources said it verified the rejection story.  Breathed also wrote that Kathle ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
'Bloom County' And Opus The Penguin Return After A 25-Year Hiatus
NPR - over 1 year
Comic strip creator Berkeley Breathed tells Fresh Air's Sam Briger that a 2008 letter from author Harper Lee inspired him to re-launch his famous strip on Facebook. It's now called Bloom County 2015. » EMail This
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NPR article
ReThink Review: <em>Dear Mr. Watterson</em> - Art & Business and <em>Calvin & Hobbes</em>
Huffington Post - over 3 years
If you're a fan of Bill Watterson's Calvin &amp; Hobbes comic strip, you could probably name a dozen things that make it such a fascinating, funny, and enduring piece of popular art almost twenty years after Watterson decided to call it quits. Maybe it's Calvin's boundless imagination and capacity for mischief, his hilarious yet soulful relationship with Hobbes, the duo's forays into deep and probing philosophical issues, or the exuberance, creativity, and beauty of Watterson's artwork. But something that is rarely acknowledged is the fact that, despite its massive popularity, there has never been a Calvin &amp; Hobbes animated series, nor has there ever been Calvin &amp; Hobbes dolls, toys, or any other officially licensed or endorsed Calvin &amp; Hobbes products (in case you didn't know, all those decals of Calvin peeing on any number of logos are pirated). That's because Watterson's deep love and respect for his characters, comics, and the freedom they represent led him to make the u ...
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Huffington Post article
John K. Herr: Bezos Buys the Post-newspaper World
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Scratch a speechwriter and you'll find a newspaper reader. That thought occurred to me after Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, stunning and scaring the media world. The news took me back to age 10, when I got a job delivering the Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Patriot and Evening News. It was the most important moment of my youth. The second-most important was when I bought my first Mad magazine, but I digress. It was an afternoon paper -- remember those? -- with weekend morning editions. I would wake up early with my dad to put those Sunday supplements together on the redwood bench on our carport. Everything from Elvis's death to Princess Diana's wedding passed through my ink-smudged shoulder-slung gray canvas bag. Sure, I learned about work and commitment and money. Above all, I read. And I learned. The newspaper gave me nosebleed seats to world history, from the Carter malaise through the Reagan recovery. Great opinion voices l ...
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Huffington Post article
Pulitzer winner Breathed to sell home
San Francisco Chronicle - almost 4 years
Pulitzer winner Breathed to sell home Los Angeles Times Copyright 2013 Los Angeles Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Published 3:51 pm, Friday, March 1, 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed has listed his mountainside retreat in Santa Barbara for $4.95 million. The 25-acre ocean-view estate, which includes a single-level custom home, a swimming pool, fruit trees and a guesthouse, was designed as a creative environment. Avocado ranches sit on both sides of the property. Features include solar power, an art studio and a screening room where Breathed worked for the last 12 years on Hollywood projects.
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San Francisco Chronicle article
George Heymont: Please Pardon the Paws in Today's Proceedings
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Lots of people who are friends and family have cats that they adore. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to cats and must keep them at a safe distance. Sometimes that means explaining to someone that I'm not trying to hurt their pet's feelings, I simply don't feel like taking a trip to the Emergency Room. Just because I can still remember that bright summer day when, as a teenager, I got checked out by an Emergency Room physician for an attack of conjunctivitis that had some green pus coming out of my left eye does not mean that I equate pus with Pussy Galore. Cats visit me on a regular basis all through the day -- on Facebook, on YouTube, in syndicated comic strips like Darby Conley's brilliant Get Fuzzy (Bucky Katt) and Jim Davis's lasagna-craving cat, Garfield. All kinds of cats pepper world literature, from the Cheshire cat that would tease Alice while perched on a tree branch to Dr. Seuss's famous Cat in a Hat. Although many people have a soft spot for Felix the Cat, one of ...
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Huffington Post article
Dave Astor: The Appeal of Fiction Juxtaposition
Huffington Post - over 4 years
One great thing about reading novels is that they give vicarious variety to our lives. Most of us have a certain routine, so it's exciting to pick up a book and end up in another time, place, and situation. To make this experience even more intense, I often try to follow a novel I just read with one that's very different. "The joy of juxtaposition"? I guess that's one silly, alliterative way to put it. For instance, I recently followed Henry James' Daisy Miller with Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. Could any two novels be more different? Well, maybe Confessions of a Shopaholic and Ulysses... Anyway, it was interesting to read, within a week, two books that seemingly had little in common. Daisy Miller (1878) is a well-crafted novel of manners without much of a plot, but with plenty of character insight and societal observation. Daisy is the charming daughter in an affluent American family visiting Europe, where she acts a bit too "forward" for a woman of her station ...
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Huffington Post article
Dave Astor: Author! Author! (As Writer and Character)
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Authors often write what they know, so it's no surprise that many fictional characters are authors themselves. It would take an 80,000-word "blog novel" to name all the books featuring writer protagonists, but I did want to mention some of the ones I've read and then hear some titles from you. Given that novels usually need a narrative arc, many books with writer protagonists focus on those characters' struggles to become published authors. Will they succeed? Will they fail? Will some literary agents treat them dismissively? Will the sun rise in the morning? (Those last two questions have identical answers.) One of the classics in the striving-author genre is Jack London's stellar Martin Eden (1908), which is more than a little autobiographical (the title's initials spell "me"). At the start of the book, Martin is a sailor who wants to write but isn't very good at it. Then he struggles and struggles to hone his craft while living in poverty until finally... well, the ...
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Huffington Post article
Dave Astor: Book Titles That May Not Be Ideal
Huffington Post - over 4 years
If you can't judge a book by its cover, can you judge a book by its title? I ask that because there are some novels with a title character who is not the most prominent or interesting person in the book. Or, at best, the title character is roughly equal in importance to some non-title characters. All this occurred to me while reading a friend's blog post about the Konstantin Levin character being more compelling than Anna Karenina in Anna Karenina. It's been so long since I read Leo Tolstoy's iconic novel that I don't recall enough about it to agree or disagree, but the Konstantin/Karenina conundrum did inspire me to think of other novels in which the title character may not quite live up to top billing. In Sir Walter Scott's historical novel Rob Roy (1817), the title character is the most charismatic cast member, but the less-heroic Frank Osbaldistone appears on many more pages. Frank's last name doesn't exactly make for a snappy title, though -- and Robert Roy MacGr ...
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Huffington Post article
Dave Astor: In Praise of Professor Protagonists
Huffington Post - over 4 years
I must admit I have a thing for novels starring professors. Why, you ask? That's a good question -- worthy of a college course titled "Explain Your Introductory Paragraph 101." I like novels starring professors because they bring back memories of the ones I had in college. Also, academics are almost always smart, almost always articulate, and often quirky. And there can be drama in their competitive relationships with fellow profs, in their sometimes-fraught encounters with university administrators, in their interactions with students, and in their quests for tenure. Last but not least, there's that whole publish-or-perish thing. Yes, books that feature professors feature people who ... write books! What's not to like about that? In short, there are many positives about professor protagonists that make up for the fact they are (usually) not the heroic, adventurous sorts who make readers turn pages faster than tuition payments drain a bank account. I assigned m ...
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Huffington Post article
Dave Astor: The Surprising Non-Literary Jobs of Some Authors
Huffington Post - over 4 years
It's no shock when novelists work as journalists or professors before, during, or after their book-producing years. But some famous writers have held rather unusual non-literary jobs. On the positive side, these stints of atypical-for-authors employment might inspire future books and/or give writers firsthand knowledge of the way non-writers live. On the negative side, these need-the-money jobs can take away from precious prose-creating time. My job is to now give examples of this multi-profession phenomenon, and I'll start in the 19th century with the career story lines of a famous American literary trio: Mark Twain, Herman Melville, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Twain, from 1857 to 1861, worked as a riverboat pilot -- a Mississippi life that not only inspired the factual Life on the Mississippi but also the fictional Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The Civil War halted riverboat traffic, and one wonders what Twain's career trajectory might have been if his piloting job h ...
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Huffington Post article
Dave Astor: Quoth the Blogger: Poe Once More
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Did you ever love an author, go many years without re-reading that author, and then finally go back to see if the love was still there? I just did that with Edgar Allan Poe. My impetus was The Huffington Post's recent report on a Library of Congress list of books that "shaped America." Some commenters wondered why Poe wasn't on the list, which reminded me that I've owned an anthology of that writer's work since I was 12. I must have re-read that now-crumbling hardcover five or six times as a teen. Edgar Allan Poe Stories was one of my first "grown-up" books, and I was enthralled with its macabre, literary tales. But then I didn't touch the collection for several decades (except to pack it during various moves!). Now that I've re-read the book once again, I can say that Poe's work is as amazing as I remembered. Melancholy mood-setting, shiver-inducing suspense, and a fascinating obsession with death -- all brought to the reader via lush yet clear prose. Even after all ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Dave Astor: The Year of Reading Communally
Huffington Post - over 4 years
My first "HuffPost Books" piece was posted a year ago this month, and I'd like to use that trivial anniversary to thank commenters for introducing me to many authors and novels I had never read before. Until last June, I wrote mostly topical humor pieces for this site -- with the occasional foray into other sections such as media, entertainment, and sports. But I had been an avid fiction reader for most of my life, and thought in mid-2011 that maybe I should try a book-related post. I had just finished a multi-month binge through most of Margaret Atwood's novels, so I chose to focus my first book piece on that great author. Gratifyingly, readers responded to that post with many comments. So I subsequently wrote other book-related posts, many of which focused on literary themes or genres -- such as unlikable characters, historical fiction, time-travel novels, 19th-century French literature, and cats and dogs in books -- rather than on a specific author or title. It ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Berkeley Breathed
    FIFTIES
  • 2015
    Age 57
    He has subsequently been posting new Bloom County 2015 strips via Facebook on an almost-daily basis.
    More Details Hide Details In addition to his syndicated cartoon work, which has produced eleven best-selling cartoon collections, he has also produced five children's books, two of which, A Wish for Wings That Work and Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big, were made into animated films. Since 1992, he has designed a greeting card and gift ensemble collection for American Greetings, featuring the "Bloom County" characters Opus, Bill the Cat, and Milquetoast the Cockroach. Breathed's writing has also been featured in numerous publications, including Life, Boating, and Travel and Leisure, and he produced the cartoon art for the closing credits of the Texas-based film, Secondhand Lions, which featured a strip called Walter and Jasmine. The panels he drew for Secondhand Lions appear in Opus: 25 Years of His Sunday Best, in which Breathed terms them "the comic strip that never was". Breathed has been a supporter of the animal rights group PETA and illustrated the cover of their Compassionate Cookbook, T-shirts, and other merchandise.
    In July 2015 Breathed hinted at a return to the strip when he posted a photo to Facebook of him at his computer, starting a cartoon entitled "Bloom County 2015".
    More Details Hide Details He added: "A return after 25 years. Feels like going home." The strip was later posted to Facebook.
  • 2012
    Age 54
    Breathed divorced in 2012 and remarried in the summer of 2015.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2008
    Age 50
    On October 6, 2008, Breathed announced plans to discontinue all work on comic strips with the final Opus strip to run on November 2, 2008.
    More Details Hide Details Breathed planned to focus on writing children's books. Breathed explained that he felt that the United States was going to face "tough times", and that he wanted to end the saga of his most memorable character "on a lighter note". The last Opus comic strip appeared on schedule, but in what may be a comic first the final panel required an online link. The final panel of the strip showed Opus sleeping peacefully in the bed depicted in the classic children's book, Goodnight Moon. This panel was available only online, and the Humane Society of the United States page that displayed it no longer exists. Breathed said that he had no regrets in leaving political cartooning, as he believed the atmosphere became too bitter for him to make quality cartoons.
    On May 18, 2008, in his comic strip Opus, he announced he was suffering from a condition known as spasmodic torticollis.
    More Details Hide Details
  • FORTIES
  • 2003
    Age 45
    In 2003, Breathed began the comic strip Opus, a Sunday-only strip featuring Opus the Penguin, who was one of the main characters of Bloom County.
    More Details Hide Details Several newspapers chose not to run the August 26, 2007, Opus cartoon because it might offend Muslims.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1995
    Age 37
    He ended Outland in 1995.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1989
    Age 31
    He replaced this strip with the surreal Sunday-only cartoon Outland in 1989, which reused some of the Bloom County characters, including Opus the Penguin and Bill the Cat.
    More Details Hide Details
    The strip eventually appeared in over 1,200 newspapers around the world until Breathed retired the daily strip in 1989, stating that he wanted to terminate the strip while it was still popular.
    More Details Hide Details At that time, he said, "A good comic strip is no more eternal than a ripe melon. The ugly truth is that in most cases, comics age less gracefully than their creators".
  • TWENTIES
  • 1987
    Age 29
    Bloom County earned Breathed the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning during 1987.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1986
    Age 28
    Breathed was married to Jody Boyman from May 1986 until August 2013, and she is the mother of his two children.
    More Details Hide Details Cartoon compilations Children's books
    Breathed is a fan of outdoor activities such as powerboating and motorcycling. In 1986, he broke his back in an ultralight-plane crash, later incorporated into a Bloom County storyline in which Steve Dallas breaks his back after being attacked by an angry Sean Penn.
    More Details Hide Details Breathed also nearly lost his right arm to a boating accident. Breathed and his two children live in Santa Barbara, in southern California. He is reportedly a very private person, and although he has given interviews to online magazines such as The Onion and Salon, he rarely gives face-to-face or telephone interviews and resists talking about himself. He supports animal rights, and his book, Flawed Dogs: The Year-End Leftovers at the Piddleton 'Last Chance' Dog Pound, promotes animal adoption. Breathed befriended science fiction humorist Douglas Adams when Adams moved to Santa Barbara in 1999. Adams was also very keen on wildlife preservation. During the middle of September 1990, while visiting a factory in England, Breathed noticed he received odd, humorous looks from the workers upon hearing his name. After inquiring about the reason for their strange looks, he learned that his nickname, "Berke", is a homophone with "Berk", a vulgar term for a vagina in Cockney rhyming slang ("Berkshire Hunt").
  • 1980
    Age 22
    On December 8, 1980, Bloom County made its debut and featured some of the characters from Academia Waltz, including former frat-boy Steve Dallas and the paraplegic Vietnam war veteran Cutter John.
    More Details Hide Details In the beginning, the strip's style was so similar to that of another popular strip, Doonesbury, that Doonesbury's creator Garry Trudeau wrote to Breathed several times to indicate their similarities. Breathed has acknowledged that he borrowed liberally from Doonesbury during his early career. In the Outland collection, One Last Little Peek, Breathed even put an early Bloom County side-by-side with the Doonesbury comic strip from which it obviously took its idea.
  • 1978
    Age 20
    His first comic strip published regularly was The Academia Waltz, which appeared in the Daily Texan, in 1978 while he was a student at the University of Texas.
    More Details Hide Details During his time at the University of Texas, Breathed self-published two collections of The Academia Waltz, using the profits to pay his tuition. The comic strip attracted the notice of the editors of The Washington Post, who recruited him to do a nationally syndicated strip.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1957
    Born
    Born on June 21, 1957.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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