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'Bloom County 2015': Berkeley Breathed Revives Comic Strip

Fans of the well-loved comic strip Bloom County are celebrating this morning, after cartoonist Berkeley Breathed issued the first panels of his satirical strip in decades.

Breathed won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on Bloom County back in 1987; two years later, he quit producing it. On Sunday, he posted a photo of himself to Facebook in which he sat in front of a computer screen with an empty cartoon template titled Bloom County 2015.

"A return after 25 years. Feels like going home," he wrote.

And on Monday, one of Breathed's central characters, Opus, awoke from his long slumber with a question:

"That was some nap!! How long was I out, Milo?"
"25 years."

Breathed released the new strip via Facebook. The most popular comment on his post seems to sum up many fans' response: "And suddenly the world is back in alignment. Thank you Sir."

Fans of Bloom County had been anticipating the strip's return — particularly after Breathed responded to a commenter's request for new material last week by writing, "Watch this space."

The strip's return promises to reunite readers with Opus, Bill the Cat and other characters that were previously seen just in Breathed's two Sunday-only strips, Outland (1989-1995) and Opus (2003-2008). They're likely to have plenty to talk about: Bloom County, whose small-town characters often found absurdity in America's cultural and political life, returns as the country heads into a new presidential election season.

It's unclear whether Breathed will syndicate his new work in newspapers; he recently recalled how an editorial dispute with a publisher had a direct role in his decision to quit cartooning in 2008. His Facebook postings, Breathed said earlier this month, are "nicely out of reach of nervous newspaper editors, the PC humor police now rampant across the web ... and ISIS."

When Bloom County went idle in 1989, it was one of several clever and inventive comic strips, such as Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side, that were beloved by fans and yet were also comparatively short-lived. Today, devoted fans are treating its return as a small miracle.

"As every day there's some part of my childhood dying off, this morning I awoke to see one part be brought back to life," a reader named John Lowry wrote on Facebook. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart Mr. Breathed, you made my day!"

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