AND ON the third day, we were reassured.
Berkeley Breathed, as you likely know by now, delivered the superb return of “Bloom County” on Monday, a quarter-century after the Pulitzer-winning, Reagan-era strip put itself out to pasture and headed to the great Milo’s Meadow in the sky. The nostalgic masses embraced the return of the long-hibernating waterfowl and friends.
But because the only means of distribution for “Bloom County” 2.0 is Facebook, those same heart-palpitatin’ masses were left to wonder: When, O heavens, might we see the second installment of “Bloom County 2015”? Might it be days? Weeks? Leap years?
It turns out we have to surrender our past addictions at the door. When comic strips are syndicated, we typically can depend on our daily fix. But as Breathed told me Monday, the fun for him is now in the freedom to publish when he wants — when inspiration and the Wacom stylus so move him.
“Dead-tree media requires constancy and deadlines and guarantees,” Breathed told Comic Riffs. “This flattens the joy.”
Ah, so this is how Berkeley intends to keep the spice in our creator-reader relationship? We’ll slip away for the impromptu rendezvous when the mood strikes him, via social media, where only he, we and all of Facebook is privy to the wiles of Opus, Milo and Quiche Lorraine.
There was no guarantee that “Bloom County 2015” would call (okay, text) back after our first date and dated strip Monday. But then, this morning, we could look on our phones and — voila! — Opus was back on our digital doorstep.
But this is all prologue to a gleeful declaration: Two strips in and after 25-plus years, the elastic band in the tighty-whities that is Breathed’s bright wit has lost absolutely none of its snap.
What the cartoonist is doing here, of course, is bridging 1989 and 2015 through narrative. Milo and Binkley so far represent the knowing folk who have been culturally wide awake this whole time. Opus Van Winkle, by contrast, is the historical somnambulist we can snicker at, like Austin Powers trying to get up to speed on how to rock new DVD’s (if not BVD’s).
Only the technology, in this case, is the Internet. And the strip provides the bracing reminder: “Bloom County,” for all of Oliver’s past hacking high-jinks, shuffled off the page before we even had. the. Internet.
(Update: And speak of the devilish shenanigans: Here is the third comeback strip of “Bloom County”):
Holy smokes, time can seem as agonizingly slow as dial-up Internet service circa 1998, but suddenly you look up, and everything has changed.
And Donald Trump.
Yes, some ’80s relics seem utterly ageless in their talent and artistic gifts, and others because of their unflagging bluster and braggadocio.
Happily, today, we can put “Bloom County” neatly into that first group.
At least until Breathed’s Trump, or Steve Dallas, reappears.