|Bloom County is my favorite comic strip in the universe. Unfortunately, it is very hard to find now, since it's a strip from the 1980's and they stopped printing the book collections a long time ago. If you ever DO run across one of the Bloom County books, buy it immediately because you'll be in for a good time.
But the odd thing is, even if you DO buy all the books, you still won't have read all the strips. To do that, you'll have to go to this very website...let me explain.
A while back, my dad had a basement stuffed full of old newspapers dating back to 1978. (The year was 1990.) Every time I visited him, I would go down there and snip various cartoons from the funny papers of years past, and then paste them in notebooks, making my own "comic collections." I now have Peanuts clippings going back to 1981, before I was even born; as well as rare prints of several other strips. But it never occured to me that book publishers will often omit or edit certain strips from the versions published in the papers, sometimes never publishing them at all. Sadly, this was done with Bloom County a LOT, apparently. Re-looking through my old Bloom County notebooks, I found a ton of stuff you could never see today unless YOU had been pasting newspaper strips into notebooks as a kid. Since you probably never did this, it's now time to share my knowledge with you....
THE LOST STRIPS!
|I guess the little details are a good place to start.....one of the things that never sees mass printing and falls into obscurity is the title panel. Berke Breathed didn't do a new one "every week" like some cartoonists, but he had several titles through the years. The one up above is probably my favorite, although for a time Berke tried the...um, interesting one below, but not for long.....|
|The most innovative one was the title panel of 1984. This panel was unique for the fact that the sign on the tree posted a different message every week.|
|"No Gremlins," "No Normalcy," "No Buns"|
|Another revelation is that certain strips were edited, for unknown reasons, and now sport differences between their print in the papers and their print in books. No clue why......|
|Original newspaper version Version that appeared in book|
|But what's most interesting is the "lost" strips---the ones that appeared only in newspapers for one day and then were lost forever at the recycling plant or dump, seeing as they were never reprinted in anyplace more solid. I have a ton of these, it appears. Prepare to be amazed...the lost strips are BACK!!!|
|November 1984: Portnoy the Groundhog answers the phone in two strips. This is classic stuff. WHY was it taken from us?
Same year, but earlier. Oliver Wendell Jones was undoubtedly the second coolest "smart" character to grace the funny pages or anywhere else (the absolute coolest is Dexter of "Dexter's Laboratory", but I digress.) Here he is, coincidentally also on a phone, with Opus the Penguin nearby, in this unprinted strip.
|Not many Sunday strips made into the book collections, truthfully. The reason for this was probably that there wasn't enough space...the below one was not published either, and geez, it's good....|
|I didn't bother scanning ALL of this one, since it was printed full-size. But basically what happens is, Binkley is depressed that nothing ever stays the same, and Opus manages to convince him that neither he nor his friends will ever change. The final panel is a reference to the evil "New Coke" scheme of 1985. It's a joke that not everybody would get today, but certainly it wouldn't be lost on the audience of 1986, when all the 1985 strips were reprinted! Hmm....|
|January 1985: Oliver gets a "Banana Junior 6000" computer, which seems to have a mind of its own. The thing ran around Bloom County for all of 1985, until he was declared "obsolete" by Oliver in November. Among the "computer" strips that were printed for everyone to see, this one was not.|