November 02, 2008


Good night, lil' buddy

It turns out that cartoonist Berkeley Breathed's 1993 children's book Goodnight Opus foreshadowed the ultimate fate of his most beloved character that is an existentialist penguin.

Breathed told NPR's Melissa Block that upon ending the strip, "I'll be leaving Opus in a way that it should be very clear that this time there's no going back home."
he said he felt "unrealistically emotional" about drawing the final Opus strip and writing a final ending.

Understandably so, as Opus has weathered three Breathed strips since the early 1980s: Bloom County, Outland, and finally Opus.

The cartoonist ran a benefit contest for the Humane Society with clues in the last few strips as to where Opus ended up (his final place, he was advised by none other than Elvis, should not be on the toilet). He eschewed the chance to head to the enchanted tropical massage ranch of his dreams on Bora Bora, allowing his beleaguered pen mate at the Bloom County Animal Shelter to go in his stead. The final printed strip shows a puzzled Steve Dallas heading into the shelter to discover what's become of his buddy/foil.

So today Opus left the comic world forever, and in what may be a first in comic history, the last panel could only be viewed online at

In part:


My heart is oddly sad today ;)

Think it's the first time we've really seen Steve Dallas' face too, yes?

I don't get the final panel. Unless one isn't really supposed to...have my thoughts at least. Maybe that's the point.
Steve Dallas Lives
I love that last panel. But then, Goodnight Moon is one of those books I can recite by memory. Bloom County was THE strip of my teens and early adulthood. I still read the books of strips and laugh hard.
I think that's the first time we've seen Steve Dallas' face with that expression on it. It was strangely moving, enough for me to concur with Cody Bones. We may yet see Berkeley breathe life into some facet of Bloom County.

Goodnight Moon is poignant for me because yes, I can recite it from heart (having recently read it about 200 times). And now I think I will have to add "Goodnight Opus" to each reading.
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