RIP-to-be: Opus the penguin

You’ve probably already figured this out from the tone of the recent strips, but for the third and apparently last time, cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is preparing to quit the funny pages.

The 51-year-old cartoonist said he will pull the plug on his comic-strip career and “Opus” after Nov. 2.

In an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times, the 51-year-old Breathed wrote, “30 years of cartooning to end. I’m destroying the village to save it. Opus would inevitably become a ranting mouthpiece in the coming wicked days, and I respect the other parts of him too much to see that happen. The Michael Moore part of me would kill the part of him that was important to his fans.”


Breathed, who won a Pulitzer Prize for “Bloom County,” also writes screenplays, novels and children’s books. In a press release from the Washington Post Writers Group, which syndicates “Opus,” he said, “With the crisis in Wall Street and Washington, I’m suspending my comic strip to assist the nation. The best way I can help is to leave politics permanently and write funny stories for America’s kids. I call on John McCain to join me.”

Five years ago, when Breathed first spoke about resurrecting Opus, he said “It was painful to sit through the war without a public voice.” I guess he decided that the voice he had, doing children’s books and other stuff, will be sufficient for him going forward. I wish him well in those pursuits.

By the way, if you go to, you can guess what ulitmately happens to Opus. I think I’d feel a little too weird about that to participate. Better to imagine him as perpetually in the 1980s, pursuing dandelions, rock and roll, and Diane Sawyer.

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