‘Bloom County: Brand Spanking New Day’ - Trade Paperback Review

I fell in love with Bloom County at a young age, reading one of the earliest volumes that I found at a bookstore that was going out of business. As one of my first experience with comics, it was a great introduction to a world of silly gags, biting wit, and incredibly insightful observations. It's spurned a life-long love of Berkeley Breathed's work, and I was very excited to see this new volume of his work being released.

Over the years, many of the things are quite the same; characters such as Opus, Bill the Cat, and Steve are just as funny and relevant as they were and up to their usual antics. Each strip is a condensed piece of a great mind, and together they form a great volume of short pieces that all add together to create a view altogether unique.

This collection weaves an interesting look into the world at large, and while those things could have been a bit more tough to swallow as of late, I think Breathed's take on things is as sharp as it's ever been. His writing is clear and concise, and he makes his point very quickly, leading to a rewarding read with each small, contained story.

His art style is, by and large, unchanged from the strips I read nearly two decades ago, but it still holds up as a great form of cartooning, and one that cements his status as one of the legends of the industry. With more splashes of color and a few modern updates, Bloom County looks great, both as a modern collection of cartoons and as a small piece of nostalgia.

While everything is just as good as it's ever been, one thing struck me as odd: The quality of Breathed's work hasn't changed, but as a reader, I have. It's hard to view this book through a lens that isn't tinted with how I remember Bloom County, which makes this a tough realization to have: I think I enjoyed the book more as a kid, when I wasn't in on the joke. Though no fault of his own, Breathed's work has always been formed by the world around him, and as an adult, things aren't as fun as I remember. When the jokes were about things I hadn't experienced, or topics I barely knew about, it seemed more light-hearted. Now, with the discourse outside, these pointed looks are harder to look at, or to laugh at. It's not that Bloom County is bad, just the opposite. It's fantastic, but while Breathed has stayed true to himself, I have a reader has changed, and it adds just a tinge of realism to what is remembered as a silly comic.

That realization aside, there is no reason not to read Bloom County. While it's not quite the series that I remembered, there's nothing like a little bit of silly to go along with commentary. There's so much to love about Bloom County, which has, over the years, delighted millions. I count myself among them and am so pleased to see this legendary series moving along, just as good as it ever was. As much as I've changed, this series has continued to be a major force in comics, and there seem to be no signs of stopping.

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