Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Weingarten on Breathed's retirement

From the October 7th chat:

Op, US: I can't believe Berke Breathed is retiring...again.

Seriously, I was a huge fan as a high school student, a moderate fan as a college student, and a passing fan as an adult. I mean, it's a character-driven strip that hasn't been daily for nearly 20 years, so it's not like we had much opportunity to get re-attached for the last three. I just can't get choked up the way I would for, say, Trudeau or like I did for Larson or Watterston. Or like I did for Breathed, twice already.

Gene Weingarten: Well, Berkeley has been teasing us for weeks now. It's no surprise.

I liked Opus, and it remains one of the best drawn strips on the comics pages, and I will miss it. But I think the decision to go Sunday-only may hae doomed it from the start. It's very hard to gain traction without a daily dose of your characters, particularly, as you say, with a character-driven strip.

I began to feel that Berkeley's heart was not entirely in this latest enterprise when more than once we found ourselves looking at recycled Bloom County gags.

Gene Weingarten: But: Week after week, Opus delivered some of the best sky-is-falling allegorical hang-wringing about the political hypocrisy afoot in our land. It's not a voice I would vote to lose and I'm sorry to see it go.

and one of his readers feels strongly about Doonesbury in a positive way, as do I:

B.D. Grins!: Hi Gene,

It's been over a week, but I'm still smiling about seeing B.D. smile in Doonesbury.

I loved Trudeau's whole sequence about Sam's Sarah Palin doll, but the most touching thing was seeing B.D. get so tickled as Boopsie tried to explain to Sam that Palin shouldn't be her hero (or her vice president). We've seen B.D. recover from his amputation and deal with his PTSD and even reach out to other characters -- but I'm pretty sure this is the first time he's smiled. It made me unreasonably happy.

And wide-eyed Boopsie has come a long way since B.D.'s injury, too. She's been a rock for B.D. And it's nice to see her get steamed about Palin.

I can't believe how emotionally invested I've become in these characters lately. Trudeau has always been brilliant, but this is ridiculous.

Gene Weingarten: Yeah, this was the best day of a good week.

1 comment:

Vundakin said...

Iʼm going to miss Opus to. Itʼs been one of my favorite Sunday strips over the past 5 years. Thank goodness I still have my PublicWorksComics: or Iʼd be even more depressed!