Held over through July 9 by popular demand!
February 5 – July 9, 2011
Opening Reception Saturday, April 2, 2011; details to be announced
EXHIBITION CATALOG Available for mail order!
San Francisco, CA: The Cartoon Art Museum is pleased to present From Bloom County to Mars: The Imagination of Berkeley Breathed, a retrospective exhibition covering the Pulitzer Prize-winning artist’s career from his beloved comic strip Bloom County to the upcoming Disney film Mars Needs Moms, based on his children’s book of the same name. The exhibition features a comprehensive look back at Bloom County as well as Berkeley Breathed’s children’s books and movie projects, including material from Secondhand Lions and Flawed Dogs.
Celebrating the cultural impact of this remarkable comic strip, IDW Publishing has teamed up with Breathed for the first complete and chronological collection of Bloom County. The first three volumes of Bloom County: The Complete Library are currently available at fine bookstores everywhere, with release of the fourth volume coinciding with Breathed’s appearance at San Francisco’s WonderCon, one of the nation’s largest comic book and pop culture conventions. Each volume features the many quirky citizens of Bloom County—such as Opus, Bill the Cat, and Milo Bloom—while projecting Breathed’s uncanny ability to be both cynical and naïve, often at the same time.
IDW Publishing and the Cartoon Art Museum are producing a limited edition catalog to accompany the exhibition. The From Bloom County to Mars exhibition catalog will debut at WonderCon in April. To pre-order this book and to fund the print run of this historic catalog, please visit the Cartoon Art Museum’s Kickstarter catalog project.
Breathed will be available for a limited number of interviews relating to this exhibition. Please contact AnnaMaria White of IDW Publishing to request an interview: AnnaMaria@IDWPublishing.com
About Berkeley Breathed
Berkeley Breathed (born June 21, 1957) is an American cartoonist, children’s book author/illustrator, novelist, director, and screenwriter, best known for Bloom County, a 1980s cartoon-comic strip which dealt with socio-political issues as seen through the eyes of highly exaggerated characters (e.g. Bill the Cat and Opus the Penguin) and humorous analogies.
His first regularly published strip, Academia Waltz, appeared in the Daily Texan in 1978. The strip attracted notice from the editors of the Washington Post who recruited him to do a nationally syndicated strip. On December 8, 1980, Bloom County made its debut and featured some of the characters from Academia Waltz, including former frat-boy Steve Dallas and the paraplegic Vietnam war veteran Cutter John.
Bloom County earned Berkeley the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1987. The strip eventually appeared in over 1,200 newspapers around the world until he retired the daily strip in 1989, stating, “A good comic strip is no more eternal than a ripe melon. The ugly truth is that in most cases, comics age less gracefully than their creators”.
He replaced this strip with the surreal Sunday-only cartoon, Outland in 1989, which featured some of the Bloom County characters, including Opus the Penguin and Bill the Cat. He ended Outland in 1995.
Eight years later, Berkeley began producing the comic strip, Opus, a Sunday-only strip featuring Opus the Penguin, who was one of the iconic characters from Bloom County. He colors the cartoon himself with Adobe Photoshop.
In addition to his syndicated cartoon work, which has produced eleven best-selling cartoon collections, he has also produced seven children’s books, two of which, A Wish for Wings That Work and Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big, were made into animated films. Berkeley’s writing has also been featured in numerous publications, including Life, Boating, and Travel and Leisure, and he produced the cartoon art in the film, Secondhand Lions, which featured a strip called Walter and Jasmine. The panels he drew for Secondhand Lions appear in Opus: 25 Years of His Sunday Best, and he refers to them as “the comic strip that never was”.
Berkeley is a fan of outdoor activities such as power-boating and motorcycling. In 1986, he broke his back in an ultralight plane crash, later incorporated into a “Bloom County” storyline in which Steve Dallas breaks his back after being attacked by an angry Sean Penn. Berkeley also nearly lost his right arm a few years later after a boat propeller severed his humerus bone.
Berkeley, his wife and their two children live in Southern California. Although a private person, he has given interviews to on-line magazines such as The Onion and Salon – but only rarely face-to-face or telephone interviews. He and his wife support animal rights, and his book, Flawed Dogs: The Year-End Leftovers at the Piddleton ‘Last Chance’ Dog Pound, promotes adopting pets from shelters.