Happening @ CAM

From Bloom County to Mars: The Imagination of Berkeley Breathed

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.



Pingback from the couscous collective thoughts » Blog Archive » Andrew’s day job
Time February 7, 2011 at 2:26 am

[...] more information about the exhibition, please visit the Cartoon Art Museum’s website. If you’re in San Francisco between now and June, make sure to check out the exhibition. And [...]

Comment from Viv
Time February 8, 2011 at 1:09 am

Hi. Is there any chance at all of obtaining a poster the pic he posted on his FB page with Opus drawing him? I’m a total fan and hope to get down there to see the show :) Failing that I’m grovelling in order to purchase this and hopefully even maybe kinda the catalogue?? Pretty please?? With fresh frozen herringsicles on top?
Thanks ever so in advance :)
Vancouver BC

Comment from afarago
Time February 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm

We’ve just announced our plans to publish a full-color catalog! You can pre-order a signed copy here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1656955821/from-bloom-county-to-mars-the-art-of-berkeley-brea

Pingback from Cartoon Art Museum exhibition takes Berkeley Breathed fans From Bloom County to Mars
Time February 9, 2011 at 1:10 am

[...] And given that that last book will be coming soon to a theater near you via Walt Disney Pictures … Well, the Cartoon Art Museum thought that it was high time that someone put together a retrospective exhibition which then celebrated this gifted cartoonist & storyteller. Which is why – this past Sunday – this San Francisco institution opened From Bloom County to Mars:  The Imagination of Berkeley Breathed. [...]

Pingback from The Best Special Upcoming Museum Exhibits | Effective Attraction
Time April 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

[...] in the San Francisco area, the Cartoon Art Museum has an exhibit running until June 19th entitled, From Bloom County to Mars: The Imagination of Berkeley Breathed. Of course you’ll get to see Opus, Steve Dallas and Bill the Cat, as well as information on his [...]

Pingback from No Onions Extra Pickles » Blog Archive » June Arts
Time June 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm

[...] From Bloom County to Mars: The Imagination of Berkeley Breathed – ending June 19, 2011 at the Cartoon Art Museum [...]

Pingback from No Onions Extra Pickles » Blog Archive » July Arts
Time July 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm

[...] From Bloom Country to Mars: The Imagination of Berkeley Breathed – ending July 9, 2011 at the Cartoon Art Museum [...]

Comment from Carlota
Time September 13, 2012 at 8:19 am

When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment.

Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
Bless you!

Comment from afarago
Time September 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm

You’ve got to uncheck the box yourself. There should be an unsubscribe option somewhere.

Comment from Dan Losing
Time January 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm

oh, only now i got to read this page. Is there a chance there will be another opening soon? I remember reading Academia Waltzwhen I was a child. I really like it. It reminds me of my childhood.

Comment from Denis werbin
Time March 15, 2013 at 3:55 am

I would love to visit the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. I just read that this museum has announced a centennial retrospective of the art of legendary animation director and creator Chuck Jones, and it will be displayed until march 5 (which is too late for me). But they are so creative and interesting in making awesome shows one after another. Thanks for a great museum. I plan to visit it
on April….