Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: Bloom County Loose Tails by Berkeley Breathed

Bloom County Loose TailsBloom County Loose Tails by Berkeley Breathed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I ran across a whole pile of Bloom County books at my library book sale. They were too much to resist.

This is the first Bloom County compendium, so the art is rough and the characters fairly superficial. They're consistently depicted, though they seem to be trying on several roles and settings.

The strips hold up surprisingly well. They're a product of their time, with very dated references most readers would have to look up on Wikipedia. The only reason I didn't was because I (vaguely) remember  reading these strips when they were first published in syndication.

For all its young protagonists and talking animals, it's clear this strip was not written for young me. The majority of the humor is based on a nuanced understanding of politics, ideology, and the media. The biting satire is lost with no context.

What struck me most, reading through this collection, was how little has changed since the 1980's. The faces are all different, but the media was just as reactionary, politics just as divisive and focused on wedge issues, and the closed-minded had their forums to spread hate. It's a good reminder that, though I remember my childhood as a simpler time, that was only because I didn't understand enough of what was going on around me. We've taken steps forward since then, but the attitudes remain much the same.

Revisiting this collection 30 years after its publication was an eye-opening experience. I'm looking forward to what else I might find out, revisiting the other collections I picked up.


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