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Opus hasn't marched off his mortal coil

November 05, 2008|Sherry Stern | Stern is a Times staff writer.

Berkeley Breathed has a message for those "Opus" fans who were worried that the penguin was deep-sixed Sunday when his 5-year-old comic strip shut down. "Jumpin' Jehosphat," Breathed told The Times via e-mail, "Tony Soprano sleeps with the fishes, which is to say, dead. Opus sleeps with a bunny in a feather bed, dreaming of a more hopeful tomorrow morning."

Most fans got that sweet image when they saw the final "Opus" online at humane society.org/opus. But others were worried because the penultimate strip in print took place in an animal shelter setting and then, in the finale, Opus was being put to sleep (so to speak) in the pages of "Goodnight Moon," the nursery classic.

They can rest easy now that Breathed has clarified that Opus is, well, resting easy.

"Opus" ended its run with one foot in children's literature and another in the unpredictable world of technology.

The final comic showed Breathed's pudgy penguin peacefully napping, while Breathed's farewell note to his readers crashed the comic strip artist's website.

Some who only saw the image fretted about the bird's final fate, so Breathed wanted to be especially clear in his e-mail.

"I assure people in my Web note that Opus is in the comforting place that would make me smile when I think of him in the years to come. I can only hope that his fans will smile too. If Opus was cuddling with tropical girls wearing coconuts, I suppose I'd smile too, but tinged with regret that those things just never last after that early giddy stage."

Breathed had pulled the plug on Opus because of his frustration with current events and to write books for children.

frustration with current events--

sherry.stern@latimes.com

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