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Creator is ending comic strip 'Opus'

October 07, 2008|Sherry Stern

Berkeley Breathed is pulling the plug on his comic "Opus" after Nov. 2 and on his career as a comic strip artist. The 5-year-old Sunday comic with a political bent, starring the penguin from Breathed's classic comic "Bloom County," is ending just before the presidential election.

In an e-mail to The Times, Breathed, 51, wrote Monday: "30 years of cartooning to end. I'm destroying the village to save it. Opus would inevitably become a ranting mouthpiece in the coming wicked days, and I respect the other parts of him too much to see that happen. The Michael Moore part of me would kill the part of him that was important to his fans."

Breathed, who won a Pulitzer Prize for "Bloom County," also writes screenplays, novels and children's books. In a press release from the Washington Post Writers Group, which syndicates "Opus," he said, "With the crisis in Wall Street and Washington, I'm suspending my comic strip to assist the nation. The best way I can help is to leave politics permanently and write funny stories for America's kids. I call on John McCain to join me."

"Opus" will end with an online contest asking readers to guess the fate of the penguin.

The Times has not yet decided what will replace "Opus" on Sundays.

-- Sherry Stern

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