My parents got me an “Opus” tearaway calender when I was a kid, probably because they noticed that I actually liked The Far Side and Doonesbury, even though I’d never heard of the character before. I didn’t find out until later on of course that Opus is a character and not a title necessarily, but whatever.
Holy shit. Like seriously…Berkeley Breathed’s work is some of the best writing/art in a comic strip ever, and has made me a guaranteed fan for life. This particular collection’s a sampling of the best of the character, the somewhat dim-witted but also surprisingly savvy penguin in a tie, through several of Breathed’s strips.
My only real beef with the collection is that not every one of my favorite strips is in there, leaving a few “storylines”, like Opus in jail, dangling. Other than that, this is one of those collections I bust out once in a while and just flip from page to page, admiring not just Breathed’s artwork, but also his writing. He managed to combine aspects of (then)current politics, social commentary, caustic humor, and even insider jokes from cartooning and journalism, into a smart, funny, but also very touching cartoon strip.
I think that if you’ve never read Breathed at all this might be a great introduction, because it’s got collections from every different strip he did, all in a similar universe with several shared characters like Opus, but each one also different, reflecting his own learning and changing in style and thought.
Honestly, any collection of either Bloom County, Outland, or Opus are fantastic, so if you get a chance to ever pick one up, do so. You won’t regret it, because the fat little penguin with the giant nose, the con artist “lawyer” in shades, the big-headed smartass kids, the talking pig, and the weird cat that’s almost always vomiting, will all utterly charm you and make you a fan before you know it.