Friday, 3 April 2015

B is for Berkeley Breathed

Guy Berkeley Breathed is a man who reintroduced the comic strip in the 1980's by combining comments on society, politics and American life with the inclusion of bizarre but beautifully crafted characters. 
He also used his own experiences to add life and plot to the cartoon strip.

Have a look at either Bloom County, Outland or Opus.

What do you get if you cross a penguin with a tie, shirt collar, trainers and a humungous nose?
Add to that a ginger cat that looks like it has just eaten some space dust. 
Finally a purple cockroach that wears a bowler hat.


It reminds me of Pogo by Walt Kelly
although I did come to this after Mr. Breathed; 
it combines socio-political commentary 
from swamp critters. 


It could be said that Liberty Meadows by Frank Cho 
was the successor to both Kelly and Breathed. 
He combines the anthropomorphic animals 
set in an animal clinic with the vet and nurses
dealing with their own relationships. 


So why do artists use animals or anthropomorphic forms
within comic strips that comment on society and politics?
TBH (to be honest), I don't know
but I presume it may have something with it
being easier to access something that looks like
a comic strip but putting a very strong message across.

Spitting Image,
the satirical puppet show
on British television
didn't hide behind animals in
such the ways illustrated above.
Peter Fluck and Roger Law created
the cast of latex caricatures to
wreak havoc on a Sunday evening.


I am sure there are people and readers, out there, 
who know a better way of putting this across. 

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