One of my recent purchases through the Humble Bundle was the complete Bloom County (which also included the complete Outland and Opus). I first learned about this series from my high-school history teacher Mr. Jordan after I’d expressed an interest in other things like Doonesbury. Over 2-3 years in college I managed to buy all of the original collections, and in later years I even picked up the first hardback of the complete Bloom County (which had some early material I hadn’t read before).
Now that I own literally every strip in digital form I’ve been reading from the very beginning. Oddly, 8-10 years after I first read these, I think these strips from the 80’s are surprisingly relevant. Even though I wasn’t born until about halfway through the strip’s run, a child of the 90’s has a lot in common with a child of the 80’s, especially characters like Oliver Wendell Jones and the rise of the hackers. But will my kid find these strips amusing or just boring?
See I’ve been doing the same thing with the complete Peanuts. I have a ton of individual collections I’m saving so I can give them to potential future offspring, while still maintaining my complete hardback collection until they’re old enough to treat them with the proper care. But I’ve also been practising the mantra of getting rid of a lot of things physically that I own digitally (even some things I don’t have digitally like most of my old Doonesbury books).
Should I get rid of my Bloom County books, which let’s face it, will be talking about events and people from 35-40 years in the past by the time these theoretical kids read them? Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes are timeless, no question, and I like the oddness of Bloom County. But I’m weird.
Realistically I applied the rule I do with a lot of uncertain things. If I don’t know I want to get rid of it for sure, I keep it. Selling these collections won’t get me five bucks I’d expect, and even with the digital sometimes it’s still fun to page through the original. And there’s probably a few old forwards that aren’t available elsewhere unless I scan them.
For that matter, will kids even read the funnies in the same way I did? Most of the relevant comics these days are online, things like XKCD, SMBC and Dinosaur Comics (though calling some of these ground-breaking is a bit pushing it). None of them are winning Eisner awards for cartooning. Maybe Sandra and Woo has picked up the torch a little bit, being of the same peculiar breed as Bloom County which has animals talking to humans like nothing strange is happening.
Who knows, in the meantime I’ll be keeping my Bloom County next to Calvin and Hobbes and just below Pogo (“we have seen the enemy and he is us”).
BTW, on a further reading, despite loving some of the innocent naivete Opus brings to the strip, Oliver Wendell Jones is my favourite, particularly the strips where is so overwhelmed by the infinite vastness of the cosmos that he must wallow in the banality of a chocolate chip cookie. Same goes for me and contemplating are eventual technological future.