If you are of a certain age, say late 30s to mid-40s, your teens may have been influenced by the sublime commentary of Bloom County, as mine were. I consider Bloom County to be a major source of my awareness and understanding of the world of the 1980s. I don't believe I would have known who Jeanne Kirkpatrick was in 1984 but for her scandalous dalliance with Bill the Cat.
Opus the Penguin was, from the beginnning, my favorite Bloom County resident. Between his body-image issues, his ineptitude in social interactions, and his victimization at the hands of great forces of the world in the form of cockroaches and infomercials, his pathos intrigued me more than most characters from traditional literature. The highs and (mostly) lows of Opus's adventures are captured in Opus: 25 Years of His Sunday Best. The volume covers the Bloom County years as well as the subsequent Sunday strips from Outland (which I never quite connected wtih in the same way as Bloom County). Being Sunday strips, they are often more self-contained than the daily strips, which carried most of the storay arcs over weeks if not months. So many of these strips are one-offfs, but that hardly detracts from their quality.
One of my favorites begins as a meditation in the meadow when Binkley askes Oliver what he thinks life is. After a rather philosophical back-and-forth, complete with apparent shifts in the time-space continuum, Opus brings the trio plummeting back to earth with: "How about this: You're born. You live. You go on some diets. You die." While Opus may struggle with the modern world, occasionally he cuts through the chaos with a laser-like observation. He puts his foot down on the preposterousness of it all, and for that I adore him.
Opus even ventured into a library (of all places!) to find help in the form of a book "that'll lay it all out for a fellow about just what exactly men and women expect of each other these days." After the librarian attempts to satisfy his information need with such titles as "Men Who Love Sheep and the Women Who Won't Wear Wool," our flightless friendis elated to find that the title he seeks is available: "Tighter Buns in 30 Days." Now that's comedy.