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'Opus' the penguin is retiring

Opus, the Sunday comic strip documenting the exploits of a big-nosed penguin by the same name, will appear for the last time Nov. 2 because creator Berkeley Breathed has decided to stop drawing it, the Washington Post Writers Group announced Monday.

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Breathed (also well known for Bloom County) launched the Sunday-only strip in 2003. According to a statement released by the group, which syndicates the strip, Breathed will end the cartoon with a contest asking readers to guess Opus' fate. Currently, the character is in prison, courtesy of U.S. authorities. The actual ending will be available only on the Internet, not in newspapers, according to the syndicate.

Bloom County began in 1980, and Breathed won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1987. He quit drawing Bloom County in 1989, when the comic was running in nearly 1,300 newspapers, according to Editor & Publisher magazine. Shortly after that, he began drawing Outland, a Sundays-only strip featuring many of the same characters, but he retired it in 1995.

The St. Petersburg Times hasn't decided how it will replace Opus in the Sunday color comics.

Mike Wilson, assistant managing editor/ Newsfeatures

'Opus' the penguin is retiring 10/06/08 [Last modified: Sunday, October 12, 2008 6:56pm]

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