Aaack! Opus waddles back

November 21, 2003|By SUN STAFF

You've seen him in the ads. The one with the "Who, me?" expression. Opus the Penguin returns Sunday to The Sun's Sunday comics pages in a new strip, Opus, but with little explanation for his whereabouts the past eight years.

This called loudly for further investigation. Asked for comment, Bloom County, Outland and Opus creator Berkeley "Berke" Breathed declined all comment (mysterious), agreeing instead to arrange an interview - but only via e-mail - with his star (more mystery!).

We didn't just want to chat with Opus, we were looking for answers to the tough questions, even if we ruffled a few feathers. We found a tender bird, brittle even. And just a little sensitive about the private parts of his life.

Herewith, a transcript of the interview:

Welcome back, Opus. Your nation has missed you desperately. But our readers need some questions answered.

First, as you know, this year marks the celebration of the Wright Brothers' first flight 100 years ago at Kitty Hawk, N.C. How does this make you feel as you face yet another anniversary of your own species' flightlessness?

Oh. I see what sort of interview this is going to be. You try to needle me into saying something that will get you inflammatory copy. Listen, fancy mediaboy, the only thing that I'm insecure about is, yes, my nose. Wings are no issue.

It's been so long since you've been seen or heard from. Have you had any "work" done?

There you go again. Did you ask Catherine Zeta-Jones why she suddenly ballooned up in the ribs area after Zorro? No. Is there anything wrong with my nose?

Aren't you worried that, in a large, half-page format, your nose hairs will show? Or is this some form of, um, compensation?

Why are you attacking me? These are all supposed to be puff interviews. You're very rude. The comic strip is going to be big because it's Mr. Berkeley's way of suggesting that America's newspapers might consider canning any strip that is drawn by the originator's relatives, corporation or hired lackeys ... as in Garfield's case. Or strips that are drawn by dead cartoonists. Yes, there's plenty.

Are you now dating, or have you ever dated, Britney Spears?

That's none of your business! You are the most awful person! I've been in Antarctica for eight years! I haven't dated anything except for ice floes, much less - who was it, Spears? Is she a big shot in asparagus?

Our sources have invented a rumor that your suspended animation was the result of a rebellion - yours - against having words put in your mouth by cartoonist Berke Breathed. How's your relationship now? Did he beg you to come back? And what's in it for him?

Mr. Berkeley had a little bad luck with the ponies, if you know what I mean. We help our friends.

Breathed's love of animals and animal-rights causes is well-known. How about you? Will you use your popularity to stop the drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

Mr. SmartyPants, the only drilling I can prevent is this interview. Last question ...

Do you have Schwarzenegger on speed dial?

Maria Shriver fondled my nose and my lawyers asked me not to discuss the matter.

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