Book Review: Billy and the Boingers Bootleg by Berke Breathed (1987)

Full Disclosure: I remember trying to enter the contest for the Billy and the Boingers songs back in the middle 80s. I don’t remember if I actually completed the entry or not, but I do remember I did not win. So if you must, dismiss this review as sour grapes.

This is not the first copy of this book I have read; I cannot remember if I borrowed it from one of the rangers listed in a previous post (Thanks, Noodles) when it was new, but I bought it at a garage sale in years past along with my other recent funnies pages reads (The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes, Tales Too Ticklish to Tell) and I’ve read it now, with those same books.

This book actually immediately precedes Tales Too Ticklish To Tell, in that it introduces the Boinger storyline carried over into the later volume and introduces the basselope and Lola Granola characters.

What I said about the later book which I reviewed earlier remains true: It’s dated material. Still, I think this one is marginally better than the other. Since it deals less with the 1988 political season, it can focus on more universal themes, such as Tipper Gore leading a crusade to ramrod morality into rock music. Man, how things have changed, huh? But I digress. Because storylines involve Steve Dallas looking for a change from his lawyer work and Opus feeling his biological clock ticking–which leads him to his search for his soulmate (the aforementioned Miss Granola), Breathed gets to examine the human condition instead of the current political climate.

Face it, the human condition will remain mostly the same, regardless of the calendar date, which is why we’re reading Shakespeare four hundred years after he wrote his plays, or at least we’re watching movies on cable wherein Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves play them, but why Berke Breathed is struggling against obscurity and why Garfield–mocked as a comic strip in the second comic strip in this book–is now a major motion picture featuring the voice of Bill Murray.

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