In August and September of 1984, Berkeley Breathed’s comic strip Bloom County ran a series of strips in which the fretful penguin Opus ends up befriending Michael Jackson and then trades places with him to let him live a normal life for a short time. This was a couple of years after the release of Thriller, around the time when the strangeness of Jackson’s life was becoming apparent to the world. Maybe I’m reading too much into the strips, but in retrospect I think they expressed a common yearning to make sure that he would be okay. It only seemed fair that someone who had delivered such joyful pop music to the world could be somehow saved from the emotional costs of exceptional parental pressure and superstardom at a young age. Of course, Opus was a fictional character, and whatever help Jackson might have needed, he never got it.
Here are the strips, click on one for the lightbox: