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|Oliver Wendell Jones|
|Bloom County character|
|Created by||Berkeley Breathed|
Oliver Wendell Jones is a fictional character in Bloom County , Outland and Opus , three comic strips by American cartoonist Berkeley Breathed. The character was named for United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr..
Oliver is an elementary-school age child with an incredibly advanced knowledge of science, math, technology, and computers. He is a strict rationalist and an atheist, although his understanding of the complex nature of the universe drives him to consider (once per year, on a strict schedule) the possibility of an intelligence behind its creation. His father, Frank Jones, was a regular character in the series, while his mother, while present, appeared far less and usually only in direct reaction to Oliver's storylines. The Jones family represented the only African-American family in the strip, a fact that was often referenced directly as a point of humor or satire.
The genius of the group, he frequently use his intelligence for political activism that borders on the illegal, such as hacking and dangerous scientific experiments. His father Frank frequently punishes him for his criminal activities, albeit begrudgingly, particularly when some of Oliver's schemes profit Frank personally.
Oliver first appeared in a Bloom County's daily strip on September 26, 1983, dragging a desktop computer in a wagon. Over the course of strips on the following four days, he used his Banana Jr. 6000 computer to alter the front page of the New York Times from "Reagan Calls Women 'America's Most Valuable Resource'" to "Reagan Calls Women 'America's Li'l Dumplin's'", sparking nationwide outrage (the comment was based on a real comment made by Hayden Fry, the football coach for the University of Iowa). He similarly hacked into the headquarters of Russia's state-owned newspaper and attempted to change the headlines to "Gorbachev Urges Disarmament! Complete! Total!" (though due to a mistranslation, the headlines actually read "Gorbachev Sings Tractors! Turnips! Buttocks!"). He also breached computers at the National Strategic Defense Center (a reference to NORAD), AT&T's telephone customer account file, and the IRS in order to give his father a multi-million dollar tax refund.
Among his other accomplishments is building an atomic bomb for a school science project using radioactive material scraped from luminescent clocks, a feat that got him suspended from school. He also hijacked HBO's transmissions claiming to be leader of the "People's Revolutionary Anti Scrambling Front for the Liberation of Public Airwaves etc, etc." in a stunt reminiscent of Captain Midnight's similar hijacking of HBO.
Oliver's parents are Frank and Eleanor Jones, named for Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt. Frank is resigned to having a "weird" son and often deliberately ignores Oliver's activities because he realizes he would not understand the explanation even if Oliver gave one (Frank has also stated that if he ever did understand the explanation, he would have report his son to the authorities). At times Oliver uses his father as an unwitting guinea pig for his experiments or outright bribes him to look the other way; Frank usually recovers from these misadventures to punish Oliver with a spanking or by temporarily taking away his computer.
On the other hand, Eleanor is deeply distressed by her son's behavior, though mostly from the point of view that he should seek out friends or typical hobbies (such as football) rather than lock himself away with his computer and experiments. She also encourages him to look for more mainstream role models, at one point attempting to dress him as Michael Jackson. Oliver takes pains to conceal his exploits from his mother for fear of upsetting her. Frank likewise tries to keep the truth from his wife, though this is often because he himself is complicit in encouraging Oliver's illegal schemes.
In an attempt to destroy the South African apartheid regime, Oliver invented a camera whose flash turned the victim's skin color darker, with the intention of using it on the white South African ambassador in order to cause political chaos. The plan was thwarted when Cutter John, who had volunteered to be airdropped into the South African embassy with the use of helium balloons attached to his wheelchair, was blown off course and ended up in Russia.
This was an attempt to transport matter. A few bugs plagued it in the beginning: Oliver's first attempt at teleportation landed him part way in the floor. Another attempt resulted in his father's Jaguar XJS being transported into orbit around Pluto. The largest disaster was due to Bill The Cat's presence in the transporter with Oliver, which changed Oliver into half-human half-cat, a la The Fly . This was later revealed to be a dream.
In the course of attempting to create a deodorant from Bill the Cat's sweat, the resulting solution was discovered to cure baldness, launching a hair-tonic business for the Jones family until the government declared the tonic a controlled substance. Subsequently, the price of the tonic skyrocketed, and the Bloom County gang soon found themselves running a lucrative underground hair-tonic cartel, only to have it collapse when the government later decriminalized the tonic.
Oliver began an escalating rivalry with Stephen Hawking after learning that they were both seeking an equation that explained the universe. Oliver wrote a letter to Hawking, ridiculing his mathematical abilities; Hawking responded by mailing Oliver a thermonuclear bomb. Oliver eventually beat Hawking to the equation and attempted to explain it to Opus. Under closer examination, the equation disproved the existence of flightless waterfowl, inadvertently erasing Opus from existence. Checking his sums, Oliver discovers that he "forgot to carry the two" and corrected the equation, which restored Opus but rendered the equation useless.
Bloom County is an American comic strip by Berkeley Breathed which originally ran from December 8, 1980, until August 6, 1989. It examined events in politics and culture through the viewpoint of a fanciful small town in Middle America, where children often have adult personalities and vocabularies and where animals can talk.
Guy Berkeley "Berke" Breathed is an American cartoonist, children's book author, director, and screenwriter, known for his comic strips Bloom County, Outland, and Opus. Bloom County earned Breathed the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1987.
Opus the Penguin is a fictional character created by artist Berkeley Breathed. Breathed has described him as an "existentialist penguin" and the favorite of his many characters.
Milo Bloom is a fictional character in the American comic strip Bloom County. He was originally the main character, but was soon overshadowed by his best friend Michael Binkley and later on by Opus the penguin.
Steve Dallas is a fictional character in the American comic strips of Berke Breathed, most famously Bloom County in the 1980s.
Opus was a Sunday strip drawn by Berkeley Breathed from November 23, 2003 to November 2, 2008. It was Breathed's fourth comic strip, following The Academia Waltz, Bloom County and Outland.
Cutter John is a fictional character in the 1980s comic strip Bloom County by Berke Breathed.
Outland is a comic strip written and illustrated by Berkeley Breathed from 1989 until 1995. It was a Sunday-only spin-off of Breathed's strip Bloom County, featuring many of the same characters.
Michael Binkley is a fictional character in Berke Breathed's cartoon strip Bloom County.
Lola Granola, also known as Fatima Struggle, is a fictional character in the comic strips Bloom County and Opus by Berkeley Breathed.
The following are minor characters from Berkeley Breathed's comic strip Bloom County. Though significant enough to have appeared multiple times in the strip, they were not crucial to the strip's overall development, and disappeared without much explanation long before Breathed segued into his next comic, Outland.
A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story is a children's book by Berkeley Breathed that was published in 1991. It was made into an animated television special that same year. The book and special feature characters from Breathed's comic strips Bloom County and Outland.
Toons for Our Times is the second collection of the comic strip series Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed. It was published in 1984.
Penguin Dreams and Stranger Things is the third collection of the comic strip series Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed. It was published in 1985.
Loose Tails is the first collection of the comic strip series Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed. It was published by Little, Brown and Company in 1983. At least two different editions exist; the contents and front cover art are identical but later editions swapped out the serious author biography on the back cover for a parody one.
Billy and the Boingers Bootleg is the fifth collection of the comic strip series Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed. It was published in 1987.
Bloom County Babylon: Five Years of Basic Naughtiness is the fourth collection of the comic strip series Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed. It was published in 1986.
Tales Too Ticklish to Tell is the sixth collection of the comic strip series Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed. It was published in 1988. The cover image, of Opus sitting on the lap of George H. W. Bush, is a parody of the infamous photo of Donna Rice and Gary Hart from May 1987.
The Night of the Mary Kay Commandos is the seventh collection of the comic strip series Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed. It was published in 1989.
Bill the Cat, or Bill D. Cat, is a fictional cat appearing in the works of cartoonist Berkeley Breathed, beginning with the comic strip Bloom County in the 1980s and continuing in Outland and Opus in the following decades. Bill also appeared in some of Breathed's illustrated children's books, including A Wish for Wings That Work, which was also made into an animated Christmas television special, and also on greeting cards and other sundry merchandise. Bill was originally capable of speaking English reasonably well, but storylines featuring an automobile accident, repeated periods of drug abuse, and brain surgery have since seen the character transition to a nearly mentally handicapped mute state in which the cat's most frequent spoken sentiments are "Ack!" and "Thppt!" - the former a result of his regularly choking on hairballs, the latter an approximation of "blowing a raspberry".