Creator Berkeley Breathed's first regularly published strip, Academia Waltz, appeared in the Daily Texan in 1978. The strip attracted notice from the editors of the Washington Post who recruited him to do a nationally syndicated strip. On December 8, 1980, Bloom County made its debut and featured some of the characters from Academia Waltz, including former frat-boy Steve Dallas and the paraplegic Vietnam War veteran Cutter John.
Bloom County earned Berkeley the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1987. The strip eventually appeared in over 1,200 newspapers around the world until he retired the daily strip in 1989, stating, "A good comic strip is no more eternal than a ripe melon. The ugly truth is that in most cases, comics age less gracefully than their creators". The comic continues in recirculation on GoComics!