WE GOT YOUR SIGNED COPIES OF THE COMPLETE CUL DE SAC RIGHT HERE!
Richard Thompson, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, has graciously offered to sign copies of this beautiful boxed set when you place your order through One More Page. Because cartoonists, like banjo players, are lovable but unpredictable, we can't guarantee a delivery time. We thank you in advance for your support, and your patience. Click here to order or call us at 703-300-9746.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Mark Heath, who draws the poetically comic strip Spot the Frog, is trying to keep the first Spot book in print. He's got a pretty ingenious way to do it, too. Click here to learn what you can do. Hurry! Remember, frogs are the parakeets in the global mineshaft!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
And let's celebrate Easter a day early. This makes slightly more sense if you know that the Almanac runs in the Post Style section right next to Doonesbury. If I remember right, the editor's only question was if the spelling of "Bunsy" was intentional. I do remember that drawing the rabbit was a lot of fun. It makes me want to illustrate some Beatrix Potter stories, which'd be a classic case of carrying coals to Newcastle.
A few years ago the Smithsonian hosted a traveling exhibition of Beatrix Potter that included a lot of drawings, letters and ephemera. One of the first things you saw when you walked in was a huge blow up of one of the iconic Peter Rabbit illustrations, the one where he's gnawing on a carrot, enlarged to like ten feet tall. On the opposite wall was the original drawing, and it was so small you could've hidden it with your thumb. Something about drawing little twee English animals wearing vests and cravats and such is awfully appealing. Though probably the dream job for an illustrator would be Alice in Wonderland, which has the little twee animals plus an assortment of visually arresting creatures and grotesques. It's hard to improve on the original drawings by John Tenniel, but many have tried and a few have succeeded to some extent, like Ralph Steadman and Peter Newell and Deloss McGraw.
But anyway, Happy Easter, and may all your chocolate rabbits be solid.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
See also here.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
I did this Almanac poem to March about 8 years ago. The day after it appeared snow fell briefly in DC. It's the one instance of actual prescience I can claim. And I liked the poem enough to shorten it up and use it as a jump rope rhyme for Alice.
Here's another March poem which I falsely attribute to Carl Sandburg.
March comes in on Lion's paws,
Then more Sheepishly withdraws.,
Makes a big mess while it's here,
Drunk on green-dyed Irish beer.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I live in Arlington, Virginia, which is both a town and a county. About a mile west from my house is the county line beyond which is the city of Falls Church, Virignia. If you head in the other direction and go four miles east you'll cross the Potomac and then you're in Washington DC.
From 1901 to 1903 cartoonist and author James Thurber lived with his family in Washington. He wasn't yet a cartoonist or author, he was mostly a small boy, who'd been born in Columbus Ohio in 1894. His father, Charles Thurber, had moved the family to DC when he was hired as a stenographer to a Justice Department commission headed by an Ohio congressman, and the Thurbers rented a house on I street in Washington. The hot summers and thick humidity DC is known for prompted them to rent a second house out of town for the month of August in 1902. They picked one at 319 Maple Avenue in Falls Church, VA, away from the city heat.
The house had a large yard with apple trees and pear trees, and a hedge around it, a good yard to play in for James and his brothers William and Robert. One Sunday afternoon, William was fooling around with a toy bow and arrow set, and he told James to stand over by the fence and he'd shoot him in the back with one of the rubber arrows. William took his time lining up his shot and James got impatient and turned around just as William let fly. The arrow struck James square in the left eye. His mother took him to a GP who dressed the eye, which hurt some but wasn't bothering him too much. But several days later it seemed to worsen and she took him to an opthamologist who recommended the eye be removed immediately.
The accident eventually caused Thurber's blindness later in life and he blamed the lack of more immediate drastic care for the effect it had on his right eye. And the accident profoundly affected his work, as he drew larger and larger and used ever thicker lenses to make sense of the visual world.
If you leave my house, drive about a mile and a quarter down Lee Highway and turn right on West Columbia Street, then left on North Maple Avenue, you'll come to a dead end street called James Thurber Court.The name of the court is thanks to Mrs. Elizabeth Acosta, a Thurber fan from Falls Church who struck up a correspondence with him in the late fifties, during the course of which she discovered that she was living in the house next to where he lived as a boy in August of 1902. When 319 Maple Ave. was pulled down in the early 60s to make way for townhouses, Mrs. Acosta pushed for the newly created cul-de-sac to be called after its most famous previous resident.
I'm going to walk over there some day this spring and take a photo of the street sign, but I'll keep my head down. Sounds like a dangerous neighborhood.
My thanks to Bob Burnett for telling me about this.
Monday, March 10, 2008
And I gotta say, every time I pick up a copy of the New Yorker I'm awed by the caricatures Tom Bachtell draws for them, sometimes five or six in each issue. Every face is spot on and he never repeats himself. Makes me cry.
Friday, March 7, 2008
I don't think I'd pick super-speed as my super-power. I've always thought the ability to stay awake indefinitely would be the most useful power, or the ability to make someone's foot fall asleep by staring at it, which'd be a hoot at social gatherings. Whatever, the point I set out to make is that I'm not going to post anything real graphicky, with bells & whistles & funny drawings, until the connection gets a little more up to speed. So until then, please feel free to leave a message with a good joke.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
On the subject of Lynn Johnson's For Better or For Worse, I'm guessing eventually the Patterson family will come unstuck in time, like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse 5, and start bouncing between now and then and next week on a daily basis. Or maybe, like the citizens of Grover's Corners in Our Town, they'll be simultaneously in the here and the hereafter. Or they'll just move to Santa Royale and get bossed around by Mary Worth.
Monday, March 3, 2008
I've heard that Searle plans his work pretty carefully and his unmistakably wiry, sprung lines are laid down with a lot more control than might be apparent. His work always makes me aware of how liquid ink is, how it skips and splotches and pools when it hits the paper. For a long time his style exerted a tidal pull on me, as it has at some point for a lot of cartoonists for over sixty years. Though he used to draw not with ink, but with a kind of stain meant for I think furniture. He liked it because it aged interestingly into a greyish purple, and because it handled differently than regular ink. They don't make that brand of stain anymore, and he's drawn with regular ink for years, and better than just about anyone else.
Happy Birthday to Mr. Searle, and I hope he's well and working in his converted windmill in the French countryside.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
My favorite is the Shaker. You so rarely come across a good Shaker joke these days, but you so rarely come across a Shaker either. I did see a Shaker once, she came to our school in 8th grade to present a program on her religion. I don't think she gained any converts, but it was interesting and, as we'd coincidentally been doing a week of drug-awareness programs, a little confusing in context. I went to a Quaker school up till 10th grade, and I can claim some pretty thick Quaker heritage, but there weren't many Quakers attending the school. Our third grade teacher, Mrs. Harker, was Quaker and sometimes used thee and thou and did it unaffectedly. She was cool and funny and told great stories (the best one was about how she somehow managed to get her car stuck up in a tree). Nowadays if someone asks my religious affiliation I usually say "lapsed Quaker", then I hope they ask how do you become a lapsed Quaker so I can tell them you sucker-punch a Buddhist. It's a lousy joke and no one's ever laughed at it, but someday they might.