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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some News

When I started this blog two years ago with the kind urging of Mark Heath, I'd intended to pretty much stay out of it. Oh sure, I'd post work and whine about deadlines, and drivel on about pen nibs and other obsessions. But I wouldn't drag too much personal stuff into it, and I'd especially avoid photos of me (the post below and this one notwithstanding). 

That said, I'm going to bend my vague rule a bit, mostly because with this San Diego Funfest looming I feel obliged to go a little public. For the last year or so I've noticed a few odd symptoms; shakiness, hoarseness, silly walks, random clumsiness and the like. So the other day I went to see a neurologist and, after having me me jump through hoops, stand on my head and juggle chain saws, he said I've got Parkinson's. It's a pain in the fundament and it slows me down, but it hasn't really affected my drawing hand at all and it's treatable . And it could be a useful ploy in my ever-losing battle against deadlines.

That's my news and, as I said, I'm passing it along mostly because I'm gong to be more sociable in the next week. And if I drop the chain saw in the middle of a presentation I want you to know why.

104 comments:

Jesse C said...

oh Richard, that is really sad news.

Richard Blanco said...

I am very sorry to hear this, Richard.

dave roman said...

Richard, I'm so sorry!
I won't be at Comic Con to wish you this in person but here is some strength and confidence sent your way.

Austin Kleon said...

So sorry to hear it, but so glad you can still draw! Be well.

Henry Allen said...

Richard -- Your steely calm and boundless humor can get you through anything, I assume, but I'm very sorry they have to get you through this.
Henry Allen

Mike Lynch said...

Damn hard news. I wish you all the very best, Richard. I send you my very best wishes.

Mike said...

Hang in, do what they tell you and work on becoming one of the people at the good end of the bell curve on this one.

Mark Anderson said...

Holy moley! Hang in there my inky brother... Me and the fam are pulling for you.

J. Lemon said...

I'm in shock Richard. Please know we are all thinking of you.

B Moore said...

Wishing you the best, Richard.

Zach Trenholm said...

Other than by work, reputation & a few brief email exchanges, i don't actually know you Richard but my sense of you from your writings is that you'll handle this hand you've been dealt with a forthrightness & wit that would be absent from most...

All the best to you in this challenge....

Kid Shay said...

Richard, that is sad news indeed. Sending my good thoughts your way.

Monet made some of his best work in spite of his cataracts (although his punchlines are fairly esoteric and I doubt they'd find syndication these days).

Piers Baker said...

Gaah! Now you've also got to fit in stuff like racquet sports, bowling, sailing, skiing, swimming and dancing!

All the best Richard.

Ponto said...

Oy, Richard... words fail me, and I cannot draw. I'll send the cats over with a bottle of slivovitz for you. Take care, pard.

Jonathan said...

All the best to you and your family Richard

Hinzi said...

Richard,

Sorry to hear it! I feel, however, you have a great attitude and will make the best of it, if that is possible. And, who knows, maybe there is a cure around the corner...

Best Wishes,
Hinrich

Anaïs Goldemberg said...

Oh no ! This is very sad. I hope the very best for you.
...I'm not sure about the ploy-thing, though. Sorry, but deadlines are almighty (and publishers got no souls, that's common knowledge.)

Mrs. Windaker said...

I am so sorry to hear that. Dealing with chronic health issues is a great deal less than fun. I mentioned it to my hubby (also a big fan), who immediately mentioned that Charles Schulz drew with a tremor for decades. We are betting that you will find a way to evolve your work and incorporate any visible signs as part of the piece.

Rod McKie said...

All the best wishes and good vibes and hopes and thoughts and prayers we can muster are being sent out to you from over here, Richard.

Geoff Hassing said...

I'm really sorry to hear this, all my best Richard. Hang in there!

Dan Thompson said...

It's treatable, hang in there! Best wishes to you, Richard! Have fun at Comic Con!

david t said...

all my best wishes for a prompt recovery!

patricia said...

I love your work, Richard, and I'm very saddened by this news. I wish nothing but the best for you. You've got a great attitude, and I know that that is half the battle.

Anonymous said...

I pray for your healing!

Patrick Dean said...

Gah, that's rough. Take care of yourself! Plenty of wishes/thoughts/prayers to you.

Luke said...

That is not fun, but you have a whole crowd hoping for the best for you!

Paul Karasik said...

My very best wishes.

And while I am at it: thanks, again for C.D.S., one of the few panels of hope left on the comics page.

Scott said...

That's one hell of an "Uh-Oh." I wish you the best, Richard. I hope this will not spoil your time in the sandbox. Keep working and take care of yourself!

Anonymous said...

RT: You're the best. We love you! Feel better!-JG

brian said...

Keeping you in my thoughts, Richard. I look forward to you kicking this stupid disease's ass.

Joel Achenbach said...

From Rome, the Achenbach clan says we are thinking about you Richard and know that you are up to this next challenge and will show us all how to handle such things with grace and humor. Best wishes, Joel

Conway Area Humane Society said...

Talk about a gut punch. First I'm thinking, Hey, Richard mentioned my name. I'm a little more famous today. And then you reveal your Parkinson's. You're the master of the surprise punchline. I'm glad you jumped through the hoops. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself.

It was shrewd of you, however, to devise a drawing style that will probably work well with a shaky line. As always, your talent is looking out for you.

mark h.

Erik said...

I just made a donation to the National Parkinson Foundation at parkinson.org "In support of Alice and Petey Otterloop".

CdS is in my top five greatest comic strips ever. And I am old.

Persevere Richard! Our thoughts are with you.

nolanart said...

Hey Richard, everything said above, tripled to the Nth power.

Steve said...

I'm so sorry to hear this news. I'll be wishing on one of those funny those constellations in the night sky that you're able to manage it well.

Trade Loeffler said...

I'm sorry for the bum news, Richard. One thing I've learned from reading your comics is that you definitely have the sense of humor necessary to deal with something like this. Add my best wishes to those of the many other fans which I'm sure are headed your way.

DecaturHeel said...

Richard--thanks for your courage in sharing your news. I look forward to seeing you at many Reuben Award ceremonies in the future. (And I'm a little jealous that you're going to Comic-Con and skipped the Reubens...wassup with that?)
--Tom Heintjes

Kioskerman said...

Best hope and wishes for you Richard.

michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
michael said...

So, so sorry to hear that, Richard. I -- and Madeline -- are pulling for you.

We'll meet up at Comic-Con, and I'll enjoy watching you bask, so deservedly, in your own Spotlight.

Paul Giambarba said...

Richard, we're pulling for you. Get another opinion, please. I've had a neurologist bring me to my knees with a phone call telling me all the things that could happen to my wife, which they did not. Like the bumper sticker says, Question Authority. Many professionals are often wrong, but rarely in doubt.

bernadette said...

Cul de Sac is one of my very few, daily "must read" comics! Thank you for creating it and making it so very warm and enjoyable. It lightens my and many people's days.

I am so sorry to hear of your illness. Wishing you all the best of luck and good treatment outcome.

Marleen May said...

I was just back home in Minnesota and so excited to see your strip in the Tribune there. I hope that whatever medication and/or treatments you take work for you.

Steve Greenberg said...

Richard, this is my wife's area of specialization (movement disorders nurse-manager). The web site I built for her, www.brainnurse.com has a lot of info and links to support groups and other info. The good news is you can live with this and there are things to help you function pretty much normally.

best wishes,
Steve Greenberg

Brian Fies said...

Learn all you can, be your own best advocate, and don't take any guff from anybody. Nobody's going to fight harder for you than you can. Best of luck.

Mister Ron said...

So sorry to hear that Richard. Please take care.

Peggy Burns said...

Stay Strong RIchard, it's all you can do!

Mike Rhode said...

Geez, the guy's trying to get ready for San Diego, entering the belly of the beast as it were, and you guys keep distracting him with all these good wishes. This will be his first time in an airplane, so let's keep reminding him of HOW SAFE AIRTRAVEL REALLY IS!

Mike Rhode said...

BTW, Steve Greenberg's got some nice cartoons at his wife's site - http://www.brainnurse.com/Cartoons.htm

Kurdt said...

All I can add is what everyone else has already said. Your work brings me much happiness and I really hope you pull through.

Dan Reynolds said...

Richard,
It sounds like you have the right attitude. Life sometimes give you lemons, you make lemonade, or if you're a cartoonist, you make lemon meringue pie and hit yourself with it for a laugh.
When I was diagnosed with cancer late last year, I spent ONE day feeling sorry for myself. After that, I never asked "Why me?", but rather "Why not me?"
Along with prayer, the love of family and friends, I used humor to fight the tumor. At one point while receiving chemo, I came to the realization that I was able to appreciate a lot of things in life that most of us just take for granted every day.
Richard, I have a strong sense from the way you expressed yourself in your note, you're already on this road. You have a great read on life and I look forward to many more years of your great work. All the best!
Dan Reynolds

Jared said...

So very sorry to hear it. Stiff upper lip and all that rot! (seemed like the only thing that hasn't been said yet...)
Get well!

W Rand said...

Sorry to hear the news, Richard. Hope the treatments keep the symptoms at bay.

Jeanie W said...

I'm so sorry you have to deal with such a tough disease. I sure hope they cure it soon.

DoubleE said...

Richard, so very sorry to hear this. Bless you for the joy you bring to us each and every day. You are loved and beloved. xxoo

MJ said...

Wishing you and yours all the best.

Scott Nickel said...

Richard!

Dammit, that’s a tough blow -- and cosmically very unfair. The world's worst people should be stricken with such maladies, not our best and most talented.

Please know that I'm rooting for you and you’ll always have my support and undying admiration.

Take care,

Scott

elece said...

OMG, that's shocking. Good to know it's trateable now, and even more in the near future. My best wishes of a full recovery! Take care!

Bear said...

I'm sorry to hear this news Richard. Wishing you all the best. Your work continues to entertain and inspire me daily.

emily said...

hopefully the chainsaw won't drop on one of your adoring fans! take care of yourself.

Sandra said...

Richard, very tough news but I'm glad to hear it's treatable. I'm sending my best wishes.
Sandra Lundy

Benita said...

I'm so sorry, Richard. All best wishes. You are my favorite cartoonist.

David Hagen said...

Stay positive.
My thoughts and best wishes are always with you.
David

angryparsnip said...

I'm keeping you in my thoughts !

Look at the great wishes from all these people who most only know you from your strip. . . all my best to you and your family...

Dennis said...

I'm sorry, Richard.

Please accept this message of goodwill from your most curmudgeonly fan.

Mr. JM said...

I share the messages of good will already posted, but with this caveat: My grandfather had Parkinson's and it sucked, but he was still a fine father, a great grandfather and a damn fine human being.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: It's gonna suck, but you can do it.

All the best,etc.

-- MrJM

Rita Roquette de Vasconcellos said...

A big hug from Portugal and a good and fast recovery

Rita V.

Christopher said...

Richard, you are a BRILLIANT cartoonist, and your magical Cul De Sac strip is nothing short of the rightful heir to the best modern comic title formerly held by Calvin & Hobbes. You will get through this, buddy. Your sense of humor is wicked and your artwork is glorious. Lose yourself in your medium and try to forget that real life sometimes serves us lemons. You’re going to be just fine.

Emi said...

Dear Mr. Thompson,

I'm really sorry to hear this, and I wish you the best.

I want you to know that you're one of my great cartoon heroes. I love Cul de Sac not only for your unmatchable sense of humor but for your uncanny ability to render a DC-suburbs childhood in exact physical and emotional detail.

Your How to Draw strip, cut from the Post, hangs over my desk, and I'm waiting eagerly for the new Cul de Sac book. As long as you keep drawing, I'll be reading.

with fangirly admiration,
Emi

jeff g. said...

I've been reading the Post since the early 60s, and your Sat. Almanac strip is one of the paper's greatest contribution to journalism. A lot of fans are wishing you the best of luck.

Mo said...

Sir,

The Willems clan wishes you only the best. Spare some of your abundant talent to beat this thing.

Your fan,

Mo

Cedar said...

Ah geez, Richard. I am a student of neuroscience, and schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease are my areas of interest. It's always a sad diagnosis to get. Words fail me and drawing's too hard. You're in my thoughts.

Mark B said...

hey,
Don't know if this helps but I got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 20 years ago, it was pretty overwhelming and depressing. At that time literally nothing they could do for me. I probably went thru all the crap your going thru now. But eventually some meds came out and luckily they worked for me and my life is pretty damn normal. It's right to be totally pissed and furious at this but don't let it wipe out the future. And keep your fingers crossed for a decent Health Care bill even more now.

Mark Badger

whamcomics said...

Richard, that's no good. I'm really glad it's treatable. And damn glad it doesn't effect the drawing! Hang in there, fella.

brian_huntley said...

Rotten news, Richard. Best wishes from a random fan, though.

Greg Sanders said...

Like many others I'm sorry to hear that and I join my best wishes to there's.

Signe said...

Richard: If you can survive Comicom, you can survive this diagnosis. Draw on. Along with the rest of your fans, I will hold you in the light.

Anonymous said...

I almost didn't leave a comment because I can't think of anything to say that doesn't sound trite. But then I thought that there are tens of thousands of other loyal readers who also aren't commenting, or don't know about your blog, and we're all incredibly sorry to hear this (or would be if we knew about your blog), and hoping for the best for you.

Helloid said...

Richard, you are one of the best reasons to read the Post. My father had Parkinson's, but treatment has come a long way. Your sketchy style will serve you well. Perhaps a book about your experiences?

buddyandmiles said...

Judging by this outpouring of concern , you've touched a lot of lives with Cul de Sac and your geuinine kindness. I wish you well through this challenge!

Take care!
Danny Fry

Anonymous said...

It's times like these we mortals count our progress on our journey towards discovering the meaning of life.

I would wish you the best but wishes are for genies and fountains.

From one human to another: Hope on.

Eric Hanson said...

A friend who knows I'm a fan told me. It makes me unhappy in a very selfish way, because I enjoy your line quality every morning. There is something heartening about perfectly drawn lines and interesting little artistic devices. Marvelous is an apt word. When I draw something myself I still look at it afterwords and marvel, and seeing other artists' work it's the same reaction. I will relish them even more now.

Monty said...

Just wanted to add my words of encouragement, for what they're worth, to the chorus...

Your wit, personality, and humanity would not be diminished by an unsteady hand. The drawing by itself is less important than those of us who draw like to think. I suspect that if you were drawing Cul de Sac with your foot, it would look a little different, but it would still be a great strip.

This is, of course, easy for me to say. I'm sorry as heck to hear that you're having to cope with this. Take heart.

Jeremy said...

Hi,

Just a fan, so sorry to hear of your new diagnosis.

I am always impressed with the humanity of your humor and characters (and also that the strip is actually laugh-out-loud funny and gorgeous, but in this context, the first part is the most important.) I see you as having a deep well of empathy and a very dry pen to dip in it... hopefully both the empathy and the distance will help you find some peace through the million indignities.

And I look forward to "The Parkinsons."

Too soon?

Viceroy Matt said...

Very sorry to hear this, Richard. Best of luck.

Paul Gilligan said...

Well, if laughter is the best medicine, Richard, you should have nothing to worry about. The chainsaw-juggling comment alone should be enough to beat this! Courageous to post about it. Warm thoughts, buddy. xo

Dale said...

Oh, fuck. I'm sorry.

Your work gives us so much delight, Richard.

Mervyn Peake, as I remember it, did a lot of his best work when it was amazing to people that he could still hold a pen, so don't go trying on that excuse for deadlines!

Chris Duffy said...

Best of luck--but needless to say, you will continue to kick ass on the comics page!

Neil said...

I wish you all the best of luck. I met you last year at the SPX Expo in Bethesda and it was great meeting you there. Folk here should see what Stephan Pastis recently wrote about you in his blog at http://stephanpastis.wordpress.com/2009/07/18/some-news-about-courage/#comments

I hope to continue reading your comic strips for many, many years to come.

Jesse Fuchs said...

You're the best living--not just working--strip cartoonist, and you'll be the best for a long, long time to come.

Fintan said...

Dear Richard,

Very sad to hear your news.I suffer from a chronic health illness myself..not fun on the bad days but through medication and looking after myself life is good.

I only discovered your work last year and it gave me the same excited thrill in the pit of my stomach that I got the first time I saw Ronald Searle's work as a kid.I immediately ordered your almanac and the first cul de sac book.Brilliant!

As a fellow cartoonist and pen and ink nut(Thanks for the steer on the leonardt ef principal by the way, great nib!)I wish you long life,health and many more years producing beautiful drawings.

Best wishes,

Fintan

Harold Buchholz said...

Richard, I'm so sorry to hear about this. I'm glad to hear it's treatable. For what it's worth, I'll be praying for you. You're an inspiration in your work more than you'll know... You were missed at Heroes Con. Hope to see you in San Diego if I can figure out how to use up gobs of frequent flyer miles at the last minute....

illtiki said...

Hey Richard,
We met at Heroescon last year (I gave you a copy of the Mr. Lune comi I did) and it was a sincere pleasure. My thoughts are definitely with you and your family. Take care.
peace,
Herc

Jason said...

Congrats on learning to juggle chainsaws.

Rob Harrell said...

Hey Richard. So sorry to hear you're having to deal with this. Please know that we're thinking about you and sending you happy, positive vibes.

Kelly Kilmer said...

My family and I are all thinking of you.
My son is sitting next to me now with his Cul de Sac book laughing as he reads the pages. He's counting down the days to seeing you at Comic Con! Safe travels.

Patrick said...

My best as well!

Miguel said...

I'm sorry to hear, especially from someone who brings such joy to my day.

Kirsten said...

Coming out of the woodwork to say, we throw mulch at Parkinson's!

I'm sorry to hear of your diagnosis. My very best wishes to you for good health and strength.

Joel said...

Hey Richard,

You are in our thoughts and prayers. We wish you the very best!.

Joel and Diana

rux said...

Sorry to hear this, Richard. Even with news like this you still manage to make me laugh--This is the first I've heard Parkinson's described with silly walks, and dropping chain saws.

Augusto said...

Ciao Richard, scusa se scrivo in italiano ma non sono molto bravo in inglese. La notizia che hai dato è veramente orribile, ma spero che tutto si risolva per il meglio. Non ti perdere d'animo, sappi che qui dall'altra parte dell'oceano sei molto apprezzato e ti auguro di continuare a produrre le tue bellissime strisce ancora per moltissimi anni. Un caro saluto dall'Italia.

Paul Giambarba said...

I guess I was sent this to translate so I'll give it a try, with a disclaimer up front that I am no longer fluent in the language of my grandparents.

Ciao, Richard, please pardon [me] if I write in Italian but i'm not very good with English. The news you've [posted] is truly awful, but I hope that all will be resolved for the best. Don't lose your spirit, know that in the other side of the ocean you are very much appreciated and I wish you to continue to produce your wonderful strips for many years. A [warm] dear hello from Italy.

James said...

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