The blog of Richard Thompson, caricaturist, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today's Cul de Sac, August 11 2010

The first consideration with introducing a new character like Andre is figuring out how he's going to integrate into the established social milieu. No it's not! The first consideration is figuring out if Alice will like him or not. From the first indications Alice and Andre may get along Okay.

For most of my characters I've got a vague backstory in mind. For example, Beni has an older sister and a baby sister, Nara has a much older brother, Marcus is an only child, Kevin I'm not sure of yet, Dill has too many brothers. Andre I'm guessing is in the middle of a lot of sisters, maybe six. So, there, that means he can deal with Alice just fine, and it probably explains his noisiness too. But since it's only a vague backstory and I haven't mentioned it, I could change it at whim if it no longer fits in with a gag I've thought up. And I'm not likely to mention all these other characters because I don't want the strip to get too cluttered up with stray people, nor do I want to learn how to draw them.

Which still leaves the problem of Sofie. I'm not sure who she is yet and I'm not real sure I want to find out. Small children for whom so much is novel are always meeting strange new people and sometimes, inexplicably, that strange new person doesn't like them, so maybe that's the limit of Sofie's contribution. And no one noticed that her name was spelled "Sophie" the first time out so I'd better not mention that either.


Andy Jukes said...

I've been a fan of the comic and the blog for a couple of years, so I'm thrilled by your idea to give us a little backstory for each strip.

Mike said...

I'm enjoying this, but trust you will stop if you feel you are getting to the point where the little man behind the curtain is overwhelming the giant glowing head on the throne. Your promise to abandon a given backstory if it doesn't fit a gag is a good indicator that you're also aware of the issue, however.

Rooty Toot Toot said...

Oh seriously, Mike, giving RT an out like that. For shame. Pay no attention to this man, Cartoonist! Dance for our amusement! Dance!

Sam said...

It makes me really happy to have discovered this blog. I really believe that Cul De Sac is one of those BIg, Important Landmark comics that people will be poring over for years to come, and now I get to read daily commentary on the creative process! Thank you so much for drawing the comics that keep me drawing comics. Best, Sam

habamom said...

Just so you know, I did notice the Sophie/Sofie spelling change. But who cares!

I like Andre's backstory. It's kind of fun that Kevin doesn't have a backstory yet. Can we have a contest?

Kevin reminds me a little of my ernest oldest son. Kevin could have two younger brothers, possibly 2-year-old twin brothers, who make his mama so overwhelmed that she alternately expects too much of Kevin and isn't able to give him the help and training he needs to even be able to accomplish his own tasks. The father, an introvert, works 45-50 hours a week at a technical job where people, thankfully, rarely speak to one another.

Emi said...

I noticed the change, but I think I liked her better as Hawuba.

richardcthompson said...

first, thanks to all for the kind comments on the strip and the blog. I truly appreciate them, and you for reading all this nonsense. I'm often shocked when someone points out something I hadn't noticed or forgotten about the strip.

Second, the commentary I've posted so far might not make it clear, but the strips that work best are the ones that're improvised using pretty well-understood materials. They're open-ended and capable of mutating easily enough that no preconceived theory or template gets underfoot.

In other words, I'm making it up as I go along and all this is 20-20 hindsight. And, as anybody who read that CdS Treasury can attest, most of the commentary goes flying off-topic pretty quickly.

The Birthday Princess said...

And here I have been thinking Sofie was just going to work with her mom for the summer until Miss Bliss gets her day care provider back when regular school starts.