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

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Today's Cul de Sac

This blog has gotten a little moldy and stale, so to perk it up some I'm going to start a new feature that'll
run daily, or until I get distracted by deadlines, my insane social life, or a passing dust mote. The deal is, I'll post the day's strip and offer some kind of commentary or apology or justification. I could make it simpler and just say "I was on a deadline, okay?" every single time, but that's the lazy way out, so we'll consider that as understood.

Ernesto Lacuna, the maybe-imaginary child, is one of my favorite characters to write for. He's something of a Bond villain in embryo, as is evident from his remark about the extinct volcano, and he's enigmatic enough that I can write dialog that doesn't always make sense as long as it's vaguely threatening.

But Ernesto's also unimpressive enough that he's hard to take seriously. He's based on several kids I knew who wanted to grow up in a hurry under the mistaken impression that adults have all the power. Ernesto belongs to a group called Future Adults of America whose purpose is to gradually take over the world so that they'll be running it by the time they're in their forties, and he keeps trying to get Petey to attend FAA meetings. Which, from Ernesto's description, is mostly an excuse to issue position papers and to eat doughnuts. Disliking organized activities and food with holes in it, Petey has declined so far. Maybe he should go sometime, as it'd be fun to draw. This is the kind of idea I love, as I can revisit it, explore it further and get a lot out of it. And nothing's better than that when you're dealing with a daily strip.


richardcthompson said...

For example, I just read this post and thought of a sequence where Ernesto tries to force Petey to wear a jumpsuit and be a minion.

Tod said...

Brilliant stuff. This is the first time I looked forward to reading the comics since Calvin and Hobbes ended. Except, my newspaper doesn't carry it. Yet.

Andy said...


*shudders in horror*

James Figueiredo said...

I'm completely in love with Ernesto Lacuna. I hope he does get his extinct volcano secret lair when he grows up!


Chuck Kramer said...

I love Ernesto (in a cautious, looking-over-my-shoulder sort of way), but I really love your newest characters, Andre and Loris, too!

Chuck Kramer said...

I love Ernesto (in a cautious, looking-over-my-shoulder sort of way), but I really love your newest characters, Andre and Loris, too!

BrianCrook said...

Perhaps I shouldn’t feel this way, but I begin to identify with Ernesto. I, too, used to spend summer vacation in the library, and I envisioned a life of solitude on Mars–not on an extinct volcano, so I was less practical than our bespectacled antagonist, whose suggestion for the camp’s name was a good one.

Of course, I, like Bill Watterson, identify with Petey as well, which may make sense, as Ernesto may be Petey’s creation.

May I dissent from the jumpsuit idea, Mr. Thompson? Perhaps Ernesto would solicit Petey as a minion and encourage him to dress just like Erensto but with Petey's addition of the cape and the dehorned Viking helmet?

Does Ernesto's last name signal his preference for foods with holes?

the cheese guy said...

Hey maybe the family can go to cheese camp. Oh I like Ernesto. I think he is real.

Rooty Toot Toot said...

Ernesto's mocking-not-mocking face in panel 4 is priceless. And if we're voting, he's definitely imaginary. Definitely.

Richard Fay said...

Ernesto seems real to me, because there are no creative devices to show that he is not. This is probably due to your indecision at this point. Personally, I think, why not make him real. He would be all the more menacing that way, plus the other characters could also interact with him. (My two cents).