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, April 23, 2013

The Lost Unintentional Adventures of Danders: Reconstructed

In May of 2007, Mr. Danders was launched in a toy truck, exited Blisshaven Preschool and disappeared into the Metro subway system. It would prove to be his last adventure; Cul de Sac went daily a few months later and Danders role in the syndicated strip was much diminished. For that reason and others it's driven me nuts that I can't find many of the originals. Some I lent to the Museum of Natural History, where they've disappeared, and others I've lost on my own. But I did keep drawers full of pencil sketches of the pre-syndication strips. They're one step removed from inking. I'd put these roughs under a piece of Arches 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper on a lightbox and ink it, hoping the looseness of the pencil line translated to the ink line.

So I dug around in the drawers of roughs and found those I'd used for the last of Mr. Danders' unintentional adventures. I hope to have a better version ready for inclusion in the Complete Cul de Sac, but here's what I've got so far-

 




This last one is scanned from an old copy of the Post Magazine, courtesy of Jennifer Hart.

The museum had a life-size model of a blue whale in their hall of undersea life that I loved when I was a kid (I thought it was real). When they redid the hall in the 90s, they gave the by-then decrepit blue whale to one of the contractors. Who put it, in pieces, in his garage. The information on the Smithsonian's blue whale model from the DC City Paper. I hope it's accurate. Also I hope Alice found a drinking fountain.

18 comments:

Philip Nel said...

Thank you! And I'm thrilled to learn that a Complete Cul de Sac is in the works.

Joyce said...

I just love bucket-headed Kevin being "pointlessly argumentative."

Kristine said...

Thank you so much for this story!

Brian Fies said...

Wait a moment, the Museum of Natural History DID WHAT? Museums aren't supposed to lose things. It's pretty much their entire job description: "Keep track of cool stuff."

This is a big deal! A scandal! Make a fuss! I wonder how fast your originals would show up if word started getting around that patrons had better not loan artifacts to the MNH because they might not get them back. At the very least, there should be an insurance payout involved....

Tom Dougherty said...

You're flat out amazing, Richard. Good lord, how I love looking at your work.

Unknown said...

I love Mr. Danders. Thank you for this.

gilda92 said...

I agree with Ms.Mrs.Miss.Mr. Unknown who said, "I love Mr. Danders. Thank you for this." I wish he was on the faculty at my university!

gilda92 said...

Mr. Danders, that is. Not "Unknown"...although I guess that would be ok too.

infrar3d said...

I like the pencil roughs.

StrummerFan said...

Thank you for posting these!! Now we've at least read the whole story. Sorry to see that Mr. Danders was considered "An Evolutionary Dead End?" - he's quite obviously a highly advanced specimen!

I loved seeing your rough sketches, and I also wonder of the Post would have their magazines archived and send you the missing ones...

arcticcartoons said...

The Natural History Museum in London had a life-sized model of a blue whale that transfixed me as a kid. It still does - they didn't lose it/dismantle it/sell it on eBay, thank heavens.

Sonny Moon said...

I think Mr. Danders should be on display at the Smithsonian.

Amy said...

That was awesome; thank you for reconstructing the story for us! I love all of your Cul de Sac comic strips, but there's a special place in my heart for the Mr. Danders ones. :)

sdn said...

Danders is my favorite character. EVER.

richardcthompson said...

Phil- it's true! And the price on Amazon fluctuates mysteriously!

Joyce & Kristine- thanks!

Brian- the Metropolitan Mu of Art never returned a cartoon they used for a t-shirt, so now I claim it's in their permanent collection.

Tom, Unknown, Gilda92 & infra3d- thanks!

StrummerFan- it's in the works!

Arcticcartoons- better make sure they don't!

SonnyMoon- Naw, they' just lose him.

Amy & sdn- you'd get tired of him real fast if you were on a long car trip with him, I'll bet.

mike flugennock said...

You, too, huh? I first saw the blue whale on a field trip in the third grade, I think it was, and thought it was wicked-assed cool, even cooler than the life-size mastodon they used to have -- in fact, the coolest thing the Smithsonian had until they got the Gemini 4 capsule around 1965 or so.

Chris said...

Richard - I just love the "behind the scenes" posts you make here. Seeing half-finished artwork and works in progress is a fascinating insight into the way you work. Do you have any other juicy tidbits that didn't make it to print or were preliminary sketches for things that did?

John Harris said...

I love how nuanced are the kids' views on the nature of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Why the heck do kids (and I for that matter) think dinosaurs are so cool?