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

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Best Review Ever

I used to buy Print Magazine in its more substantial iteration as an actual, you know, magazine, when it cost a week's salary and bristled with rate cards. It was one of a flock of "design" magazines, like Communication Arts & the slightly inscrutable Graphis that filled my shelves when I was a dewy-eyed illustrator.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

So imagine my surprise, in a spate of Google self-searches, to come across this;

I’d planned to include The Art of Richard Thompson on this list, but my Print colleague Steven Brower just beat me to it with an excellent write-up of his own. But luckily, I can substitute another new Thompson book from earlier this year: The Complete Cul de Sac, a two-volume paperback with an intro by Art Spiegelman.
For my money, when it comes to comics about kids with visual kicks, no cartoonist – not even fellow fan Bill Watterson – comes close to Thompson. Sure, Charles Schulz may have created the world’s most famous strip. But let’s be honest: design-wise, compared to Cul de SacPeanuts ain’t worth peanuts.
Listen: Schulz drew a tiny cast of simple, standardized characters on a shallow stage with practically no backdrop. Over and over and over. Every single day. For fifty frickin’ years. Aaugh! Thompson, on the other hand, has built on the lineage of such masters of the excitable pen cartoon form as George “Krazy Kat” Herriman, Ronald “St. Trinian’s” Searle, and Elwood “PushPin Studios” Smith.
Take your time to savor all five years of this hilariously clever, helpfully annotated collection. And after that, you can still look forward to the 2004 Richard’s Poor Almanac: 12 Months of Misinformation in Handy Cartoon Form.
(Excuse the sudden shift in fonts; I don't know how to fix it). This was signed Michael Dooley and titled "7 Outstanding Cartoon Books for 2014". He was further identified as-
the creative director of Michael Dooley Design and teaches Design History at Art Center College of Design and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is also a Print contributing editor  and writes on art and design for a variety of publications. 
So he had gravitas, or at least a paying job (what is wrong with the fonts?), and we were even Facebook friends, always a good sign.

3 comments:

David C. said...

I'm sorry, but I couldn't read this - the sudden shift in fonts made me loopy...urk...

H.V.Lukas said...

I received “The Art of Richard Thompson” as a Christmas present (it was very high on my list of things Santa needed to put in my Christmas stocking), and I’ve been lapping it up ever since. Gorgeous drawings from forever ago and indeed the pretty recent past. I have no doubt it’ll be in the library of many future cartoonists (well, it ought to be anyway). Surprisingly though (to me), is it that the interviews/conversations were as interesting and funny as they were. I don’t doubt that like Cul De Sac, this is one I can re-read many, many times.

Most striking is it that Richard Thompson is a really funny and entertaining guy, even if the only weapons he has are the words on the pages, as I’ve also seen countless times on this blog. Not “funny” in the “I’mma gonna stand up on a stage”-funny, but in the sort of “slowly-revealing-the-absurdity-of-everyday-things”-sort of way. I’m a hack at words, and what I wrote doesn’t sound at all like the compliment I wanted to write.

I hope Thompson one day embraces short stories or any other written media, because there seems to just be so much humor in him that wants to get out. (Yeah, I know, I’m needy and demanding).
Oh, and I truly hope even casual readers who doesn’t necessarily care about the technical side of comics pick up “The Art of Richard Thompson”, because there really is a lot to love in it.

-Henrik

richardcthompson said...

Thanks, Henrik.