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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

When I was a kid, we'd watch Guy Lombardo and at midnight, under the watchful eyes of my parents, we'd go outside, bang pot lids together and yell Happy New Year. And we still do, only without Guy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Rest

Here are the other 2,500 drawings I did for the Dave Barry piece. As you can see, I didn't exaggerate the work involved. My many thanks to the mighty J Porter, Art Director nonpareil, who somehow managed to shoehorn all these into a 30 page magazine and still leave room for the words.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Year In Review

The Wash Post Mag with Dave Barry's Year In Review comes out today. Here are some of the 5,000 drawings I did for it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Francis Pharcellus Church

I did this in 1997, on the 100th anniversary of the editorial. It's all true, though I might've exaggerated the moustache.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stay Tooned

This was for Mr. John Read, who edits & publishes Stay Tooned, with the combined energy, charm & talent of ten men. Plus two!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Today's Cul de Sac

This is the original version of today's Sunday strip. It ran in the Post Magazine two years ago. What I like is the tree vender, who's pretty much a funeral director, if not an outright mortician. Weirdly enough, yesterday's Lio plays around with a Frankenstein tree too, only differently I'd sure like to arrange a playdate with Mark Tatulli's kids.

Christmas Fun

The fun in doing this was turning off my mind and doing 90 billion little scratchy lines in a zen state. I wish all drawings could be done like that. Or better yet, while fast asleep.

Friday, December 19, 2008

-Another Crummy Commercial-

If you clicked on the link to the Cartoon Bank below, then threw up your hands in dismay at the very-reasonable-yet-maybe-a-little-steep prices, try the Click Here to Buy link below the Obamables button to your right>. That opens a Cafe Press page full of every kind of tchotchke with the Obama print on it that you could need. And stop throwing up your hands in dismay; people only do that in comic strips.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Prints now available at the Cartoon Bank! Right here

Did you know that the Cartoon Bank is the safest place for your money in these rough economic times? You don't see them lining up for a government bailout, no sirree bob! Not yet.

Christmas Rerun

I think I posted this last year, but not formatted correctly. It's drawn from life, at least as far as the subject matter, and it's kinda pretty.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa Advisory, Again

Here's yesterday's Almanack, which is a sorta retread of one from last year, which is below. Only of course, the new one is much, much better, as I've improved immeasurably since last year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Where I Wish I'd Been

You may recall the Totoro Forest Project mentioned here previously. I got an email from the live-wire fire-balls who ran the auction, saying they'd presented $185,221 toward the purchase of two sections of land to the Totoro Forest Foundation in Japan. And they sent photos. Here are a few of them. Please allow your mind to take a little walk in them.

Ah, that felt good.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Where I've Been

I spent the last week doing 5,000 drawings for a Post Magazine Year in Review special issue. I subsequently came down with some kind of deadline poisoning. So that's where I've been. Some lucky people got to go see an R. Crumb show in Philly, and eat cheesesteaks. , see? But not me, I've still got deadline poisoning.

Shown: a sketch and final for the Post Mag, one image of 5,000.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December Linus

Yikes! Nobody ever tells me anything. How'd this happen?

The Universal Press Blog

Kathie Kerr, the hard-working director of communications at my syndicate, Universal Press, sent me an actual press release this morning. Since I've got my hands full and nothing worth saying, I'll post it for your entertainment.

Inside the doors of Universal Press Syndicate are a lot of smart people, but they’re busy, so the rest of us have started a blog on the inside workings of a syndicate. While that might sound as exciting as a digestive disorder, the blog may be of some actual value to cartoonists looking for tips on how to become syndicated and for die-hard comic fans who want behind-the-scene glimpses of today’s comics. Go to and the next sound you hear will be that of an UPS editor giving you the uncensored truth about comics and the syndicate, while giving thanks for his/her job.

There ya go! When you go to the blog, scroll down to the short film "Thanksgiving Disaster" by W.T.Duck creator Aaron Johnson; jeez, it's good.

  Above is a picture of UPS's new headquarters, the Bolley Building in Kansas City. It no longer has the word Bolley's in electric lights on top, but there is a mural on the ground floor with lots of cartoon characters cavorting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2005, or, I Cover the White House Part 3

Finally someone official showed up to escort the press over to the OEB for the Pardon and we all filed outside again, into the sunshine, wind and cold. And we stood in the driveway and waited some more, so I drew a little bit of the OEB.

Then the all-clear was sounded and our minder led us down the drive and into the loading dock entrance to the OEB. As we squeezed in between the trucks parked there one of the reporters called out "This way you scum! The front door's too good for the likes of you!" and everybody snickered, even me, who was better dressed and unused to such rough treatment. We were led down an endless series of high-ceiling hallways to a bank of elevators with, if I remember correctly, actual uniformed elevator operators. Eventually we made it to the third floor, down another back hall, and into a medium-sized auditorium. This was filled at the back by dozens of cameras and lights hung everywhere. Just as we were filing in, a mass of grade-school children were also entering and I got swept up with them and suddenly found myself sitting in their midst, about 6 rows back. It took me a moment to realize I was in the wrong place, as the rest of the press was all lined up in the back and on the sides, but I was too well dressed to be mistaken for an actual reporter. So I scrunched down and pulled out my sketchbook, and became invisible again.

In front of me was a stage with a door on the left of the back wall, a podium with the presidential seal, some flags and a table covered with handsome blue cloth at about center stage. Busy people kept coming and going onstage, all of them talking into cellphones and peering into the bright lights. Behind me, members of the working press were aiming their cameras and talking into celphones. The kids around me were all shuffling off their coats and chatting and bouncing in their seats. Talking to those around me, I found out they were all from Clarksville Elementary School, and they'd been invited to the ceremony after their school raised more than $17,000 for the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief. They were all pretty excited by the show biz dazzle of the executive branch in full photo op mode.

Pretty soon they got restless and started wondering when something was going to happen and where was the president, anyway? Their teachers, all sitting on the aisle, were telling them to settle down, he'd be out soon, and I told the kids near me to watch the people on stage because it looked like something was about to happen. I don't remember who showed up first, the president or the turkey. But I do remember that just before either of them arrived a few last people with cellphones carefully straightened the rug onstage. Then the door at the back of the stage was opened and President Bush, a turkey, and several turkey wranglers stepped onstage and everyone's attention and camera was focused on them. The turkey wranglers were from the National Turkey Federation, and they carried a large white tom, whose name was Marshmallow, to the table, and he sat there looking unfazed. Bush went to the podium to make his remarks and grant the pardon.

I noticed that Dick Cheney was also onstage, standing in back. He was pink-faced and avuncular and had that little half-smile going on, looking not at all like a war profiteer. I pointed him out to the kids near me.

But they were enchanted by the turkey and kept sitting up higher in their seats to get a better look.

President Bush began his remarks by noting how seriously he took this pardon, and how it confered a measure of responsibility on the two birds. Previously the spared turkeys had been sent to Frying Pan Park, but this year Marshmallow and his back up, Yam, who was in a truck on the South Lawn, would be sent to Disneyland to be the Grand Marshalls in their Thanksgiving Parade. All the kids said Ooooh. Then Bush thanked everyone for being there; the turkey people, and the kids from Clarksville. All the kids cheered. I noticed that Mrs. Bush had stepped into the auditorium by a side door and I pointed out to the kids near me. One asked, what's her name? And all I could think of was Wally (see part 1). I knew that was wrong and I didn't say Wally because I thought that hard-nosed cop might somehow hear and come and haul me away.

When Bush finished everybody applauded and he invited the kids up to meet Marshmallow. I thought about going, but I didn't; my journalistic ethics precluded me from gladhanding the Nation's Turkey. Then it was over, the P and VP exited with a mass of people on cellphones, and the press was ushered out into the back hall. One thing I noticed as we left was the handsome blue cloth covered table was covered in turkey poop, and so was about half the neatly arranged rug. This time the press walked down the stairs and on the way down I chatted with another reporter, a guy in a suit, tie and overcoat like mine. He was from a suburban Virginia paper and he'd never had this kind of glamour assignment either, and consequently overdressed too.

On the walk back to the Post I wrote the cartoon in my head, more or less. When I got there I drew it in about 4 or 5 hours (working away from my studio always takes a psychic adjustment as I'm easily distracted). This what I drew.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cheap Holiday Repeat, Part 2

Another in a series of reruns from last year's blog. This originally ran, in slightly different form, in the Washington Post Magazine. With an illustration by Gene Weingarten.

Sixteen years ago last week, my wife, Amy, and I were about to celebrate our first Thanksgiving as a married couple. We were going to serve a large feast on our new plates on our new table in our newly rented home for as many of our extended family as could make it. The night before Thanksgiving we went to a bar with friends and we had a most festive and enjoyable time, I personally enjoying it more than anyone else. When we got home, in hopes of coninuing my festively enjoyable time, I started dancing around like Fred Astaire would if Fred Astaire danced in his socks.

Our house was old and strangely shaped and it was heated by radiators, big iron monsters, all coils and ribs and flanges. The kind of fixture that would give sensitive children nightmares. I, as Fred Astaire would not, executed a kick that planted my foot squarely into the radiator in the hall, good and hard.

Amy, seeing me suddenly rolling around on the floor, thought I was still enjoying myself, until I pulled my sock off. One toe was bent completely back, and since it was the middle one, it looked like my foot was giving me the toe, if you know what I mean. It was indescrabably funny, in a silent-film-comedy-trauma way. And it hurt like "the dickens". The dickens is when the entire output of Charles Dickens-all 15 hardbound novels, plus journalism, letters and ephemera-is simultaneously dropped from a height and hits you.

The folks at the emergency room were extremely helpful and didn't laugh and didn't yell at me when I did some doughnuts with the wheelchair and knocked over the IV stand. But the nurse on duty did tell me an awful story about when he was in the Navy and won a $300 bet that he couldn't pull all the hairs off the top of his foot with tweezers without screaming. And they gave me some Tylenol 3, the kind with codeine, the kind that comes with the warning that not everybody reacts well to codeine.

So that is how I ended up at the head of our table the next day, Thanksgiving Day, with my mangled foot elevated on another chair, presiding over our first Thanksgiving feast. And that is when, not ten minutes into the meal, I fould out I was one of the people who react badly to codeine. And it was Amy who quickly handed me a bowl, the fancy one that matched our new plates and was fortunately empty, for me to react badly in.

It's been 16 years. The toe's still there, of course, though it's still bent a little funny. The house is gone, or at least so renovated it's unrecognizable, and good riddance; it was an astestos-clad eyesore and a menace.

Somehow, subsequent family holidays have never quite matched that First Thanksgiving for intensity of emotion; not the Christmas of the Flaming Oven Mitt, or the Other Thanksgiving When the Fireplace Blew Up, or that Day or Two Before Easter When We Had to Evacuate Because of a Carbon Monoxide Leak That Almost Killed Everybody.

The only downside is that, ever since I broke my toe that night, I've been forced to draw with my hands.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cheap Holiday Repeat

Since I'm scrambling to finish stuff up so we can flee to Ohio, I'm reposting a coupla things from last year, starting with this. Pretend like you never saw it before.

This is all true, I swear, every word of it. Kids, if you've got a report on Thanksgiving to write, please use this as a source! Then let me know how you did on it, and how the parent-teacher conference went.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving 2005, or, I Cover the White House Part 2

So, feeling over-dressed, I opened the door and stepped into the White House Press Room. I think that's what it's called; it's the place you always see on TV with the podium, the blue curtain, and the blue oval White House sign with the Press Secretary talking in front of it, and all the reporters in front of him. And jeez, what a dump. I've heard it's been cleaned up, but it was like stepping onto a bus full of junior high kids on a long trip, with crap (cameras mostly) piled everywhere and people sprawled all over the place. It was at least half an hour before we'd be led over to the OEB for the Pardoning, and this was a novelty event, not exactly newsworthy, so there weren't any particular big names in journalism to be found. I'd guess they were mostly wire guys, network and cable guys, and some foreign press and most of them were cameramen. I sat down and became invisible, and pulled out a little dinky sketchbook I'd brought along.

I don't sketch much in public and although I've got like a dozen little Moleskin sketchbooks they're mostly full of phone numbers and lists of things. But I figured, here I am being a cartoon journalist, like Steve Brodner or Feliks Topolski, and I'd better for godsake draw something. So I drew the guy sitting in front of me, who had his feet propped up and a newspaper open. On the newspaper page was a photo of a green lizard with a bright pink tongue. 

Presently an attractive blonde woman came out from backstage and began answering questions to an invisible audience. It was Dana Perino doing an interview with no one I could see, but she smiled and gestured and repeated certain lines often enough I understood them to be talking points. I think the questions had to do with the Iraq war, because most of the answers did. Nobody corporeal paid any attention to her. She finished, smiled and left.

There were a few big happy guys laden with cameras on my right, leaning on the wall between the arched windows and laughing about something.

I sat there long enough that I drew them twice.

The combination of tedium and tension was slightly nerve-wracking, and the thought of the two turkeys pent up in a pickup truck somewhere on the White House grounds awaiting their fate (what if the Pardon doesn't come through?) made me kind of hungry.

More TK.