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, September 1, 2009

The Iceman Cometh

This is for Amy, who said the Welcome sign made her laugh (and was probably too small to see in the paper).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crowd Scene

Here's the middle panel of today's CdS. Because if I'm going to draw 500 berzerk toddlers I'm going to show it full-sized.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rubber Room

Here's an illustration I did for this week's New Yorker. The story's about the Rubber Rooms that the New York school department uses to stash teachers with various complaints against them, where they can stay for months or years, even till retirement. Some of the complaints lodged against them can be fairly mundane, usually involving negligence, but a few were pretty lurid. Like one who was falling down drunk in the classroom.

So this was the first rough I did, which was rejected as being too extreme. Understandably, as it's a little extreme, you know?

Here's the final from the second sketch. I cleaned it up some and photoshopped out some clutter on the desk, The size changed on the page, so they cropped it on top, mimicking the watercolor edge and lowering the word "today". Et voila, an illustration is born. Or made.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2010 Already?

Look what's available at Amazon! Tear the page off each day and store it carefully in a helium-filled tank, for a lifetime of memories!
The extra content on back of each page includes riddles, puzzles, inspiring quotes, daily facts, useful tips for all professions, your lucky numbers, first lessons in Italian, directions for constructing your own trebuchet, addresses & phone numbers of celebrities, the full text of Proust's A Remembrance of Things Past, funnier cartoons by better cartoonists and Messages from the Future supplied by John Glynn. And it's also being offered as a six-page-a-day calendar for those of you with busy lives, or who just like to waste paper.

Click on the image below for a bonus wallpaper version. 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Remembering Elvis

This continues a tradition of running this on the anniversary of his passing, though I usually forget to.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Today's Mail

The FedEx Man brought me early copies of Children At Play, courtesy of Andrews & McMeel Graphic Goddess Caty Neis. Ooh, I hope the jokes are good, 'cause I've forgotten most of them. Review to come.

The image below was scanned off the original painting for the cover. I kinda had in mind that it should look like a parody of the million or so Little Golden Books that floated around my house when I was a kid till all the pages fell out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tom's Greatest Dance

It's now Rankopediaed as the Best Comic Strip Ever. Here's why Tom the Dancing Bug so richly merits this vital yet meaningless distinction.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Pool

This ran in the Post Magazine two years ago and I meant to post it during the week of pool strips (which were, of course, reruns). It's a portrait of every suburban pool I ever frequented, or even (briefly) worked at.

Today's Poor Almanack

This is the first one I've done in about a month. I might be a little out of practice.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


While I wait for my memories of San Diego to return, here's a job I did for my friend Bono Mitchell, the Graphic Goddess. When watercolor works, it's the most satisfying medium there is (when it doesn't it's an invitation to homicide). For the ground I used one of my favorite mixes- Daniel Smith Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Grumbacher Terre Verte. The quinacridone is transparent and staining and the terre verte is opaque and sedimentary so you get lots of happy accidents while they fight it out on the paper.

As a bonus, here's a previous cover. To view the full series see this post.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Big Fancy San Diego Comic Con Report

It was all a happy blur. It might've helped if I'd taken the time to wipe my glasses off, but that would probably have destroyed the mystery, and when you're confronted with 125.000 people, the majority of whom are dressed as Wonder Woman, mystery is what you cling to.

More to come as my memory clears.

Today's Lio

The great Mark Tatulli tells me that the second child from the left in the bottom panel is me, and I believe it because I drew cars all the time when I was a kid. The only detail that he might've gotten wrong is the name; I was called Dickie for a long time. But I'm pretty thankful he didn't use Dickie, 'cause I don't want that getting out in public, no thank you.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Today's Pearls Before Swine

Leaves me speechless with delight. especially as how I can sue for millions and retire in comfort. Thanks, Stephan!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thank You

For all the enormously kind messages, comments & emails. I didn't mean to leave the preceding post up this long, and now I'm feeling all maudlin and insufferable, like I should be posing for a Parade Magazine cover on facing adversity. And who needs that? I won't bring all this up again unless I need a cheap excuse, like, "this cartoon would've been funnier but, ow, my Parkinson's."

I have to go to San Diego today for 5 days of sensory overload. If I can figure out how, I'll post something from there. We'll see. 

And I owe many of you emails, or worse, which are forthcoming. Meantime, if anybody's got any good jokes please leave them in the comments. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some News

When I started this blog two years ago with the kind urging of Mark Heath, I'd intended to pretty much stay out of it. Oh sure, I'd post work and whine about deadlines, and drivel on about pen nibs and other obsessions. But I wouldn't drag too much personal stuff into it, and I'd especially avoid photos of me (the post below and this one notwithstanding). 

That said, I'm going to bend my vague rule a bit, mostly because with this San Diego Funfest looming I feel obliged to go a little public. For the last year or so I've noticed a few odd symptoms; shakiness, hoarseness, silly walks, random clumsiness and the like. So the other day I went to see a neurologist and, after having me me jump through hoops, stand on my head and juggle chain saws, he said I've got Parkinson's. It's a pain in the fundament and it slows me down, but it hasn't really affected my drawing hand at all and it's treatable . And it could be a useful ploy in my ever-losing battle against deadlines.

That's my news and, as I said, I'm passing it along mostly because I'm gong to be more sociable in the next week. And if I drop the chain saw in the middle of a presentation I want you to know why.

Friday, July 10, 2009

San Diego Comic Con

I guess they're serious about this. Full schedule here. Who all's going?

Tom Spurgeon has 100 tips on how to withstand and even enjoy SDCC.

And on Saturday, there's this-

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Old Historical Painting

This is an old illustration illustrating what I forget. It was done with ink, colored pencil and alkyd paint applied with a wad of the spongy foam rubber stuff they put under wall to wall carpeting, which was my favorite way of working, till I got sick of the smell of the Krylon spray that I'd use to force it to dry. Watercolor, that's the stuff.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Upcoming Mystery Panel of Doom

Jeez, I hope he's OK.


I have the feeling I've done this cartoon before. But I couldn't find it so I drew it again in hopes nobody would notice.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Talking Out Loud at the Library

Here's where I'll be next Monday, and please come join me. Besides me yammering, there'll be a bake sale, balloon rides, a Dewey Decimation Librarian Smackdown and the annual Reference Desk Scavenger Hunt (details sketchy). I've already asked both of you who said you'd be there (Hi, Anita!) to bring bulky items of clothing to strew around on the seats to make them look more populated, and if the rest of you could do the same I'd really appreciate it.

There'll be a book signing to follow, courtesy of Barnes & Noble. If you have a recently checked out item from the library you'd like signed or otherwise defaced, please present it then.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

By Request

For Woodrowfan. Strangely enough, I'd just scanned this last week to send to the Funny Times, so posting it was easy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Coming in September

Here's the cover of the next one, courtesy of the very patient Graphic Goddess Caty Neis of Andrews & McMeel. Four feet eleven more inches of this stuff and you'll have a five foot shelf of Cul de Sac to impress your less literate friends.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Yesterday's Poor Almanack

Another one of those. The scrapple joke is in honor of Mr. Allan Janus's digestive system.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Video Funtime with Stephan Pastis and John Glynn

Stephan Pastis, who draws a great comic strip called Pearls Before Swine, visited my syndicate in Kansas City a few months back to shoot a video promo. Which doesn't make much sense as his syndicate is in New York City. To watch him harass John Glynn, who runs my entire syndicate single-handedly with the help of 200 other people, please go here.

Watch for Bill Amend's stomach-churningly violent cameo.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Goodbye, Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, the great kid's magazine put out to promote the network that also became a welcoming haven for cartoonists, is shutting down. I hope all the staff find good positions elsewhere quickly, especially Chris Duffy and Dave Roman, who art directed the comic section of Nick into such a treat for the eyeballs. Dang it all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Old Almanac

Old yet ever green. Something about Kim Jong Il just gets those cartoon juices flowing, probably the mixture of malignancy and preposterousness. Though it's been pointed out that he's looking a little worn out these days and the old coiffure is on the decline.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


My sincere congratulations to Lio for winning the comic strip division Reuben, with some help from Mark Tatulli. Who now owes me ten bucks.
And congratulations to all the other winners, like Mr. Dave Coverly, who won the big shiny ugly statue. I can only hope he has an appropriately ugly sofa to complement his Reuben.

The Reuben Weekend, Day 2

While other, lazier, cartoonists are lolling around an imaginary city, I'm using my time to work on the cover of the second Cul de Sac collection, a chunk of which is shown above. This kind of work ethic is one of the many benefits of being an anhedonic stick-in-the-mud.

My profound thanks to Jennifer Hart, Arlington, for her kind and thoughtful good luck cartoon-by-mail. It cleared up my anhedonia nicely.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Reuben Weekend

As you're no doubt aware, this weekend is the 63rd annual convention of the National Cartoonists Society, the highlight of which is the Reuben Awards on Saturday night. This year it's in Los Angeles, specifically in Hollywood, and, though I'm up for a comic strip division award, I'll be missing it this year because I know Los Angeles is imaginary. It's being held in the Los Angeles Renaissance Hotel, part of the Hollywood & Highland Center which is styled after the Babylon set from DW Griffiths' silent classic "Intolerance".

Yikes, what a spread, huh? The entire population of the middle tier is a squadron of dancing bellhops. Those of you with sharp eyes will note Stephan Pastis and Mark Tatulli on the upper balcony defacing a decorative elephant with tasteless cartoons, with John Glynn (in the hat) urging them on. It's all further proof that LA is imaginary.

Above is a photo of an actual Reuben Award, as designed by Rube Goldberg (it looks like it comes with a set of dinner plates, too). Originally it was to be a lamp, but it was converted into a trophy. Kind of a pity because it'd be a great lamp, especially if there was one on either side of a very ugly sofa. I'm not up for one of these, which is also a pity as I own a somewhat ugly sofa. The division awards come in plaque form, and I'm up against Mark Tatulli's Lio and Stephan Pastis' Pearls Before Swine. So really, I don't have a chance. But I do have a certificate.

My friend Mike Lynch, cartoonist extraordinaire and NCS national rep, sent me this. And you'll notice that the space provided for the division has been left blank, which leaves me free to invent my own. I'm thinking "Neatness" or "Choreography". To enter the comic strip divisional award, you're required to submit a dozen samples. Below are a few of the strips I sent. 

Though I'm missing the actual event, I intend to cover it extensively and to that end I'll be live blogging it, with constant updates here and on my Twitter feed (which I've barely touched otherwise). And on Facebook, too. I think I can bring a fresh and dispassionate perspective to this Reubens thing from 2,000 miles away.


Here's an exclusive first look at an upcoming Sunday strip, featuring a first-ever look at the back of Blisshaven Preschool. Please note the fully-appointed toy shed, as well as the blacktop, which is likely so covered in chalk that the original asphalt doesn't show through. Also visible is the entire student body attempting to escape, who knows why?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pop Pop Synchronicity

I'm pleased and proud that today's Cul de Sac is in pop pop lawnmower synchronicity with today's The Doozies, which is drawn by the redoubtable Tom Gammill. Such cosmic coincidences just confirm my faith in the million monkey approach to writing Shakespeare.

I don't think I had a pop pop lawnmower when I was a kid, but my brother did. Sensibly enough, he called it a bop bop wubong.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Special

Above is an Almanac from 9 or 10 years ago, and below is the one from yesterday. I don't want to point fingers, but it looks like somebody's cartoon skills are going a wee bit downhill.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Very Happy Cartoonist Day

You may be wondering, "How can I best celebrate this festive day?" You might consider:
  • Finding a cartoonist near you and mowing his lawn, at least the front lawn (especially the hard part with the hill).
  • While you're at it trim his shrubs, so the mailman can find his front door again.
  • Does his house need vacuuming? Well, what are you waiting for?
  • Who left all these dishes in the sink?
  • The cats; somebody feed the cats.
  • You could take him to lunch at the Mexican place down the street, where they're having some no doubt cartoonist-related celebration.
  • For God's sake laugh at his cartoons. If they appear in a newspaper, buy extra copies (or multiple subscriptions, even) and laugh at them too. 
Note: if the cartoonist near you is a lady, please substitute "her" for "his". The original of the cartoon reproduced above is in the collection of the fabulous Mr. Jef Mallett, so this is a scan of the Almanac book page. And it's the same one I ran last year, if it looks familiar.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

For Free Comic Book Day: Today's Poor Almanack, Plus Some Old Ones

Here's today's Poor Almanack. those below are from the last few years.

The Mangaloid Wars one still cracks me up. The rest less so.