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, April 30, 2014

Exciting New Post Aims to Gin Up Book Sales

With less than a week till the exciting official release date of the Complete Cul de Sac (May 6, 2014) it's time to start creating a big fuss in hopes that you, the credulous comics reader, will be caught unawares and part with $50-plus. Toward that end, I've been trying to cook up some unnecessary yet attractive extra material to offer you, the jaded consumer.  Oh boy!  I'm excited already, how about you?

THE MAP OF CUL DE SAC AND ADJACENT PLACES POSTER - The initial offering from the Cul de Sac Collection is this mostly-accurate map of almost everything mentioned in the comic strip, rendered with loving precision. You'll be lost without it! Collectors pay as much as $25 million for the original painting,* but you can have a printed poster of the same image for only pennies! $13.50, to be exact. You may notice a certain discrepancy, attitude-wise, in the image offered at the site. It may even appear sideways. This is easily remedied by rotating the whole thing clockwise. Rotating it counter-clockwise will result in an image that is upside down. This would be wholly unacceptable. Therefore, we've prepared a small pamphlet, profusely illustrated, entitled, "Turning My Cul de Sac and Adjacent Places Poster Around; How Can I  Do This?" The pamphlet, which comes with an Introduction by the Rev. Edwin Howland Blashfield on  the "Moral Sense: Do Cats Have It?" with a picture essay on Parisian Hootchie Girls, for only $13.50. Sorry, no sales to minors or the mentally unstable.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Your Questions Answered!

That nice Alex Dueben made me spill the beans at Comic Book Resources.

And Chris Sparks reports that the Complete CdS is climbing in Amazon sales:

Product Details

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chimera Obscura

Our old friend we've never met, Gil Roth, talks to that nice Caitlin Mcgurk on his always-interesting Virtual Memories podcast. Caitlin gives us a new nickname, which we'll never live up to, or down. It's  here.

The First Review

Is in, and it looks like, yes, it could be, Yes! He likes it! A definite rave by friend of the strip, Professor Charles Solomon! He says it here. Of course, he said it before, but hey, thanks, Chuck!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mysterious Book Sighted

What is this?

I'm not sure, but it's currently out-selling the Complete Cul de Sac on Amazon.

Columbus, Ohio

I had a great time last week at the Billy Ireland Library thanks to Caitlin Mcgurk, Jenny Robb, Bill Watterson and all the nice people who came to the opening. I'm still breathing rarified air, or possibly helium

And hey, the bookstore has advance copies of the Complete Cul de Sac! Sshhh!

Photo by Jack Thompson

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Columbus, Friday night


The somewhat sinister pair of hands in the above photo belong to Caitlin Mcgurk,  Engagement Coordinator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & amp; Museum at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She will be our co-hostess this weekend for a show of cartoons by Bill Watterson and me. In the photo you can see the tasteful pale-green chosen as a wall color by Caitlin. Much better than the Drunk Tank Pink I'd chosen.

Caitlin came down to my studio a few months ago when I was hors de combat and selected a bunch of drawings for the show (so that's where all that stuff went.) She left behind only a note complaining about the filthiness of the art and a pair of used white gloves.

I hope you will join us to welcome in this spring season, look at some drawings and have some cheap wine this coming friday at six at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Decade + of Otterloops

I almost missed  an anniversary of major importance, and you did too I'll bet.

Cul de Sac debuted on February 8, 2004.   Consider that ten years ago: it was only forty years since the Beatles invaded the US; to mankind's great loss, Facebook was launched; my daughter Charlotte spent the time stretching string around the furniture to make jumps then ran around like a horsie and jumping them.

It kinda makes you stop and think, huh?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Complete Cul de Sac is coming soon.

Bono Mitchell took a couple of photographs recently as cartoonists gathered to see Richard and his preview copy of the Complete Cul de Sac. Richard is now able to use a walker and go the length of the PT room twice before returning to the wheelchair. He's eating well, and enjoys a good burger.

You can pre-order The Complete Cul de Sac online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble now. It has an introduction by Art Spiegelman.

-Mike Rhode
Left to right - Mike Rhode, Michael Cavna, Richard Thompson, Donna Lewis and Nick Galifianakis.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays to all

Team Cul de Sac member Mike Rhode stepping in for Richard here -

I saw Richard in rehab last night, and he wants to wish all his family and friends a happy holiday season and also specifically requested this picture be posted. May all your wishes come true. Except for the mean ones.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Music, a dilettante's love story

Music is weird. I mean that literally; I think its effect on the brain is potent stuff, not easily measured. The neurologist Oliver  Sachs  wrote a book on it  called Musicophilia. Nowadays I can't listen to it with the intensity I used to; it's like drawing in that respect.

When he was about 11 my brother got a piano. He wanted to take lessons and he did for 6 years or so. And having a piano handy I started fooling with it. I had a friend who could play the German National anthem (Deutschland uber alles, from a string quartet by Haydn, then set to Gott erhalte Franz denn Kaiser) ( sorry). We had a children's encyclopedia set my mom bought in like 1960 and it had a chart with piano keys, notes of the scale and their names with dotted lines to each. So I figured out a C major chord. Pianos are just sitting there all tuned with every note visible  and they're easy enough to figure once the basic logic of notation's clear, and there're books for that. I didn't want lessons, I wanted a satisfying project, and I had the time to waste on it.

I was at Montgomery College then and the library had music books, opera vocal scores for piano in particular, and I got Wagner's Meistersinger and figured out the first page. It's great, real pompous and soaring, just what an 18 year old geek wants. It was an education in not just culture but history, but I just wanted to know how it worked. And keeping the radio on all the time just made it worse. It was sensory overload almost. I think I've mentioned that I've always found the point when you realize hey, I like this! you know, the aha! moment really interesting. I rememober getting interested in monster movies was precipitated by buying a poster of Bela Lugosi spreading his cape, and my wife got into Chinese culture big time after seeing a Jackie Chan movie.

It hit me how much I liked music after seeing a film in German class that featured Beethoven's fifth. And I wondered how it worked. For instance, how did I know a symphonic movement was coming to an end? There were these gears  shifting way down in the orchestra so you'd feel this change in velocity. That was the Coda, the tail of the piece. Brahms often overworked his, stuffing like 5 key changes into a few bars.

Anyway I got to the point where I could play the middle movement of Beethoven's Pathetique sonata, about ten rags by Scott Joplin and lots of chunks of things. On a good day I could manage the end of Wagner's Die Walkure (the magic fire music, it'll tear your head off) and several pieces by Ravel and Brahms. But I didn't have the patience to learn basics, scales and such. And then I got married and there wasn't a piano (my brother had quit his lessons after several years from the, ahem, spinster who covered her living room furniture with plastic to protect it from children. He offered his piano but that seemed wrong).

But in about 2005 I finally bought a piano, a  Charles Walter studio model, my dream piano, and started again. I decided lessons were necessary, which was brave I guess because I'm scared to death to perform publicly and I knew it would entail a recital. I took my first lesson the day before I first met Lee Salem, strangely enough, from Grace Chang, a delightful,, funny but no nonsense teacher recommended by friends. She had me sight-read a Brahms intermezzo, one of his (somewhat) easier ones except for a bit that has 2 against 3 crossrythms (dense). She was impressed and said my trills were good.. I knew I'd get along with her when we both liked a bit from Brahms' first piano trio; in the first movement; on the first page, the piano, playing in B flat, dips down unexpectedly to a chord with a bass in low E major, the polar opposite. When played right it's quietly seismic. Within two years I played in 2 recitals, once four hands with my daughter Charlotte who also took lessons and once with Grace.  

Then I started on the strip and didn't have time. I also realized most music was really beyond me (I still harbored delusions of playing the Meistersinger prelude). I was always a sucker for transcriptions; orchestral pieces arranged for piano and, thanks mostly to the internet, I had hundreds of pieces I loved,  all for piano, at my fingertips, if they could handle it. My piano tuner, a funny man,   said most self-taught pianists have eyes bigger than their stomachs and I knew what he meant.

Then it got harder. I couldn't wrap my head or my fingers around it like before. When we moved I donated the piano to Arena Stage, where my brother works . It was time to let that obsession go.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Whole Thing 2

Annotated, copyedited, collated, and now covered. The only thing left to be done is the printing and gluing it or sewing or whatever they do to make it hold together And, of course, buying it.

It'll be available in Spring 2014 in conjunction with a two-man show of original cartoons at Ohio State's fabulous new $10 trilllion cartoon library. Bill Watterson will be the other man. Maybe he'll have a complete book of cartoons too! And I'll bet his'll be heavier!

Here are all the covers, to the books and the box.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Whole Thing

Here's a link to the whole entire Cul de Sac panel at Comicon. It's very nice. For maximum effect wait out in your hall for an hour before you watch it and abstain from bathing for a few days. My sincere thanks to all who participated.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sparks Rules Comicon

Eminent humanitarian Chris Sparks was recognized for his good works at last night's Eisner Awards banquet, a highlight of San Diego Comicon. Today, the indefatigable Sparks leads this-

I'm lucky in my friendships.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


On Saturday we're moving seven blocks south to a more accessible house. The new place is a single-level "Craftsman ranchette" with no basement. With no stairs at all except for a folding ladder thing that goes to the attic. It's pretty adorable overall. The interior was completely redone fairly recently and the kitchen features a wine bar, a large island and I forget what else as I've only been inside once.

Right now we're packing like madmen. We've shed as many things a possible. Books, CDs, clothes, furniture, the piano, pretty much everything, was piteously weighed by intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic (surprisingly, the cats made the cut). We gotta fit into this place somehow.

So if you've got my address please e advised it'll be obsolete as of the 6th of July, Anno Domini 2013. Email if you need the new one; thankfully our phone number remains the same. And if you're not busy on Saturday...

Sunday, June 30, 2013


I had to draw this in early 2001 for The Washingtonian, D.C's Ten-Best-Places-to-Eat type magazine that works hard at making the city seem glamorous, or at least like it has a definable personality. I've never liked doing multiple caricatures. First, because getting all the faces to come out equally-caricatured is hard and second, because I'm lazy (which we've already established). I'm in awe of those who draw crowd caricatures regularly like Tom Richmond.

This came out okay, I guess. I'm not sure if we had a computer then, so my reference was limited. I do remember having trouble finding good pictures of the Senate chambers. I was given various facts about each woman, such as Patty Murray being "a prototypical do-gooder in tennis shoes." Blanche Lincoln had just had twins so I worked them in (years later my older daughter went to high school with them but didn't know about their mom). Barbara Mikulski's sister, a dead-ringer for Barbara, lived down the street from my folks for years. Barbara is by far the most successful caricature.

These days the Senate has 20 woman senators. I think about drawing 20 caricatures and I'm suddenly glad to be out of the business.