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, December 30, 2014

Next


The next Gala Launch Party is scheduled for 7:00, January 9, 2015, at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. Washington, D.C. We'll have folklife exhibitions, tests of balance,  methods of reusing old newsprint,  amusing ways to pass the time, whittling, yodeling for bureaucrats,  rasslin' for the meek and an exhaustive tutorial on shoplifting tiny novelty books from up near the cash register.                                            

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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Frohliche Geburtstag



Here, one version of this Poor Almanac (and not the original one) which ran on Beethoven's birthday. I liked it so much I made several copies (I gave this one to my piano teacher). Here's another, in bistre ink.


CHRISTMAS AT THOMPSONIANA

CHRISTMAS CARDS
FROM 

CHRISTMAS AT THOMPSONIANA IS A VERY SPECIAL TIME, A TIME FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY,
AND THEY ALL WANT CARDS FOR SOME
INEXPLICABLE REASON. SO WE TRY TO TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF IT BY SELLING A FEW COLORFUL BITS OF PAPER WITH HOMILIES STAMPED ON THEM.       

THE TINKY THE SPOKESELF CARD I




          THE DICKENSIAN CARD


       THE TINY TIM CARD


THE TREE CARD

 THE CHRISTMAS SWEATER CARD


THE ST. SANTA CARD

ONLY $2.95 A CARD
THOMPSONIANA
EVEN OUR NAME
INSPIRES FEAR

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Good Review

Here's a nice review of the Art book by one who'd know-professor & historian Charles Solomon.  I dunno, a Christmas special....?


Monday, December 8, 2014

Old & Lost Almanac(k)s

First, I'd like to thank all those who came to the Gala Book Launch on Saturday; a report, heavily-illustrated with photos, is forthcoming.

Now then,  this comes to us courtesy of the indefatigable Michael Rhode, partner in crime and Claire's dad, who found it behind a coffee mug at the National Portrait Gallery during a recent backstage tour, which I didn't attend because if I'm around art* I tend to drool.

               
As you can see, the humor's a little dated, but you only have to put "Isis" in and BOOM you're OK. Like it says, this is the famous (and expensive) Landsberg Portrait, named for the retail giant who owned it.

*Or anything.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Well, That Happened

So on Tuesday, November 25th, everyone walked just a bit straighter  and carried themselves with a new-found dignity, a dignity they could  not have mustered a mere 24 hours before  Tiny children, barely human, settled down and behaved without urging. Stray cats & dogs and other lost souls wandered home, and everywhere the joyous sound of reunions could be heard, if you listened real hard and didn't let the racket from cash registers pushed beyond their capacity demand for my new book, THE ART OF RICHARD THOMPSON,  224 pages jam-packed with laffs and full color pictures for the low price of only $35.00!      


Let's look at the stats


Friday, November 21, 2014

Arlington Central Library Releases Details

Looking south along the auxiliary astrolabe repository

Arlington Central Library, that sober bulwark against the advance of illiteracy, that immovable redoubt of civilization, that last hope against the fidgety and loud, that shining beacon of all that we may aspire to has gladsome news of a celebratory nature concerning the goings-on of December  6th of this year. So be there or be square, Jake.

The Great Hall

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NOT IN THE BOOK LXIvIV oh I lose track

Here again are several random images, drawn from the pool of images that were considered and discarded as somehow lacking in that certain something, that je ne sais quoi, that separates winners from under-achievers.

First up is this pair of under-achievers I did for Bono Mitchell-






Then, this non-performer for The Atlantic-


Finally, we ha-HEY! THIS ONE IS IN THE BOOK! SOMEBODY MADE A BOO-BOO!

 
We'll have to get back to you on this...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

J. Arthur Wood, Jr.,1927 - 2014

When you opened the front door of the spacious yet unassuming house in Rockville, Maryland the first thing you saw was Prince Valiant. A choice Sunday page, all sweeping vistas and heraldic detail. The fact that the house contained almost 40,000 original cartoons, the largest private collection of comic art in America, if not the world was too much for the mind, so great was the discrepancy between the blandly comfortable house and what it contained

I said, "when YOU opened the front door," but that wouldn't happen. Steeped as he was in Southern Manners, it was unthinkable for someone else to open a door, any door, when Art was around.  So there you'd stand, confronted with a man who looked like Hollywood's ideal of a Southern Senator living in this house with drawings. "Come out to the house," he'd say, to the amusement of Pat Oliphant who knew the house was really a shrine. "Come out to the house. We're having some of the troops out."  The troops were inevitably Big Names of Cartooning and stacks of  their Christmas cards could be found on the coffee table in season.


I met Art in the early 80s, courtesy of my high school friend Greg's mom. Doris Fronsdorff was a respected collector-and expert in children's books and she had a sharp eye, so when Art needed someone to authenticate some drawings by Kate Greenway, he called Doris. And Doris called me.

The  Greenways were fakes, but it didn't matter. At least to me. I was at loose ends, unsure of what to do next. Or first. But Art Wood's enthralling tales and fabulous collection turned my head. The old-school Southern charm got me. And he knew everybody! My favorite Art Wood story from among millions is from later, after I'd quit Cul de Sac. I said my new work would look like Cy Twombly if he used his sleeve. I soon got a note from Art that said he and Cy Twombly were old schoolmates who'd gone on sketching expeditions together. There are two names I wouldn't put in the same sentence and they are "Art Wood" and "Cy Twombly."



Whenever he visited my studio, Art would sit on the floor like a little kid and go through piles of originals. To his utter delight I'd say, "Keep what you want." I figured he'd take better care of anything I gave him than I would. I mean, a guy with not just an animation cel hung on his wall but a cel with all seven dwarves signed, "To Art from Walt Disney" is at least trustworthy, monomaniac though he be, right?

Art sold his collection for just under a million dollars (though technically it was priceless) to the Library of Congress, where he'd worked as a boy (he'd also attended Hearst school, a public school in northwest DC, like my brother and even went to kindergarten in the same room). They had a nice ceremony in one of the fancier rooms attended by many cartoonists and Woodses and a show drawn from the collection. Art was expansive.

The last time I saw him was just before he moved to Charlottesville. He and his wife, the ever-gracious Sallie, had pretty much emptied the house, so now it was what it appeared to be, a normal suburban house. All the custom-built drawers Art had installed were empty. It was strange.

We had lunch at his club, where the waiters were vaguely insulting yet the food was good. It called to mind all the lunches we'd had; at one of them, memorably, I met Pat Oliphant for the first time. I remember because it was at the Press Club and Bill Mitchell was there and we went bar-hopping and my car got towed and I missed a date at the Phillip's.



Sallie & Art at my show with Roman Genn, Susan Conway Gallery, 1996
photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie, whom I met at a Smithsonian event hosted by Art 

But that was in 1987 (I could tell you the date because I asked Pat what he'd drawn - Nancy Reagan dropping a chandelier on Donald Regan). Art said he had something for me. I thought of one particular Krazy Kat I'd long admired. Heck, I'd told him I'd steal it.



He held out an old case. "I never could figure this out," he said. Inside was a complex optical device for transferring drawings. I never could figure it out either but it's handsome and mysterious.

J. Arthur Wood died on the fourth of November, in Charlottesville.
                                                                                                                                                        

Thursday, November 6, 2014

GALA ANNOUNCEMENT WITH EARTH-SHAKING CONSEQUENCES!


THIS BLOG, IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE ONE MORE PAGE, IS PLEASED, HECK TICKLED PINK, TO ANNOUNCE A BOOK-SIGNING & LAUNCH PARTY FOR
THE ART OF
RICHARD THOMPSON
 WITH EXTRAS ON
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6TH
2:30 PIP EMMA
AT THE
ARLINGTON CENTRAL LIBRARY
AUDITORIUM
1015 NORTH QUINCY STREET
THERE'LL BE A PANEL DISCUSSION, CELEBRITY APPEARANCES, SIGNED BOOKS, A WORLD PREMIERE OF A MAJOR VIDEO, CLOWNISH ANTICS AND FACE PAINTING! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

5 Favourite Things

I always thought it was a song cue from a musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. But over at Comics & Cola Zainab Akhtar proves me wrong in this very nice review of theComplete Cul de Sac.


oh, who cares?

WHAT IS NEW AT 

NOT MUCH, OUR KID JUST GOT HIS WISDOM TEETH OUT,
THE OLD LADY WENT TO HER 30tTH HIGH SCHOOL REUNION,  I FOUND A $20 BILL IN THE PARKING LOT,  YOU KNOW, NOTHING  EARTH-SHAKING.
OH, YOU MEAN "WHAT NEW PRODUCTS HAVE YOU GOT?" I SEE, I SEE. WELL, WE GOT THESE, BUT THEY'RE NOT REALLY MOVING, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. NOW, IF HE'D DRAW SOME PUPPIES OR KITTENS, THEY'D MOVE.

INSTEAD, WE GET ELEPHANTS.

THE HAPPY NEW YEAR CARD
Inside it says, "And many more."


THE PETEY CARD
Inside, it says, "It's going to be one of those days."


THE HEY,  JACKASS CARD
Inside, it says, "No, not you."
I'm quite proud of this card, and I'm posting it despite the fact that it does appear in the book and I could get in serious tr-


WHO SENDS GREETING CARDS NOWADAYS?
   THOMPSONIANA
WHAT TH-?

Monday, October 27, 2014

NOT IN THE BOOK, AND IT'S SO OBSCURE THAT I DON'T REMEMBER IT

Anita Finklestein has been busy, diligently digging up bits of Thompson lacuna as though it was worth something. Like this image, which,  as with her preceding find was a calendar illustration done for a printer who wanted to show what he could do. Here's what he could do-


WHAT'S NEW AT THOMPSONIANA?

WHAT'S NEW AT

WE WERE HOPING NOBODY'D ASK, AFTER ALL OF THOSE RUMORS OF A COUP ATTEMPT BY DISGRUNTLED GREETING CARD WORKERS PROTESTING THEIR NEW 26-HOUR DAY, JUST ONE OF THE MANY ADVANCES WE'VE INSTITUTED.


THE PANHANDLER CARD



THE HUNGRY CONSUMER CARD



A TWO-FER
THE OLD WOMAN TOSSED UP IN A BASKET CARD 




A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN CARD

WHAT A FINE SELECTION OF GREETING CARDS!
AVAILABLE ONLY FROM
   THOMPSONIANA
"WHERE DREAMS ARE BORN."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

SO NOT IN THE BOOK THAT MICHAEL RHODE DOESN'T KNOW IT EXISTS

How can it be? How can such a thing exist? My oeuvre is so widely documented that no image should roam free. But here, through the diligent spade-work of Anita Finklestein is The One That Got Away.                                                                                            


Friday, October 17, 2014

NOT IN THE BOOK IV

It's time once again to alienate all of my friends and show some more images that were deemed unworthy of inclusion in the Art of book but I have scans so I might as well post them.

First up is a perennial favorite from Why Things Are.



Next, let's see some spots I did for Bono Mitchell.




That's me!

Well, wasn't that fun? And how! Now you'll have to excuse me while I round up some new friends, but watch for NOT IN THE BOOK V; RISE OF THE OMINOUSITY, when I run out of things to feed this blog again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

the New Yorker Gets With It


Eustace Tilley, ,,Rea Irvin's inexplicable  Everyman, has turned his dandy's monocle on Alice and Petey  and- well, what do you expect? It was never  a fair fight.             

Sunday, October 12, 2014

NOT IN THE BOOK III

Let's have some more random images, shall we? These posts are so easy to do it's criminal.  All I need is a  computer full of disjointed and disconnected drawings that nobody's seen since publication (and boy, do I have that).

 First up is something I did for Bono Mitchell when she wasn't looking. Like many of thus period, it's colored with colored pencil, alkyd and/or oil.




 Ah, here's the Man Himself, Joel Achenbach, from when he had a column in the Post Magazine. I'm happy enough with this caricature to post it; as I recall he kinda hated it. Watercolor.




This was for the New Yorker when Bill Bennet was news; where do these people go? And why don't they stay there?



Speaking of which...




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Best Comics of 2014, Now With More Self-Regard



Whoever's in charge, Mr. Houghton or Mr. Mifflin, over at that firm they got must be asleep at the wheel. Guess who made it into the newest edition, compiled by the redoubtable Scott McCloud and his faithful droog, Bill Kartalopoulos. I'm thankful to them both for bending the laws of space and time so that Alice can sit with the adults. And hey, read the rreviews!              

Sunday, October 5, 2014

NOT IN THE BOOK II

Here are two more perfectly good drawings that didn't make it to happy hardback land. First, an airplane cut-away illustration from the Atlantic.

I always loved intricate cut-away drawings, especially of airplanes. Not doing them; looking at them. Doing them is boring beyond belief but looking at them- all those struts and rivets and everything in it's place- enthrall me. The  school library had a book filled with ligne claire drawings of airplanes, and I'd obsessively check it out (sixth through ninth grade) and try to mimic the art. Not for any reason or with an goal in mind, but just because I liked it. So when the Atlantic called with this job - a drawing of the largest passenger plane- I subconsciously returned to eighth grade.


One of the things I'll do when I'm the Guy in Charge of Caricature Studies is; I'll have everybody draw an imaginary character. That is, they'll have to invent an appropriate face for someone who doesn't exist. This cover for the U of C alumni magazine is about as close as I got. The red robes are painted with real vermilion, mercuric sulfide, just one of many Things You Didn't Need to Know.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NOT IN THE BOOK

I'm going to launch a  series called "NOT IN THE BOOK." This will use up drawings that are second-rate and it'll warn readers that they're missing out on something; in this case, some really second-rate drawings.

For the first one, I've selected this image; because it's the second in a series of 3 that reaches fruition  in the drawing used as a cover for The Art book, and because my friend Nick went bananas tearing up my studio looking for it, not knowing it was under the magical  protection of Caitlin McGurk.     


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Early & Prehistoric Almanacs

Here, for the first time since their original publication 17 years ago, and posted mostly without comment because, really, who has the time? are some early proto-Almanacs. They're not even called Richard's Poor Almanac because language hadn't been invented.

The drawing's crude, the humor's rudimentary, you can't believe anybody got paid for doing this. And yet, there's something about them that makes you want to shout, "CALL THE DAMN THING RICHARD'S POOR ALMANAC SO WE CAN GET SOME SLEEP!"