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, February 28, 2012


So I guess this explains that headache I've got.

Monday, February 27, 2012

This Week's Cul de Sacs

This week's strips come to you courtesy of the mighty drawing & writing hand of the Fake Rockstar himself, the man with the Angriest Eyebrows in the business, Mr. Corey Pandolph. In just 40 short years Corey has produced enough good comic strips to circle the Earth twelve times. But that's the tip of the iceberg. Let's look at his resume, which I've here shortened because it was intimidating me-

•14 years experience in cartooning for print and on the web.
• Worked on syndicated newspaper comic strips with both United Media & Universal/Uclick.
• Successfully put two books of strip collections into print through self publishing and sales.
•At one time, successfully wrote and produced 4 separate daily comics for print and web.
• Used my knowledge and experience to realize a dream of regularly contributing to MAD and The New Yorker magazines.
• Often referred to as the “Johnny Cash” of comics.
• 10 years experience writing and editing comedy for web and print media outlets such as, The Bollard, Casco Bay Weekly, Drink at, and The Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
• Produced, wrote and directed sketch comedy shows at several venues in Portland, ME.
• Continue to perform original storytelling on stage at several storytelling shows in NYC,
including Adult Education, RISK! and Family Hour with Auntie Sara.
• Current producer and host of my own monthly storytelling show at Luca Lounge in NYC.
• I built my own house.
Speaking as cartoonist I find the last item galling. I'm comfortable with the stereotype of the cartoonist as a clumsy schlub so flummoxed by the basic laws of physics that any task more complex than changing a light bulb reduces him to a puddle of flop sweat. But this Corey guy looks like he bats out a few dozen strips, plays with his dogs, sells a cartoon or two to the New Yorker, gets a little drunk and builds his own house. In the Adirondacks. With a lovely view. Also, John Hodgman once bought him a drink.

I so need a life, or a view.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

More Oscar Memories

Below are two old Oscar Almanacs, from 2005 and 2008. Some of my predictions came true. But not the one about Michael Bay's career. Ah, well.

Quick, While There's Still Time!

For Oscar viewing-

From an old Almanac. I hear this really works!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Final Cover

Dorothy O'Brien, et al at Andrews & McMeel did all of the work and Chris Sparks made me post this. I just do what I'm told*.

And so should you. Go order this, or at least bid a lot at the auction this summer.

I'm reliably informed by A.j. Michel that this is an example of a Droste effect. That's the new thing I've learned for today.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Old Portfolio Find: The Clinton Years

Since we're all wallowing in Bubba nostalgia, what with the Clinton documentary on TV that I didn't watch, I thought I'd put up some old tearsheets of that era. Because I don't know what else to do with them. All are from US News & World Report, except for Kabuki Linda Tripp, who's from the New Yorker.

Q. What have we learned today?

A. Nothing ages faster than old political gossip.

The Lost Unintentional Adventures Of Danders: A Missing Piece is Found

Here, thanks to the archives of Jennifer Hart, is the next-to-last strip in the previously posted Lost Adventure of Danders. I forget what happened in the last installment, but this one I recalled semi-clearly.As I said in the comments under the previous post-

The museum had a life-size model of a blue whale in their hall of undersea life that I loved when I was a kid (I thought it was real). When they redid the hall in the 90s, they gave the by-then decrepit blue whale to one of the contractors. Who put it, in pieces, in his garage.

The information on the Smithsonian's blue whale model from the DC City Paper. I hope it's accurate. Also I hope Alice found a drinking fountain.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today's Cul de Sac, February 22 2012

This strip is a fine example of the kind of multigenerational collaboration that all families should strive to emulate. But only a family as talented as the Flying Jantzes of Savannah could pull off successfully. Drawn by Michael, written by daughter Collette and starring, in an unseen cameo, son Harrison, with the cooperation and support of mom Nicole.

Mike wrote this earlier today in the comments section under the strip on Gocomics-
Today’s strip was written by my 9-Y-O daughter (who also voices Alice in the animated shorts)…and she wrote the gag from a real conversation she and I had while looking for a sweater in her room…in reality? The candy was still in the bucket, half eaten AND there was a Christmas gift unopened! She took the original cartoon to her fourth grade class today for show and tell. Signed, a proud papa.
As usual, the best strips come from real life. Anyone wishing to learn how to animate the Jantze way should take one of Mike's courses at SCAD.

And read The Norm, of course.      

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras! Tonight!

Once again the party-loving burghers of Clarendon are throwing open their streets for the friendliest  Mardi Gras parade in, or near, DC. You're invited to come on over and let some bontomps roolay tonight at 8. For fun it's unbeadable! Poster courtesy of Bono Mitchell.

Some scenes from previous Mardi Gras parades-



Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Lost Unintentional Adventures Of Danders

Here we have a mystery. In May of 2007, Danders was launched in a toy truck, exited Blisshaven Preschool and disappeared into the Metro subway system. At one point the class went on a field trip to the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum. I know this because I lent a few pages to the Museum to put on a wall somewhere in an area accessible only to the staff. But the rest of it, about 3 or 4 pages, went missing, like Danders.

I do remember that Danders bumps into a Smithsonian employee on the Metro. Who then press-gangs him into  the Mammals exhibit by offering him a high-visibility PR position for his species. This turns out to be standing in a display case with embarrassing guinea pig facts on a little sign.
He's eventually rescued, but I don't remember exactly how. Anybody save the Washington Post Magazine from May to June, 2007? A substantial reward will be yours if you step forward in the next 15 seconds.

The Magnificent Six

Tomorrow you'll notice a slight difference in Cul de Sac. For one thing, the strip be so full of energy it'll actually move around on the page (it might even read itself to you)! That's because it'll be drawn by the ace cartoonist and master animator Mighty Michael Jantze! Mike very kindly agreed to take over the strip for a week to give me time to laze around the house and eat store-bought pie.

Mike's week of CdS leads the way for a month or so of guest artists, all of whom will make you forget I ever even tried to draw the thing. At least until I show up in a month or so and forcibly remind you. Other luminaries doing Otterloop duty will be Magnificent Mo Willems, Lordly Lincoln Peirce, Superior Stephan Pastis, Cool Corey Pandolph and Keen Ken Fisher*. For a more detailed and informative article about this, please visit Mike Cavna's Comic Riffs blog or a brief article on the size of my feet at Robot 6.

I'm speechless with delight that I'll get more time to laze around and eat pie. And I can't wait to see if they'll come up with gags I can reuse years from now, with a little tweaking.

These guys are my heroes!

*Better known as Ruben Bolling's lawyer

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Unintentional Adventures Of Danders in Hi-Def 3-D, Part 3

Oh what the heck, here's the rest of it.
The end.

The Unintentional Adventures Of Danders in Hi-Def 3-D, Part 2

We return to our epic from days gone by, featuring a character unseen for some years.
It was right about here that I figured out that Danders is protean by nature; he's mutable, capable of infinite variation, surviving by assimilation and camouflage. Or maybe he's just so bland that he's forever confused for something or someone else. He's such a dull little lump that no one notices he's not what they think he is.

This strip cracks me up still, after 8 years. I think it's because he's lost sight of the whole point of his job, and I like his piratical gobbledy-gook.

Whatever, I still distrust talking animals.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Cul de Sac is now eight years old, having launched in the Washington Post Magazine in its 2004 Valentine's Day issue. Above is the first sketch and the drawing used on the Post Mag cover the week it debuted. Originally it was going to be on the plastic bag holding the paper too, but that didn't happen. Which is a relief, as it might've scared away Post readers and depressed sales.

This proto-Alice is a little weirder looking than the more recent model. But I like the sketch a lot, and I wish I could draw the strips so loosely. Drawing things in little boxes cramps looseness and forces the lines to behave and stay in place. Especially when they have to share the available space with words which, for reasons of coherence, get more elbow room and the choice spot in each panel.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Unintentional Adventures Of Danders - Now in Hi-Def 3-D

My newest ambition is to be the George Lucas of the comic strip. To this end I'll be reissuing some really old Cul de Sacs in unnecessary spiffy new hi-res scans! We'll start with episodes 1 and 2 of Mr. Danders first unintentional adventure from way back in March of 2005-

Actually, I'm doing these for the Italian comics magazine Linus and figured I might as well feed 'em to the blog too. More episodes to come...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Westminster Dog Show

I drew this in early 2003 for Washingtonian Magazine, one of the few pieces I did for them. Every year when the Westminster Dog Show rolls around, like clockwork, I forget to post it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


That is one incredible list. I'm speechless.

Monday, February 6, 2012

More Holy Tango

Her are a few more caricatures from Francis Heaney's Holy Tango of Literature. You'll remember that Francis took the author's name, anagramized it and used the result as the author's work, which he then turned into a parody of that author's work.
Matsuo Bashō, HAS B.O. a haiku. "Why is that monk still wearing, Winter robes in June?"
Geraldine Brooks, WE LONG BONY DORKS. "We long bony dorks We  Real big on quarks. We  Quote Python lines. We  know arcs and sines."
Emily Dickinson, SKINNY DOMICILE. "That's why I don't go out that much- I can't fit through that Portal. How dumb- to waste my Social Life On Plans to be- immortal-"
Robert Frost, BRR FOOTREST. "My house is cozy, warm, and small, With just one thing that wrecks it all: The ottoman that makes me fall, The ottoman that makes me fall."
A.A.Milne, AN E-MAIL. "Whatever I do, there's always Pooh, there's always Pooh and Me. 'Let's write an r-mail,' I say to Pooh. "That sounds like a wonderful thing to do,' He says. I say, 'I think so to.'"
Samuel Beckett, BAKE ME CUTLETS. Drammatis Personae: VLADIMIR,  the co-host of a cooking show  ESTRAGON, the other co-host   LUCKY, their guest

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cul de Sac for February 5, 2012

This is the last Sunday I drew before my hiatus. It's one of those strips that tickles me no end, which is kinda rare.What I most enjoy is a strip that spins in a circle then takes off in an unexpected direction and this one does that if nothing else. I hit a wall in writing it until the phrase "spray cheese" popped into my head then all the pieces fell into place (note to playwrights, novelists & New Yorker short story writers; when in a bind think "spray cheese"). Otherwise the only thing I struggled with was the expression on Alice's face. That took a stack of paper and half a bottle of ProWhite to achieve; you'll note the relative stiffness in Alice's face in the first panel after I'd tweaked it into lifelessness. By the third panel I had it down.

Alice, you'll remember, has tried to wink before.

UPDATE: Regarding "squince" - I was too late. Though mine incorporated "wink." For what that's worth.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Newt Gingrich Caricatures- Post 'Em If You Got 'Em

I've posted the Newt above before. I don't remember what the story was (probably a piece about his post-speakership life), but it was drawn for US News & World Report. As was the one below-
Which was pretty obviously for a story on Newt's departure from the Speakership of the House in 1998. I like the upper drawing better than the lower, though the flag background in the second looks good. My chances to post old drawings of Newt Gingrich are running out, so I'm grabbing them while I can. Like I've said, he's fun to draw, with that enormous, tetradodecahedral head and that teeny, obnoxious mouth. Sometimes I really miss drawing caricatures.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Holy Tango of Literature

 I tried to find this drawing of Robert Burns last week for Burns Day but I looked in all the wrong places. I drew it to illustrate a great book, the Holy Tango of Literature by the polymathical word-sleight-of-handist Francis Heaney. The trick that Francis played here is to take a well known writer and anagramize his or her name into a title from which he spins a parody. Thus Robert Burns becomes "Robber Runts," in which the great Scots poet is bedeviled by "Wee, sneaky, glowrin, vill'nous thiefies" in rhythms so Burnsian that it screams to be read aloud by Craig Ferguson.
My favorite is Heaney's remix of William Blake, titled "Likable Wilma," which I'll quote entire:

Wilma, Wilma, in thy blouse,
Red-haired prehistoric spouse,
What immortal animator,

Was thy slender waist's creator?

When the Rubble clan moved in,

Was Betty jealous of thy skin?

Thy noble nose, thy dimpled knee?

Did he who penciled Fred draw thee?

Wilma, Wilma, burning bright, ye

Cartoon Goddess Aphrodite, 

Was it Hanna or Barbera

Made thee hot as a caldera?

I'll post more as I find them. All literature (c) Francis Heaney

Something Unseasonal

This is from 2006, though I shortened it for a daily in 2008. It's just been freshly scanned for a project and I thought I might as well post it here. This is exactly how I handled the news that it was time to leave the beach, and I still do.

That Time Again

Again. Or this.