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

Friday, April 26, 2013

Lost Unintentional Adventures of Danders: Reconstructed, Part II, With Bonus Material

Thanks to Beth Broadwater and Daniele Seiss of the Washington Post Magazine, I lined up some old issues featuring Danders' final unintentional adventure and scanned 'em. So once more, here ya go-

But wait- there's more-
The issue of May 20, 2007 featured a cover piece by my old friend Joel Achenbach on the 2008 election. And guess who illustrated it? No, not Steve Brodner ( he was busy). Here's a clue-

Hey, not bad! It's not Brodner but it's not bad. That McCain on the stump is the best of him I've drawn (the one on the cover is mostly gouache slathered on thick, a good sign he gave me fits). But what happened to Obama's eyeballs?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Old Almanacs

While digging through drawers of Cul de Sac roughs I found a few for old Poor Almanacs, one of which I never finished, and a few I'd torn out of the Post. In the interest of sharing as much of my trash as humanly possible, here ya go-

As near as I can tell rumors of Bob Dole (and his wife) getting a facelift began in 1997. That's the year Richard's Poor Almanac began (though then nameless), which puts this among the earliest RPAs, back before I knew what I was doing. This is the rough; I traded the final to John Cuneo for a better drawing of Philip Glass that still hangs in my studio.

I did several elaborate scenes with titles to match presented as "fine art for your refrigerator" and here's one. I'm kinda shocked I got away with a nude, but I guess if it's art, anything goes.

Another Almanac that's just a fun drawing with an elaborate label. The final of this one's in the custody of the wonderful Susie Hirt, who taught both of my daughters in first grade.

Here's the rough I abandoned at the pencil stage. It parodies George Lucas's groan-making proper names from the later Star Wars trilogy and I'm not sure why I dropped it. Oopsy Boomshot has the making of a thoroughly compelling character, worthy of his own trilogy.

Like so many before me I steal a page from Bil Keane and press my daughter Emma, then about 2 1/2, into service when I'm under the weather. Close readers of Cul de Sac may note how some of her artistic pretensions later showed up in Alice.

Finally, when the National Gallery had the big Van Gogh show in the late 90s I drew several Almanacs about it. Here's one.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Lost Unintentional Adventures of Danders: Reconstructed

In May of 2007, Mr. Danders was launched in a toy truck, exited Blisshaven Preschool and disappeared into the Metro subway system. It would prove to be his last adventure; Cul de Sac went daily a few months later and Danders role in the syndicated strip was much diminished. For that reason and others it's driven me nuts that I can't find many of the originals. Some I lent to the Museum of Natural History, where they've disappeared, and others I've lost on my own. But I did keep drawers full of pencil sketches of the pre-syndication strips. They're one step removed from inking. I'd put these roughs under a piece of Arches 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper on a lightbox and ink it, hoping the looseness of the pencil line translated to the ink line.

So I dug around in the drawers of roughs and found those I'd used for the last of Mr. Danders' unintentional adventures. I hope to have a better version ready for inclusion in the Complete Cul de Sac, but here's what I've got so far-


This last one is scanned from an old copy of the Post Magazine, courtesy of Jennifer Hart.

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, April 17, 2013

You Can't Tie Down a Banjo Man

Rob McLaren, the Toronto-based multi-threat musician and songwriter, sent me this wonderful tune. He was inspired by Timmy Fretwork's battle cry of romantic avoidance, "You can't tie down a banjo man!" It was, he says,"it was too good a potential song title to pass up!"
Here's Timmy Fretwork's first appearance from an October '04 Post Magazine, which I redrew three years later for the syndicated strip. Mr. Fretwork is based on about five real people. And below is the bit of folk wisdom in action.
To buy an MP3 of this tune, or the full digital album, please go here.

Eisner Awards

The list of 2013 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award nominees was announced yesterday. And by golly look what's on it under Best Comics-Related Book- Team Cul de Sac! This is a very big deal, and not just because it gives Chris Sparks a good excuse to go to Comic Con. I mean, look at the other names on that list: Chris Ware, both of Los Bros. Hernandez, Seymour Chwast, Carol Tyler, Skottie Young, Joe Lambert (twice!), Chris Schweizer, Jerry Scott, Rick Kirkman, Etc, Usw! Each one of 'em a giant in the field, all of them possessing a talent that can bestride the comics world like a Colossus. What chance does a little fanboy* like Chris Sparks have?

Waitaminit! Is that Chris Sparks looming over his lovely wife Jen and Hollywood legend & Parkie role model Michael J Fox? Jeez, look at the size of that guy! He's gonna mop up at the Eisners, or else! I'm glad I've got a behemoth like Chris on my team!