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Cul de Sac reaches a dead end.
August 17, 2012 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Cul de Sac, (previously) generally considered the best newspaper comic strip of recent years (and which may be the last great newspaper comic strip) will end next month, due to the worsening Parkinson's of creator Richard Thompson. His illness had previously motivated an impressive artistic show of support from all kinds of comics artists (newspaper strips, editorial cartoons, magazine illustrations, webcomics and one guy who hadn't done much lately) (previously) I, for one, hope he gets to spend some time hanging out with Bill W.
posted by oneswellfoop (23 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have been reading Cul de Sac for years but had not been aware of this. Fuck, I'm depressed now. I'll miss Alice and the rest of the gang.
posted by Fizz at 9:09 AM on August 17, 2012


Oh no. Cul De Sac is terrific, this is immensely saddening news.

Will we ever definitely find out of Ernesto is imaginary?
posted by JHarris at 9:12 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is really sad. "Cul de Sac" was really innovative for a newspaper strip, and by any standard a sweet, funny piece of work. It really compounds the sadness to know that it's passing does indeed probably mean the end of the age in which newspaper comic strips had any claim to artistic vitality.
posted by Ipsifendus at 9:14 AM on August 17, 2012


Cul de Sac really was the only comic strip in the newspaper that was treading new and interesting ground; it's been bittersweet to read and enjoy ever since I heard about Thompson's illness.
posted by redsparkler at 9:19 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I, for one, hope he gets to spend some time hanging out with Bill W.

Unintentionally funny (or maybe intentionally)--I know who you mean in this context, but it also makes it sound like you're hoping he'll deal with alcoholism.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:24 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


One thing Gene Weingarten was right about is the genius of Thompson, who previously drew the ditties for Wingarten's column. I'd known he was in poor health, and am sad to see it leaving.
posted by k5.user at 9:26 AM on August 17, 2012


I had a good cry about this when I saw the news on twitter this morning. I kept alternating between sobbing and laughing at myself for being so upset. I knew this day was coming but I hoped for more time.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to chewing my arm off.
posted by Tesseractive at 9:28 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Arrggghhh, dlugoczaj. YOU KNOW I MEANT WATTERSON!!! (Mods, please hope me!)

I almost didn't use the "cul de sac/dead end" pun in the title, because there have been so many recent deaths of notable writers, performers and artists (it seems like an entire generation of comic book artists have passed this year). By all official accounts, he's still alive and getting by (and scheduled for Deep Brain Stimulation treatment, apparently a big deal). Here are some more details.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:29 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Of course I did. (And I thank you for this post, btw. I don't know this strip at all, since our paper of record has never had the wisdom to publish it. I'll be having a nice wade through the archives at some point, because it looks highly amusing.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:33 AM on August 17, 2012


I don't read the paper much anymore, but whenever I do "Cul de Sac" is the first thing I look for. It is always such a joy to read. Also, I secretly (hello, internet) hope if/when I have a daughter she'd be like Alice.
posted by littlesq at 9:34 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just found Cul de Sac a couple of months ago so this just breaks my heart. Thompson really, really, really understands what it's like to be a kid in an adult's world.
posted by tommasz at 9:40 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, hell. I guess it's all part of the Comedy Of Existence. I just don't have the heart for it sometimes. This is really a shame.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:43 AM on August 17, 2012


Aw, shit. This is the one comic that makes me miss Calvin and Hobbes a little less.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:47 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am sorry to hear this. I hope treatment helps Richard in whatever way it can.

Meantime I feel the time has come to reveal that Petey is actually living at our house. To be fair our teenager is somewhat less of a misanthrope, but he's just as pessimistic and (mostly) dead on with his observations.
posted by tuesdayschild at 9:56 AM on August 17, 2012


Here's the video of Richard Thompson at last year's National Book Festival. He's a warm and funny person and quite supportive of other creators and the comics community as a whole. (But despite the fact he's local, I have yet to actually meet him in person.)

This was inevitable but it doesn't mean it's any less sad. Several of us have talked about how Cul de Sac is probably the last great print comic strip. There's some other good ones out there, but there's really not going to be anything else that's coming up behind this. It feels like the end of an era in more ways than one.
posted by darksong at 10:41 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Unintentionally funny (or maybe intentionally)--I know who you mean in this context, but it also makes it sound like you're hoping he'll deal with alcoholism.

That’s what I thought you meant, except I thought you were saying he was a recovering alcoholic and you hoped when he died he’d being hanging out with Bill W. Yes, I thought it was a really weird thing to say.
posted by bongo_x at 11:16 AM on August 17, 2012


There is some good news from another famous Parkinson's patient: Michael J. Fox is planning to return to series TV in a new sitcom.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:13 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


...Cul de Sac is probably the last great print comic strip.

The loss of Cul de Sac's wit and sweetness is huge, but the fact that it's only a few years old (Wikipedia says its big launch was in 2007) is wildly reassuring to me. Thompson was already an established cartoonist, but the strip is so good and yet relatively recent, and that gives me hope in future undiscovered newspaper strips.

You know, as long as daily newspapers don't disappear entirely.
posted by redsparkler at 10:41 PM on August 17, 2012


Okay, it looks like he was drawing the characters as early as 2004, if not earlier. Still!
posted by redsparkler at 10:44 PM on August 17, 2012


This is an excellent one. It's got Ernesto, and a classic moment of random Alice at the end.
posted by JHarris at 10:51 PM on August 17, 2012


Richard Thompson (username: Otterloop) shows up in Something Awful's (latest) comic strip megathread to thank his fans. Much well-deserved goonlove ensues.
posted by hangashore at 10:53 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read about Mr. Thompson's Parkinson's a few yearsx ago, and --- considering how that damn disease progresses --- I've been dreading this day ever since.

Mr. Thompson, if by any chance you read this: Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for all the joy you've given us. You know how we're told we're all supposed to 'leave the world a little better than we found it'? You did, sir, you certainly did.
posted by easily confused at 6:47 AM on August 18, 2012


You know, as long as daily newspapers don't disappear entirely.

That's what I consider a primary factor in my "probably the last great" comment, along with the continuing shrinkage of comics real estate in newspapers and the long-held insistence of papers wishing to appear "important" to have NO comics (looking at you, NYT & WSJ).

Mike Peterson's almost-always-perfect "Comic Strip of the Day" blog* has more about his friend and colleague Thompson.
*I consider it the opposite of "Comics Curmudgeon" which has been blandly mocking the mediocre-to-bad content of most daily strips so long it now feels like he's celebrating it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:12 PM on August 18, 2012


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