This is what Bill Watterson has been up to
April 23, 2011 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Cul de Sac is a daily newspaper cartoon by DC-area artist Richard Thompson (previously). In July of 2009, Thompson announced on his blog that he had been diagnosed with Parkinsons's disease. Earlier this year, friends of Thompson launched Team Cul de Sac, a fundraising project for Parkinson's research. The project has been accepting donations of artwork by cartoonists, to be published and sold in a book later this year. One recent donation to Team Cul de Sac is particularly noteworthy: a brand new painting by Bill Watterson.

Watterson also wrote the introduction to the first collection of Cul de Sac comics. In it, he said of Petey Otterloop, the character in the painting: "I think my favorite character is Alice's older brother, Petey. A haunted, controlling milquetoast, he's surely one of the most neurotic kids to appear in comics."

(High-res of painting.)
posted by eggplantplacebo (10 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I don't mind telling you that I literally gasped when I read "brand new painting by Bill Watterson." I've heard such wild stories about Watterson burning his paintings out in the forest (while fighting robots cradled in the hands of 50 foot tall women). It's like getting a birthday card from JD Salinger.
posted by cheap paper at 6:02 PM on April 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Based on Watterson's endorsement alone, I will start reading Cul de Sac.

Also, it seems a particularly cruel turn of fate for an artist to be stricken with Parkinson's, though really it seems rather cruel for anyone.
posted by disillusioned at 6:03 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

That painting is amazing. What an incredible talent!

I wish Watterson was less principled insane curmudgeonly difficult and more willing to share his work with us.
posted by ErikaB at 6:06 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cul De Sac is a wonderful strip, it's a damn shame this has happened to its creator.
posted by JHarris at 6:07 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Great post. Thanks.
posted by chinston at 8:12 PM on April 23, 2011

Sad to hear; Cul de Sac has been one of my favorite strips ever since it appeared in the Star Tribune a couple years ago, and it's no surprise that Watterson is a fan. It has a lovely whimsy which is such a refreshing contrast to the hackneyed whimsy of Family Circus/Garfield/X strip which should have been replaced with something fresh from the thousands of talented cartoonists vying for jobs years ago.
posted by brightghost at 8:53 PM on April 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by delmoi at 4:10 AM on April 24, 2011

I just recently worked my way through the entire "Cul De Sac" archives (in book form, then on the web), based purely on Watterson's endorsement in the introduction to the first collection. It is fantastic strip, and I'd long since given up expecting a newspaper-based comic to make me laugh. "Cul De Sac" does, regularly.

Interestingly, one thing that I think sets "Cul De Sac" apart from most of the competitors is that the humor is embedded in language and drawing both. This seems like a no-brainer, but if you start checking you'll be surprised how often comic strips fail to do this. They can be funny to read, but not to look at. Or goofy-looking and not particularly funny when read.

"Cul De Sac" uses the two-pronged approach. The only reason I notice it, weirdly enough, is that Charles Schulz once pointed out what a rare thing is, in the introduction to Watterson's first collection.

Someday there will be an interesting paper in analyzing the degree to which Schulz-Watterson-Thompson might be said to constitute a tradition or school of cartooning.
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:34 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

So I spent a few minutes catching up with the archives, and all I have to say is this:

posted by JHarris at 7:40 PM on April 24, 2011

That painting is amazing. I had no idea what to expect his paintings were like (I think I read somewhere they are mostly landscape paintings?). Going to have to check this Cul De Sac comic out.
posted by Corduroy at 10:59 PM on April 26, 2011

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