Friday, July 29, 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A short personal remembrance of Richard Thompson


Richard Thompson collected friends. And admirers who became friends. I first met Richard ten years ago in November 2006. Although it seems longer ago than that, probably because I'd seen his work in the Washington Post, practically every day, for the previous two decades. Joel Pollack introduced us at the opening of the Cartoon America exhibit at the Library of Congress.  We hit it off, Richard's quiet, sly wit keeping me grinning, and soon we began taking in more exhibitions with other of Richard's old friends (who are also talented artists) such as Bono Mitchell, Nick Galifianakis and Kevin Rechin. Soon I was popping over to his house in North Arlington, where Amy, or their daughters Emma and Charlotte would answer the door and yell down to the basement studio, "Dad, Mike's here again," because of course, he was never on time for whatever event we were going to. Richard and his gang kindly enfolded me into their lives, and I can never pay him or them or his family back for that kindness. An inexact analogy would have Richard as the sun in a solar system, with family and friends orbiting around him and then around each other as a result. I met many good people, some famous and some not, through being privileged enough to hang out with Richard (and having a drivers license that I was willing to use).

Richard was an engaging traveling companion, even if he could be a bit... frustrating. At one Con, he was panicking because he couldn't find the $400 he made earlier in the day. (This is when he was selling his daily Cul de Sac strips for $100 or less). We tore apart our hotel room, over and over, obsessively rechecking his luggage and clothes. Eventually it turned up where he'd 'safely' stored it - in his pillowcase. Certainly, no maid of a criminal bent would ever have checked there. That wasn't atypical behavior for him, because in many ways, Richard was a typical artist, forgetting to eat, or leaving jobs until the last minute so inspiration would strike. One of my great regrets is that he never took Francoise Mouly up on her offer to do a New Yorker magazine cover. I actually saw her pleading with him to submit one.

As I noted for Andrew Farago of The Comics Journal, in spite of the appearance of being an overnight sensation with Cul de Sac, Richard had paid his dues. He worked regularly doing illustrations for the Washington Post from the early 1980s, eventually appearing almost every day of the week. He also did two comics for them - Saturday's Richard's Poor Almanac panel and Sunday's Cul de Sac in the Magazine. Beginning in 1991, he did interior illustrations for the New Yorker. He did over 400 caricatures for US News and World Report over the course of nine years. In short, Richard was a successful working illustrator long before most people outside of a small world of editors and other illustrators ever paid attention. When Cul de Sac went into the world beyond the Washington Post in 2007, a new audience began gravitating to him, but the devastation of a rapid case of Parkinson's disease meant that all of us, old and new readers, only got another four years of Richard's imagination to enjoy. I think he could have easily run for another twenty years with Cul de Sac, doing quality work. He's written on his blog about how he enjoyed introducing new characters, and Mr. Danders was just waiting to be returned to the strip.

I began writing this just a few hours after learning of Richard's death, although those of us who were lucky enough to live close to him knew it was coming. Richard's art and his family had meant everything to him (with food colored orange coming in third, oddly enough). He lost his ability to make art years ago. He broke his hip while compiling the Complete Cul de Sac and then couldn't get out and do things and see people. They came to him, but it wasn't the same as him being able to pop down to the Washington Post when he wanted to get out of the house, as he did for much of his career. The past year, he took a rapid slide downhill, and several weeks ago, friends from out of town began arriving for what we all knew was a goodbye visit, even if nobody referred to it that way.

Even though Richard's body betrayed him in the end, his talent and his mind and his way of looking at the world gave enjoyment to many people for three decades, which is more than many of us can ever claim. Richard lives on in his art and books, so my friend has an immortality of sorts (that I know was a comfort to him), and I hope the new books Richard's friends are working on will give people a small glimpse into what I enjoyed over the past ten years of our friendship. - Mike Rhode

highlights from last night's Politically Inclined live drawing event

Last night I attended the late July Takoma Park city council meeting as part of the "Politically Inclined" project, inviting artists who are currently on exhibit at the Takoma Park Community Center's "Stylized Notions" art exhibit, featuring works from local, DC-area cartoonists and comic artists who participated in the Cartoonists Draw Blood blood drive events. In addition to myself, Bill Brown, Art Hondros, and Eric Gordon participated. Unlike Eric, Art, and Bill, all residents of Takoma Park, I drove out from Sterling, VA, and it was interesting to participate in some small way, and contribute something to the democratic process that is a City Council meeting - something I've never done before. In addition to being in good company, and hanging out with some great fellow artists for a little bit, I also wanted to try something slightly new and different, creatively. 

The event was recorded and shown live on the Takoma Park community TV channel, as well as on their Facebook page. During a brief intermission, the artists spread their work out on the stage for folks to see, and it was great seeing the variety of approaches everyone took, and witnessing the positive reactions from the people in the auditorium. I think it was a great, positive experience for us artists as well.

A big big thanks goes out to organizers Marilyn Sklar and Chanthi Chandra-Sekar, Carolyn Belefski for the heads-up, and to all the artists and folks who participated in last night's city council meeting. In the meantime, there's talk of possibly having a little exhibit featuring last night's work. I'll post more, if anything more comes out of it. In the meantime, HERE are a few more photos, etc. from the event. You can also read more about it in the Takoma Voice!

                                                                                                                         - Steve Loya

*above pic: Bill Brown

*above pic: Steve Loya

*above pic: Takoma Park residents looking at some of the artwork made throughout the evening

above pic: Art Hondros

*above pic: Eric Gordon

Andrew Aydin's beard is a political statement

Some tributes to Richard Thompson in the press (updated as necessary)

Brian Fies: Richard Thompson


Donna Lewis: So many words. So few words.

And the print Washington Post has Michael Cavna's online obituary in the Style section.


John Martz: A Cartoonist Remembers His Hero, Cul de Sac’s Richard Thompson

Stacy Curtis: Rest in Peace, Richard Thompson

 Dave Kellett's Sheldon comic

More to follow, I imagine.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

WUSA's piece on Richard Thompson

Local acclaimed illustrator dies at 58

Ellison Barber, WUSA July 27, 2016

Robin Ha featured on NBC website

Robin Ha Is the Comic Book Superhero of Korean Cuisine

NBC Asian America July 15 2016

Richard Thompson to be memorialized on WUSA news tonight

Ellison Barber of WUSA news compiled a memorial profile about Richard Thompson's life and art which should air at 11 pm EDT if all goes well.

Comic Riffs obituary for Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson, acclaimed 'Cul de Sac' creator and Post contributor, dies at 58

Washington Post 
Comic Riffs July 27 2016

Cartoonist Richard Thompson has passed away

I've been informed by Richard's best friend Nick Galifianakis that Richard passed away today due to the effects of Parkinson's Disease. We're poorer for his loss, but richer for his life and art.

Library of Congress scrapbooks on WWI

This is an interesting resource. Click through to read the full article:

World War I: A Wartime Clipping Service

(The following is a post by Arlene Balkansky, reference specialist in the Serial and Government Publications Division, and Will Elsbury, military history specialist in the Humanities and Social Sciences Division.) The Library of Congress' historical newspaper collections are extensive in their coverage of World War I. From the beginning of the war to America's involvement to […]

World War I news, editorials, features, cartoons, photos, maps, and more are also contained in a unique 400 volume 80,000-page set of newspaper clippings found within the collections of the Library of Congress Serial and Government Publications Division. The set, "World War History: Daily Records and Comments as Appeared in American and Foreign Newspapers, 1914-1926," was created after the war through the dedicated direction of Otto Spengler, owner of the Argus Press Clipping Bureau.

Josh Kramer interviewed on cartoon journalism

The CoJo List: A comics journalism newsletter
posted by Dominic Umile
Dominic Umile Blog May 16 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

DCist follows up on that Harry Potter satire cartoon website

Harry Potter FanFic Writer Behind Awaits His Windfall
by Rachel Kurzius in News on Jul 25, 2016

Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Chris Fenoglio

by Mike Rhode

A Baltimore Comic Con staffer tipped me about Chris Fenoglio of Alexandria, VA, who kindly answered our usual questions. Fenoglio should be getting wider recognition soon as he's drawn an X-Files spin-off that comes out this summer.

MR: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

CF: I have a couple of projects right now. The biggest one I’m working on is the X-Files Origins: Mulder series coming out in August from IDW. I just finished the first issue of a project called Bloodworth written by the supremely talented Dan Corey that’s coming out really soon as well. I also work on a webcomic strip called Chris & Christina about me and my wife. It’s funnier than it sounds…

MR: How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

CF: Mostly computer… especially lately. I have a lot of plates spinning, and it’s just faster this way.

MR: When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

CF: In Berkeley, CA in the early 1980s.

MR: Why are you in Washington now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?

CF: Alexandria. Does that count still?

MR: What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

CF: I have a master’s degree in illustration from The Academy of Art University. I teach some of their online classes now (like I said… lotsa plates).

MR: Who are your influences?

CF: Too many to count, but the major ones would be, like, Jeff Smith from Bone, Alex Toth, Chris Samnee, and Greg Capullo… at least those are the guys I try to copy as much as I can.

MR: If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

CF: Nothing so far… maybe go to art school sooner in life? Or maybe pick a career that makes a lot of money… like accounting.

MR: What work are you best-known for?

CF: Probably the X-Files one now… but I also colored a few issues of the Orphan Black comic IDW put out.

MR: What work are you most proud of?

CF: Right now it’s a tie between my X-Files and Chris & Christina stuff. X-Files feels like a huge step forward in my career both artistically and in terms of my standing in the industry. Chris & Christina scratches that artistic itch of putting something together that’s totally mine. And it also lets me try out some of my weirder ideas.

MR: What would you like to do  or work on in the future?

CF: Everything. Is that an answer?

MR: What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

CF: Just keep working. I find that you can usually work through things like that if you just keep noodling. Worse comes to worse, I’ll take a break and go do something else for awhile.

MR: What do you think will be the future of your field?

CF: Hopefully universal acceptance. I’d love to live in a world where everyone read comics. I think the way the medium is expanding and diversifying is really helping, but it’s still got a ways to go.

MR: What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

CF: I just moved to the area about 2 years ago, so not a bunch. I’ve gone to NYCC the last two years and it’s been pretty great. I also checked out Baltimore this year also, which was a ton of fun.

MR: What's your favorite thing about DC?

CF: Is it cheesy to say, “the monuments and museums?” If you grew up on the other side of the country, they’re really awesome to see up close.

MR: Least favorite?

CF: Traffic… And that’s coming from a Californian. Is getting hit over the head with a tack hammer part of the driving exam out here?

MR: What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

CF: Portrait Gallery. I like paintings.

MR: How about a favorite local restaurant?

CF: There’s this awesome place in Alexandria called Rustico. I love their pizza… and vast selection of beer.

MR: Do you have a website or blog?

CF: I have a website (that’s in dire need of an update) at and you can check out my webcomic at And people can always follow me on Instagram and Twitter @ChrisFenoglio

Comic Riffs on caricaturing Hillary Clinton

Guardians of the Galaxy go into space with NASA

Marvel’s Groot and Rocket will head to space on NASA’s newest mission patch

By Rachel Feltman
Washington Post Speaking of Science July 25 2016


One famous comics linkup not mentioned in the story above is Peanuts and the Apollo 10 mission.
Charles Schulz used Snoopy and his other characters in support of NASA for many years around the Apollo missions.

Window dressing at Second Story Books

Second Story Books at Dupont Circle on occasion displays some of its pop culture books in its street windows. This week, it features of some graphic novels and comics-related books.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Eisner Awards - local winners and Comic Riffs coverage

Here's the local winners:

Best publication for early readers (up to age 8)

"Little Robot," by Ben Hatke (First Second)

Best reality-based work

"March: Book Two," by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Top Shelf/IDW)

and here's a couple of Comics Riffs stories:

Comic-Con: 'Overjoyed' Rep. John Lewis wins 'the Oscar of comics' for his civil rights memoir (+ winners' list)

Washington Post Comic Riffs  July 23 2016

Comic-Con: Eisner nominee Tom King turned five months in Iraq into a Vertigo Comics hit

Washington Post Comic Riffs July 21 2016

Comic Riffs on new books from Drawn & Quarterly

Comic Riffs talks to Dream Jumper creators

Greg Grunberg's son had a dream. Now it's a high-flying graphic-novel series and Paramount project

Washington Post
Comic Riffs July 24  2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 24: Deadline for 'Magic Bullet' 13

Today is the deadline for comics submissions and ads for Magic Bullet 13, the semi-annual comics newspapers of the D.C. Conspiracy. To whet your appetite, here's a work-in-progress of the cover for the new issue by Dale Rawlings.