Showing posts with label Richard Thompson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Thompson. Show all posts

Friday, March 22, 2019

Rarely-seen Richard Thompson cartoon in upcoming Billy Ireland exhibit

by Mike Rhode

A never-before-seen piece of Richard Thompson's original artwork, rarely seen even in publication, is about to go on display in Columbus, Ohio.



Upcoming exhibitions at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library &Museum
DRAWING BLOOD: COMICS AND MEDICINE
&
FRONT LINE: EDITORIAL CARTOONISTS AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT
On display April 20, 2019 – October 20, 2019
DRAWING BLOOD: COMICS AND MEDICINE: This exhibit traces the history of comics’ obsession with medicine from the 18th century to today. The earliest cartoonists frequently satirized a medical practice dominated by bloodletting, purging, and other largely ineffective treatments. Over the next two centuries, modern medicine would go through remarkable transformations. Comics were there for the good and the bad, helping to rebrand the doctor from quack to hero, but also critiquing a medical system that often privileged profits over patients. Drawing Blood highlights the sometimes caustic eye of cartoonists as they consider doctors, patients, illness, and treatment in the rapidly changing world of medicine—one which continues to present new possibilities and new challenges. The exhibit features work by a wide array of creators, from pioneers of cartooning like James Gillray, William Hogarth, Thomas Nast, and Frederick Opper to contemporary greats like Richard Thompson, Carol Tyler, John Porcellino, Alison Bechdel, and Julia Wertz.
Curated by Professor Jared Gardner, OSU Department of English


I received the above notice the other day and have already pointed out that the second exhibit is co-curated by Ann Telnaes.  I also reached out to ask my friendly acquaintance Dr. Gardner what piece of Richard Thompson artwork he was including in the show. Curator Caitlin McGurk and the Billy Ireland did a very nice show of Richard's artwork a few years ago, and he donated material to them before he passed away, so I was curious what Jared had chosen.

The press release says you have a piece by Richard Thompson in it. Can you tell me what it is?

The piece by Richard is a loan from Kevin Wolf— it a small cartoon he did for an actuarial magazine he regularly did spot-illustration and cover work for over the years.

What spoke to you about the art? Were you previously a fan of Richard's?

I’ve long been a fan of Richard’s work, and getting to meet him briefly during his visit to the exhibition of his work at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum was an incredible honor.


How did you select it for the exhibit, especially since it wasn't in the pieces he donated to the Billy Ireland?

Kevin Wolf, the owner of this particular piece, shares my interest in comics and medicine and is a regular attendee at the Graphic Medicine conference. He shared the cartoon with me, a really fun gag cartoon of a knight trying to figure out insurance policy options, and he generously offered to lend it for the show. It will be featured in a section dedicated to medicine and humor, a section that will also include an early doctor’s visit by Bill Watterson’s Calvin and an page from Mad Magazine poking fun at doctors.

I know the piece. As you note, it was done for Contingencies Magazine, art-directed by Richard's old friend Bono Mitchell. We considered it for The Art of Richard Thompson book but it didn't make the final cut. There was too much to choose from. Below is a scan we made for the book.

Anything else you'd like to add about the exhibit?

I guess the only other thing to add is that the exhibit begins in the 18th century with Hogarth and co. and ends with the modern “graphic medicine” movement that was kicked off with Justin Green’s Binky Brown and which is today a veritable flood of remarkable graphic memoirs and other comics about illness and healing.

published simultaneously on ComicsDC and Cul de Sac blogs)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Catching up with Chris Sparks on Team Cul de Sac, OR The story of the $11,000 Bill Watterson sketch

by Mike Rhode

Team Cul de Sac was formed by my friend Chris Sparks to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation's Team Fox charity for Parkinson's Disease research. Chris did this in response to our friend Richard Thompson's fight with and death due to the disease. Ten years ago this month Chris walked into a panel at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC, and said "Who are you?" to Richard who was speaking about his comic strip Cul de Sac. It was something like love at first sight, at least on Chris' part, and when Richard was diagnosed, Chris turned his formidable attention to raising money for a cure (and you can donated at any time by clicking one of the links).


I talked with Chris after this year's Heroes Con put his fundraising at a new height when a sketch in a book by Bill Watterson sold for $11,000.

MR: How did Team Cul de Sac get started?

CS: I was fortunate enough to meet Richard Thompson (and Mike Rhode) at the 2008 Heroes Con, and then in 2009, Richard was diagnosed with Parkinson's. In 2010, I came up with the plan of making Team Cul de Sac through the Michael J. Fox Foundation's fund-raising arm, Team Fox. In 2011, we had the first Drink & Draw at Heroes Con for Team Cul de Sac (TCDS) and this was the eight anniversary of the Drink & Draw.

MR: The D&D started with cartoonists sitting around doing sketches and drinking beer, but it's gotten bigger than that, right?

CS: Mainly it's using blank coasters where they can sketch or 5x7" pieces of paper that they can draw on. We have it set up that it's between $5 and $50 for these little drawings. From there, we ask donations of larger pieces so we can auction them off for $200, 300, 500 at the larger Heroes Con art auction the following night. We've also had some live-painting events at a the D&D too.

MR: So when Richard was alive, he finally agreed to let people draw his characters to culminate in an auction and a book...

CS: The book is called Team Cul de Sac and that was released in June of 2012 after two years of wrangling cartoonists... like cats.

MR: And one of those was Bill Watterson who came out of retirement...

CS: Yes, Lee Salem asked big name cartoonists if they'd be interested, and he asked Garry Trudeau, Bill Watterson, Cathy Guisewite and Jim Davis. It was a big surprise when Bill donated an oil painting of Richard's Petey Otterloop.

MR: This past weekend's auction had another piece of art by Bill Watterson for TCDS, which I guess the third time he's done something for the charity?

Seth Peagler, who helps set up the Drink and Draw, Shelton Drum & Chris Sparks

CS: Well, it's more than that. Artwise, he did the painting, then three ghosted strips for Pearls Before Swine, then signed books for us to sell. He signed The Art of Richard Thompson, the catalog from his Ohio State University's Billy Ireland exhibit, and five softcover sets of the Complete Calvin & Hobbes as well as some posters.

This last donation was a sketch of Calvin and Hobbes in a wagon inscribed for Team Cul de Sac and that is one of maybe only two sketches that he's done for the public since retiring the strip. As he's said, "it's very rare." The drawing was 2 inches x 2 inches in a copy of The Complete Calvin & Hobbes.

We were trying to get more bidders involved so we did proxy bids to me until 8 pm on Saturday night (June 16th), and we also did an online aspect via Facebook. It was something that Heroes Con had never tried to do before so we were working the bugs out of that. We had the live auction on Saturday night at 9 pm. Heroes Con organizer Shelton Drum to help fund the show but made an exception for the auction of the Calvin piece. It went quite well. We had proxy bids up over $5000 before we started, and then as the bidding started we had two dueling bidders and it ended up selling for $11,000.

MR: And it sold to Tony Harris, the comic book artist?

CS: Yes, he and his son have a strong personal connection over reading C&H when his son was younger. When Tony saw the piece, he said, "That's going to be mine. We're going to go home with that." And he did. I'm very excited for Tony because he's a real fan of the strip and to me that makes it more special when a fan won it.

Shelton Drum, Tony Harris, and Mr. Harris' son
MR: You've mentioned in the past that you and Richard had sent a goal for TCDS fundraising of a quarter of a million dollars...

CS: The real truth of that is that I was swapping emails with Michael Cavna of The Washington Post when I first started the project and Richard and I had talked about how much money we could raise. I was very happy with $25,000 as a goal, but when I was writing back to Mr. Cavna, I put $250,000 and that's what he published. Richard and I had a good laugh about that. By mistake, I added one zero in an email I didn't check, and went from $25,000 to $250,000.

This weekend, before the D&D we had around $241,000. The D&D brought in about $5100 so we were about $4000 away. We broke the goal!

MR: So what's next for TCDS? Are you going to keep doing this every year, or do you think it's run its course?

CS: I don't think it's run its course for two reasons. Over the past ten years now, I've met so many people with Parkinson's and this is one event they really enjoy coming to. And the Heroes family has been such a part of this, and we have such a big draw now. It went from being in a little pizza place across from the convention center with five or six tables to now filling up the Westin Hotel ballroom with hundreds of people. It's a great camaraderie and it's great for fans at the show because it's a lot of art that they can afford, that's not $1,000 or $10,000 per piece. They have a good time and feel good about donating to a good cause. And one of the best parts about Team Fox is that every penny we raise goes to research. Very few charities can do that, and it's very important to me to know that the money's going to research.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Remembering Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson, the ace cartoonist from Arlington, passed away a year ago today from complications of Parkinson's disease. I still find myself thinking I need to stop in when I'm on his side of town. Take a look at some of his drawings and share a smile in his memory today.
































Thursday, August 04, 2016

Remembering Mr. Richard

by Claire Rhode

I will be eternally grateful for the time I have spent with artists. From an early age, I was my dad's frequent companion to everything from art museums to comic conventions. I met a lot of artists, but none of those I met were ever quite like Mr. Richard Thompson.

Mr. Richard was one of the artists who seemed to be around all of the time, with my knowledge of him coming from being my dad's shadow and not from any prior experience with his work (although I soon learned). Because of that, I have no memory of actually meeting him. In my (admittedly flawed) memory, he has just always been a part of my life. I remember play dates with Charlotte mostly arranged so our dads could hang out; picking up Mr. Richard for conventions; and frequent mentions of my dad "going over to Richard's for an hour" (or two or three). It seems to me that I don't have a past without Mr. Richard in it, at least tangentially, and I cannot imagine a future where he is not present at all.

It isn't just his presence in my life that has made him special to me. A lot of people have talked about his sly wit (which, quite frankly, flew over my head until recently) and his art far more eloquently than I could ever hope to, so instead I want to talk about his kindness. Mr. Richard had a knack for making everyone in the room feel seen and a part of things, even the ten-year-old in the corner reading. He would smile or crack a quick joke and no matter who he was talking to, he would make them feel included, just as if they were old friends joking around. A talent like that is a wonderful thing to have. I wish that Mr. Richard had gotten more time, for art, for his jokes, for his kindness, and, most importantly, for his family and friends, but I also know that he lived his life in a way that made a lot of people smile, and that is a wonderful gift to have given to the world.

Mr. Richard, rest in peace.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

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

WUSA: Local acclaimed illustrator dies at 58

ComicsDC's Mike Rhode:A short personal remembrance of Richard Thompson

Brian Fies: Richard Thompson

ICv2: R.I.P. RICHARD THOMPSON

Donna Lewis: So many words. So few words.

Washington Post's Michael Cavna's online obituary

Heroes Con: THANK YOU RICHARD THOMPSON

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

Scoop: In Memoriam: Richard Thompson

A Certain Line: When the laughter stops

Washington Post's Michael Cavna: These are the Richard Thompson masterpieces we’ll most remember him by

RIP: Richard Thompson, creator of “Cul de Sac” by David Malki

Encore Stage: Remembering Richard Thompson, Creator of Cul de Sac

Cartoonist Richard Thompson Dies of Parkinson's Disease by Peter Dunlap-Shohl

RIP, Richard Thompson: How the artist extends to us the hand of profound wit and humanity By Michael Cavna

Comics Journal: Tributes to Richard Thompson - Craig Fischer and Warren Bernard and Charles Hatfield

Mike Lynch: Richard Thompson 1957-2016

Comics Journal: Dancing on the Manhole Cover: The Genius of Richard Thompson by Phil Nel

Comics Journal: Obituary by Andrew Farago

ComicsDC: Claire Rhode on Remembering Mr. Richard

RIP Richard Thompson by Dana Jeri Maier

Donna Lewis' Reply All tribute

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Richard Thompson panel at 2011 Heroes Con

Heroes Con is going on this weekend in Charlotte, NC. Richard Thompson's mother was an orphan in the town, and the con is held right across the street from the former orphanage space.

We went down twice together, at the invitation of con owner Shelton Drum and his right-hand man, Dustin Harbin. Richard had a great time. Last night I stumbled across a recording that I had forgotten about, so I put it online.  I haven't listened to it since recording it, but here's Richard talking about Cul de Sac, and Parkinson's Disease.

Heroes Con 2011: Richard Thompson A Celebration


Published June 4, 2011


10:30 AM
Richard Thompson: A Celebration
Room 209 


Is Cul-De Sac the best comic strip being published today?
Perhaps, but one thing is for certain, it is the best drawn and the
funniest. Okay, that's two things. Please join Mike Rhode and
some fellow strip creators as we sit down and examine the art of Mr.
Thompson. In addition to discussing craft and daily deadlines, we will
see if Richard can provide any insight as to whether poor Petey will
make it through the entire soccer season without having a psychotic
breakdown. Ahhh, total Bliss (haven).

With Craig Fischer and Team Cul de Sac's Chris Sparks.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Compleating Cul de Sac draft in hand - a new Richard Thompson book coming soon

A Team Cul de Sac fundraiser book is coming soon!

Including all the art that was left out of Eisner-award-nominated The Complete Cul de Sac, it's 150 pages of strips, interviews and sketches.

We're pleased to provide more Richard Thompson for your viewing pleasure while supporting Parkinson's disease research.

Ordering information will be available soon after our crack team of editors (Richard, Mike Rhode, Chris Sparks and Bono Mitchell) carefully scrutinize the book to decide which errors and mistakes we can let slip through.







Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Art of Richard Thompson book excerpt: Thompson and Bill Watterson talk comics

Not a hoax. Not a joke. Not an April Fool's day trick. Here's an excerpt of the conversation of Richard Thompson and Bill Watterson from The Art of Richard Thompson, which you can buy right now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or order and wait for a copy signed by Richard from One More Page.

BILL WATTERSON: When I was a kid, I loved Peanuts, so I wanted to be the next Charles Schulz. I didn’t understand what that meant of course, but it seemed like a plan. You came to your comic strip from a different path,
however.

RICHARD THOMPSON: Yeah. Off in my own little world of being a pretend cartoonist. Without a plan.

BW: So how did you envision cartooning? What was your experience of it as a kid?

RT: Well, Schulz pretty much defined “cartoonist.” But I remember in fifth grade, a friend’s older sister had some Pogo books and we spent the day poring over them. That was the first time I understood some of the jokes. It was pretty intimidating and dense for a kid.

RT: Yeah, mostly strips. Comic books were hard to find. And a strip is a one-person deal. Not like animation, where you’ve got to work with other people.

BW: As a kid, animation just seemed out of the question to me. I wouldn’t even know how to go about doing it.

RT: It was interesting. But even when I was old enough to maybe try it, I always hated the idea of working with others.

BW: Plus, you needed film equipment and all that.

RT: Yeah. Really, though, I did cartoons without any clear thought of having a future in it.

BW: Any other strips or cartoons that had any impact as a kid?

RT: Some strange ones. There was a panel called Mr. Tweedy about a hapless little guy. I don't remember who drew it. And there was Freddy by a guy who signed as Rupe. I think he was local.

BW: I don't know either one.

RT: I think it was probably in one paper. Also, Wizard of Id... BC... And Mad Magazine of course. I discovered that when I was probably ten.

BW: I remember there was some shock value in bringing Mad home.

RT: Right. (laughs) I remember the first time I picked it up in the grocery store and said I wanted to buy this. My parents looked at it and went ickkk. But my dad finally read it and started giggling. He had a good sense of humor, thankfully.

BW: My next-door neighbor bought it regularly, and he'd bring it over and I'd pore over the drawings. Eventually I worked up the nerve to ask my mom if I could get it. There were a number of years when I really thought Mad was the cat's pajamas, although now I think it was pretty formulaic. But even as a kid, it seemed out of the mainstream of cartooning. It was off in its own world.

RT: It seemed to open up this whole subculture.

BW: Could you imagine yourself doing something in that direction?

RT: Kinda vaguely.

BW: I could never see a way in. I couldn't imagine myself drawing movie and TV satires. I guess Don Martin did the closest thing to a regular cartoon, but in that grotesque style. Or Dave Berg's whatever....

RT: The Lighter Side Of (laughs). I'd often read it first. It was always so square!

BW: Right! So what did you respond to in Mad? What aspect?

RT: Oh, the art. The Aragones drawings in the margins and stuff like that. There was no one thing. Spy vs Spy, which was kind of exotic. And of course the parodies, where you discover caricature.

BW: I marveled at Mort Drucker, but I didn't see any road between here and there. At that age, my drawing skills were pretty much limited to drawing things in side-view outlines.

RT: I would try, but... I do remember seeing David Levine drawings of Nixon in like, sixth grade, in my classroom. My teacher was an anti-Nixonite. These beautiful, elegant drawings of Nixon--I remember being fascinated by it. He was using ink like paint, almost.

BW: What, the hatching?

RT: Yeah. So elegant.

BW: I never really responded to Levine. The likenesses were strong, but sort of like stone sculpture, or something- -not warm. I dunno. I remember Oliphant's caricatures really impressed me--so wild and cartoony, compared to Drucker. But getting a likeness is really hard. What made you want to do that?

RT: Caricature was something that'd always interested me. Later, as a freelancer, I thought the more arrows in my quiver the better. When I showed the art director at the Post, Mike Keegan, some pages of caricature sketches, he was delighted. I was suddenly taken more seriously too. I remember the British show Spitting Image had just premiered, and it gave me the kick I needed.

BW: Hm, I'm trying to think what else was in the air back then...

RT: I remember we had a bunch of New Yorker cartoon books in the classroom. This is like fifth or sixth grade. The teacher would bring them from home or something.

BW: OK, you moved in more sophisticated circles than I did!

RT: I didn't quite understand them. There's a Roz Chast drawing about her as a child finding Charles Addams cartoons, and I remember finding those too, and how gruesome they were. And the painting in them was soft and..

BW: The grays?

RT: Yeah, like no one else.

BW: I was probably a bit older when I saw New Yorkers. You know, if it was a cartoon, I'd jump to read it, but I don't remember them making much impact. Well, actually, I still like George Booth a lot. He's one of the few New Yorker cartoonists whose drawings are funny.

RT: I remember being impressed with New Yorker cartoons, but I probably didn't understand much.

BW: How about comic books? Nothing?

RT: Some. They were hard to find. I'd find them occasionally, and then I'd probably whine 'til I got them. If they were Batmans.

BW: Really, they were hard to find? My town had three drugstores that used to carry them, and I'd get them sometimes, but superhero comics didn't do a lot for me.

RT: Archie and whatnot... I had a few of those but I was never really into them.

BW: One summer my neighbor gave me this huge box of Archie comic books, and I read them in the car on some family vacation. I have no idea where he got them, but there were a zillion of the things, so my brother and I sat in the back seat reading one after another until it nearly killed us. We read ten thousand Archie comic books and they were all exactly the same.

RT: And the drawings are so clean.

BW: Yeah, very slick. Even then I thought they were dumb and outdated. It's a bizarre memory. How about underground comix? Did they have any impact on you?

RT: Some. I came late to undergrounds. I had friends who collected them (Henry Allen has Zap #0) but my main exposure was all in histories and anthologies. I liked, revered Crumb, though he is overwhelming, and thought Wonder Warthog was freaking hilarious.

BW: I saw some in college and I liked Wonder Warthog too, but on the whole, the undergrounds didn't make much connection. I preferred sillier, more cartoony stuff, I suppose.

What non-cartoon things made an impression on you as a kid?

RT: My folks liked doing things and making me a part of it. I remember when the Mona Lisa came to town. I was about six. We stood in line for a long time. Red draperies and guards every few feet, and then  ventually, there it is. My mom liked it a lot. The whole way, she was telling me what an important painting it was and the story of it. She had a great appreciation for culture. She didn’t have any great understanding of it so much as just liked it, I guess.

BW: Wow, I guess you’re one of the few people who’s ever seen it without a foot of bulletproof glass in front of it.

RT: I think so. You couldn’t get right up to it--there were velvet ropes. But you could breathe the same air. (BW laughs)

BW: I don’t remember much exposure to fine art--just the popular culture of the day. I think of my childhood as the Batman TV show, the Beatles, and the moon landings. Although I do remember in middle school there were a few years when I read all the Doctor Dolittle books. I loved those--the idea of talking to animals. A PETA sensibility ahead of its time. It probably had some subliminal influence on my strip. What aspects of pop culture did you participate in?

RT: Well yes, the moon landings and take-offs. You knew it was important when the teacher pushed the TV into the classroom.

Jump over to Richard's Cul de Sac blog for more discussion on comic strips.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Eric Shansby painting for Team Cul de Sac

Washington Post cartoonist Eric Shansby has done a painting for Team Cul de Sac's fundraising effort to defeat Parkinson's disease. The painting will be auctioned this spring, but money can be donated at any time.

Shansby took over illustrating Gene Weingarten's Below the Beltway column from Richard Thompson, when Thompson moved on to doing Cul de Sac.

The painting shows Alice and Petey from Cul de Sac, climbing on Ben Franklin, an inspiration for Richard's other Washington Post strip, Richard's Poor Almanac. It is acrylic on canvas board and measures approximately 9"x12".

The painting will also be reproduced in the forthcoming fundraising book, Compleating Cul de Sac, which includes interviews, sketches and 100 Washington Post strips left out of the Complete Cul de Sac.