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

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,

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.

Friday, January 16, 2015

"The Art of Richard Thompson"

"The Art of Richard Thompson"

Named the Outstanding Cartoonist of 2010 by the National Cartoonists Society, Richard Thompson is best known for his syndicated series, Cul de Sac. But his work encompasses much more, and in this colorful career retrospective, six of his peers present the different facets of Thompson's art. Join Galifianakis, Washington Post cartoonist and author of If You Loved Me, You'd Think This Was Cute, Weingarten, Pulitzer-winning journalist who writes The Washington Post's "Below the Beltway" column, and Apatoff, an illustration scholar whose recent work includes a biography of illustrator Robert Fawcett. They will be interviewed by Michael Cavna, writer, artist, and lapsed cartoonist now producing The Washington Post's "Comic Riffs." (Andrews McMeel)

Founded by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade in 1984, Politics & Prose Bookstore is Washington, D.C.'s premier independent bookstore and cultural hub, a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books. Politics & Prose offers superior service, unusual book choices, and a haven for book lovers in the store and online. Visit them on the web at

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Art of Richard Thompson at Politics and Prose

Politics and Prose had a good turnout for a discussion of The Art of Richard Thompson book. They video'd the talk, but until they put it online you can go to for unofficial audio. Here's official Richard Thompson photographer Bruce Guthrie's take.

They have about 20 signed (but not by Richard who was too sick to appear) books for sale.

Michael Cavna, P&P owner, Nick Galifianakis

Moderator Michael Cavna

Co-writer David Apatoff (in blue) with his wife the author Nell Minnow

Gene Weingarten realizing he's going to have to talk

Britt Conley, who massaged and color-corrected all the scans

Gene Weingarten recounting his stalking of Bill Watterson

Nick G thanking everyone who worked on the book

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Watterson's comic art to benefit Parkinsons research in honor of Richard Thompson

The reclusive creator's artwork from the recently finished three-day collaboration with Stephen Pastis on Pearls Before Swine will sell Aug. 8, 2014 at Heritage Auctions, proceeds to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

DALLAS – The original artwork for the recent three comic strip collaboration between Bill Watterson, the cartooning genius behind the much-loved Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, and Pearls Before Swine cartoonist Stephen Pastis – taking place in a three day run in June 2014 in Pearls – will be sold at Heritage Auctions on Aug. 8, 2014, with proceeds from the sale benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

"Anytime original Bill Watterson comic art shows up for auction it's a huge deal," said Todd Hignite, Vice President at Heritage Auctions. "His collaboration with Stephan Pastis was an unexpected treat for his millions of fans. Now, thanks to this auction, fans will get to take the original art home while raising money for a great cause."

The collaboration between the two artists came at the suggestion of Watterson and was immediately embraced by an overwhelmed Pastis, who, like some many modern cartoonists, was greatly influenced by Watterson and Calvin and Hobbes. The trajectory of the three strip arc follows Pastis' comic strip alter-ego as he turns the drawing of the comic over to a precocious second-grader named Libby for three days. The results are both wickedly funny and uniquely Watterson, while remaining true to the sharp humor that defines the Pearls Before Swine strip.

At Watterson's request, the artwork is being sold on behalf of Team Cul de Sac, a non-profit charity established by editor/designer Chris Sparks on behalf of  Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson, who is battling Parkinson's Disease – a piece of artwork done by Watterson depicting one of Thompson's Cul de Sac characters sold in 2012 as part of a charity auction to benefit Team Cul de Sac – and the profits from the sale of the original art (Heritage is waiving the seller's fee on the artwork and will also contribute half of the Buyer's Premium) will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world's third largest, with annual sales of more than $900 million, and 850,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A few pictures of Al Feldstein

AP is reporting that the great Mad Magazine editor Al Feldstein has passed away. I knew him slightly. He used to send seriously leftist emails to people he knew. I will set about saving them for a the Billy Ireland Library at Ohio State.

That's Craig Fischer, Richard Thompson, Roger Langridge and Al.

100_3977 Mike Rhode w Al Feldstein at Baltimore Comic-Con 2007
Mike Rhode with Al Feldstein at Baltimore Comic-Con 2007

Al and a fan at Heroes Con.

Al and Ben Towle at Heroes Con.

More pictures from the 2008 Heroes Con are here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shelton Drum's original comic art exhibit in Southern VA

"Heroes Aren't Hard to Find: The Comic Art Collection of Shelton Drum" exhibit at the William King Museum, Abingdon, VA, is absolutely fantastic, especially for someone around age 50-60. Shelton bought the art that we all would have, especially Spider-Man pages. Here's a set of pictures I snapped quickly, which don't do the art justice.

Why mention this on ComicsDC? Because local hero Richard Thompson is represented with two Cul de Sac strips.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Richard Thompson's medical status

I've just spoken to Richard's wife Amy and found out that he'll be discharged from the hospital to a local nursing facility for days of physical, occupational and speech therapy. He did fine with his first day of a new hip, but of course the Parkinsons that caused the fall will not make this recovery easy.

She's also planning on giving him his iPad soon so he'll be able to read email directly, without responding in his morphine dreams.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

'Complete Cul de Sac'/show with Watterson in 2014

Look for the 656-page Complete Cul de Sac (Andrews McMeel Publishingin May 2014, reports Reuben Award-winning cartoonist Richard Thompson on his blog. “Annotated, copyedited, collated, and now covered. The only thing left to be done is the printing and gluing it or sewing or whatever they do to make it hold together. And, of course, buying it,” Thompson writes. Now the second big announcement: Thompson will join cartoonist Bill Watterson (yes, of Calvin & Hobbs fame) for a two-man exhibit in 2014 at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Santa Clinton?

Here's a special Christmas treat for ComicsDC readers.

Anybody have any idea what this cartoon is from, and who did it? (don't click through to see the original yet)

Capital Christmas - Richard Thompson

No? How about this one?

Capital Christmas - Kevin Rechin


Capital Christmas - Nick Galifianakis

Or these?

Capital Christmas - Joe Azar

Capital Christmas - Ron Coddington

Capital Christmas - Peter Steiner

Capital Christmas - Sam Ward

Capital Christmas - Mike Lane

Capital Christmas - John Kascht

They were originally grouped like this:

Capital Christmas - bag 2

Scroll down for the answer:

Give up? It's a shopping bag from Tyson's Corner mall from 1994. 

 Capital Christmas bag

According to Kirstin Downey Grimsley in the Washington Post (November 1, 1994), "This year Tysons Corner Center is unveiling something specially designed for the mall. Mall spokesmen are calling it 'A Capital Christmas,' and it will offer a whimsical greeting tied to the region's role as nation's capital."Apparently that included a shopping bag with "cartoon illustrations of President Bill Clinton portraying Santa Claus." The cartoons (in this order) are by local creators Richard Thompson, Kevin Rechin, Nick Galifianakis, Joe Azar, Ron Coddington, Peter Steiner, Sam Ward, Mike Lane and John Kascht - some of whom have since moved out of the area.

Thanks to Richard Thompson for the gift of the bag and to he and Nick for identifying some of the cartoonists. Easier-to-read greyscale illustrations can be seen here.
Capital Christmas - Joe Azar b&w

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Get a Cul de Sac ornament for 50% off tonight

Richard Thompson has an ornament of Alice dancing on the manhole cover for sale at Cafe Press. Tonight you can get it for 1/2 price ($6.25) by putting in the code SPRUCE at checkout. I assume Richard still gets his full share of the sale.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Keeping up with Cyborg Richard Thompson's treatment part 2

Nick Galifianakis @ 11:25
 Another Cartoonist Brain Update:

Surgery started at 9:35. Richard is conscious (yoicks!) and doing great; they're testing as they go, and everything is good so far. They are about to start on the second hemisphere. The next update will probably include comments from the surgeon.

For those of you that have not had this kind of brain surgery: Richard is having a chip implanted in his brain in hopes of greatly alleviating his Parkinson's symptoms. Because everyone is different, his brain must be "listened to" and monitored while they search for just the right spot for maximum impact.

More later...
and Amy, Richard's wife has reported now that he's out of surgery, and "Everything went great!"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Local cartoonists and the 9-11 comic strip

Comic Riffs recently ran an article about comic strips doing a 9-11 commmemorative. We've got four strip local creators, so I asked them - are you doing a 9-11 strip?

Donna Lewis of "Reply All":

Yes. :-)

USA Today has a preview panel here and they included a panel of mine. :-) (very honored).

Richard Thompson of "Cul de Sac":

No, I didn't do one. I couldn't find a graceful way of putting a 9-11 comment into the small world of Cul de Sac that didn't diminish the commentary and the strip. The one cartoon on 9-11 that's stayed with me over the last decade is a Tom the Dancing Bug from a few weeks after the actual event. It's here. I couldn't offer anything as eloquent as that. For what it's worth I'm going to post three old cartoons I did on 9-11 on my blog.

Gene Weingarten, writer of "Barney & Clyde":

Yep, we have one.

Kevin Rechin, artist of "Crock" could not be reached for comment.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cul de Sac and Reply All pick up papers

Congratulations, friends!

Meet Lizzie, the latest addition to the Pioneer Press comics page lineup (this is an interview with Donna)
By Molly Guthrey, Pioneer Press 08/27/2011

'Cul de Sac' returns to E-N; Sunday strip that ran on a trial basis in 2008 chronicles the life of a chatty preschooler.
By René A. Guzman
 San Antonio Express-News August 28, 2011