Friday, August 24, 2012

Cul de Sac comic strip to retire

I've been a fan of Richard Thompson's comic strip, Cul de sac since it debuted roughly five years ago.

Sadly, it is coming to an untimely end, due to the cartoonist's ongoing -- and increasingly more difficult -- battle with Parkinson's disease.

This statement is from Universal Press Syndicate's Lee Salem:

On September 9, 2007, the remarkable talent of Richard Thompson hit the newspaper pages in the comic strip Cul de Sac. The buzz began even before the strip debuted; Bill Watterson emerged from his retirement to praise the strip’s writing, artwork and imagination. In May, 2011, Richard received the Cartoonist of the Year award from the National Cartoonists Society, an amazing achievement in so short a time. 
But the last year has been a struggle for Richard. Parkinson’s Disease, first diagnosed in 2009, has so weakened him that he is unable to meet the demands of a comic strip. For a time, he worked with another artist, but the deadlines became too much of a task. So it is with personal and professional sadness that I inform you he has decided to end Cul de Sac. The last strip (an original) will be run on Sunday September 23, 2012.
A little background: For several years it has been felt by many cartoonists, newspaper syndicate editors and comic strip fans that the era of the 'great newspaper comic strip' had passed. In fact, nothing had come along since the late 80's to strike the fancy of readers like Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side or Peanuts, long before them. Sure, Dilbert was popular, right after Calvin was retired, but no one really felt it was a true equal to the aforementioned features, (certainly on the basis of universal appeal with adults and kids...and possibly art as well.)

Then, Cul de Sac came along with its wit and charm. It even felt like Calvin and Hobbes in its playful tone.

Certainly the landscape of comic strips is not the same these days, with newspaper readership down, and plethora of cartoons available in so many other venues. But still, a great impression was made.

It is sad to see the comic end...yet, despite all this, Richard had a stellar five year run...particularly remarkable after starting the comic strip well into his cartooning career. (Richard was and is a successful freelance advertising cartoonist and illustrator, and started Cul de Sac at the age of 50.)

Here's wishing Richard and his family the very best in navigating his illness.

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