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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On the Digital Drawing Board

One of several pieces for the British Columbia Government Employee's Assoc.

Some work for a new version of an Intel Corporation commercial.

A political cartoon commissioned to fight a California Senate bill.

A political cartoon on Romney's VP pick of Paul Ryan.

Another of several Merk Funds cartoons this month.

A cartoon for a book on online dating for NY author Peter Millrose

One of many pieces for a greeting card company in Florida

Also on the board: Some corporate advertising work, as well as a couple of fun book illustrations jobs...(can't show anything from those yet, as I signed confidentiality agreements precluding sharing of concepts or images until they are published.)

Summer fun in the mountains

A week away in the mountains certainly clears the dust from one's cerebral cortex. No drawing, no writing...not even cell phones. (Very few opportunities for that these days.)

We recently took a family trip to the Keystone area for a little R&R. It is one of our favorite places to relax because of its beauty, quiet and plethora of fun activities. (I came to Colorado for the skiing, but found that there is much more to do in the mountains during the summer than in the winter.)

We stay in a family-friendly condo complex in  Keystone's "River Run", up against the mountains, allowing us quick access to mountain bike trails and horse back riding, even the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory...and lots of swimming in the pool, too, (thanks to my daughter, who could live half her life in the water if she was allowed to do so.) This time around we did not go white river rafting, (not enough time to fit it all in). All of it was tremendously fun. A sampling:

                                    Hula hoop prowess, (or lack thereof, in my case.)

  Horseback riding on some mountain trails. (Those horses can climb, and eat saplings along the way.)

A mountain bike ride on the Vail Pass bike path...leading from Vail to Copper Mountain, then to Frisco and eventually Breckenridge. Absolutely breathtaking mountain ranges and scenery. We've spied eagles, Elk, deer, even the rare bear in the river. - My wife asked Julia and I to 'flex our muscles' after doing a tough vertical climb...Julia (having not seen as many Arnold Schwarzenegger movies as I have) is not  familiar with the mechanics of flexing, but got the hand clench part.

Julia, dodging a little stream run-off.....                           and later, feeding the trout and ducks.