WE GOT YOUR SIGNED COPIES OF THE COMPLETE CUL DE SAC RIGHT HERE!

Richard Thompson, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, has graciously offered to sign copies of this beautiful boxed set when you place your order through One More Page. Because cartoonists, like banjo players, are lovable but unpredictable, we can't guarantee a delivery time. We thank you in advance for your support, and your patience. Click here to order or call us at 703-300-9746.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

THE HARD SELL CONTINUES EVEN HARDER

NEW DESIGNS IN

IT'S A POSTER!
ALMOST 2000 READERS VIEWED THIS CARTOON THANKS TO THE SHARP EYES AND IMPECCABLE TASTE OF MISS KATE BEATON 
ON ITS FIRST APPEARANCE IN CARD FORM. SO WE MADE IT INTO A POSTER!


BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE-
THERE'S


THE ONLY CARD  IN OUR LINE OF
"THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID"
CARDS

THOMPSONIANA
"SAY IT THREE TIMES IN FRONT OF A MIRROR
AND YOU'LL BE
A LAUGHING-STOCK
AND THE OBJECT OF
SOME CONCERN."©

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Some Unseen Cul de Sacs


Sometimes I feel like I'm shaking these out of my sleeves, like Harpo Marx does with silverware.  These  are either too local or too unfunny to be in the Complete. So they'll go in the Compleat.

This one manages to be both- 


The real Alice wouldn't be so smarmy-


Here's one that became  obsolete because so many gags sprung from it-


What's the first appearance of Mr. Otterloop's car?


There!  Some additions to the Apocrycypha for all those who keep track.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sophomore

My older daughter, Emma. just left for her sophomore year at VCU. She has an apartment this year and couldn't wait to leave, which is understandable, but I was in no hurry. Of course, I thought the summer flew by too. I always swore I wouldn't do a my-kids-are-so-cute blogposts. But she's 150 miles away, so why not?

Here are some drawings Emma inspired over the years.



She was an inspiration even before she was born. Let's see the rest of that Why Things Are illustration-


Eew is right. Here's a rough for an old Almanac-


And the final, which is in the collection of my dad-



And, to complete her embarrassment, the digital debut of an Almanac she did write, in 2002, Picnic-


(The part I like best are Emma's hands; they fidget just right.) The original hangs in our hall, festooned with a multicolored county fair ribbon that says Grand Champion (poetry, 10 and under),
 which came with a check for $15, a lot of money for a five-year-old. Emma, at about the same age, would take small rocks from the back yard and draw smiling faces on them. Then she'd release them into the wild to be found by future, puzzled generations. This sparked a sequence in CdS where Alice did the same thing; one of the few times the strip was so beholden to reality. That's Emma's sister, Charlotte, singing back-up. She's the tallest one in the family and she knows archery and lives at home. If you think I'm going to do any blogposts about what she does, you're crazy.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

THE HARD SELL CONTINUES

HERE ARE SOME NEW IMAGES AVAILABLE TO THE DISCRIMINATING CONSUMER FROM  THOMPSONIANA, YOUR FINE CARTOON BOUTIQUE.



This 20- step card is useful and educational, yet practical and an object of great craftsmanship too!



We've entitled this card the Old Heave-Ho; it's filed under "tragic."


Finally! A man's cap that won't bind or unduly squeeze his head, causing him to lose consciousness, while retaining its stylishness! And right on the front it says Cul de Sac! Correct spelling guaranteed at no extra cost!

WATCH FOR MORE FINE PRODUCTS AT

Friday, August 15, 2014

Unseen Cul de Sac; the Bay



I'm currently sitting at a table in my old friend Bono Mitchell's family Chesapeake Bay house, on Kent island, you cross the Bay Bridge and make a right, go 7 miles and boom, you're there. I was last here 23 years ago and from what I can tell, apart from ongoing upkeep and the usual small improvements, it hasn't changed at all, thank god.

So I thought it appropriate to inflict this old CdS on you. It's scanned from the Post by the indispensable Mike Rhode, because the original's somewhere in the depths of my studio. The Oterloops were on the way to one of the Maryland beaches, probably Geek's Neck, and you cross the Bay Bridge to get there.*

I'm, I think, justifiably proud of that view of the Bridge in panel 3.

*Please refer to your copy of the Map of Cul de Sac and Adjacent Places.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

One Stop Shopping for All Your Cartoon Needs

If you will direct your attention to the lower right for a moment, you'll notice, amidst the tangle of links, a link to something called the Thompsoniana Store. This is because I'm gradually consolidating all my Zazzle stores into one big Thompson megastore, a place you'll find is more amenable to your cartoon shopping requirements. Eventually you'll be able to pretty much furnish your life with items featuring my old drawings, from stationary to tote bags. Then I will be eligible for my own public television station. And, hey, they're having a 50% off sale on all posters! I can't think of a better time to order the Map of Cul de Sac and Adjacent Places, can you?


Monday, August 11, 2014

Candide: the Ever-Unfinished Version

Candide is almost too illustratable. I used to know what I'm talking about, I knew the book inside-out (no great accomplishment, it's about 100 pages), I'd read 3 or 4 biographies of Voltaire (he never said, "I disagree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it." and was a bit of a war-profiteer. Still, he had guts.) I coulda told you what provoked him into writing Candide (Alexander Pope and an earthquake in Lisbon I think, but then, nobody ever asked me). Candide, encountered at the right time in life, is a bit like Vonnegut or Heller in the unearned wisdom department; the world's a crappy place, and mom, stop using that new detergent on my laundry, it smells funny.

Maybe I'm just being cranky in the presence of so much of my of juvenilia. I was  inspired to try illustrating it from the age of about 20, when I first read Candide (by accident; in a Pogo book I was also reading, Porky the Porcupine is identified in the notes as the swamp's Alceste and I thought, hey, I gotta read that. But I got Candide confused somehow with The Misanthrope, a play by Neil Simon).

Candide is a comic strip in prose; a fast-paced picaresque yarn and a bitter satire of religion and society written when that sort of thing was dangerous. It was almost dashed off (the changes in tenses make it somehow even funnier and more immediate). Those familiar with the Bernstein musical (me! ooh, me!) know that it is not Voltaire's Candide, despite the smashing tunes. It's Candide with a happier ending. When you hear that Bernstein, who was writing West Side Story concurrently swapped out some songs ("One hand, one heart" was first in Candide) you're impressed at his virtuosity. But such emotions are foreign to Voltaire's Candide. Productions of   Bernstein's operetta tend to emphasize the crazy funhouse side, using puppets, masks and other inventive theatrical effects lavishly. My brother's theater, Arena Stage, put a on about 18 years ago and I remember it as full of trapdoors, magic tricks and suchlike coups de theater.

Maybe that's what makes Candide so alluring to illustrators; it's so much damn fun. And artists as diverse as Paul Klee and Rockwell Kent have responded, with varying degrees of success (I like Klee's more than Kent's). So, 20-year-old me, what's your take on Candide?  


I was deep in my Ronald Searle phase. I'd recently discovered him and was emulating all his tropes and techniques without, of course, understanding them. Pat Oliphant said that everyone goes through a Searle stage; the trick was in pulling out once you'd learned what you needed to.


It's a very decorative style, and that limits what can be done with it. Although I remember it as liberating; what you can do with ink. But the drawings weren't right. It needed something  smaller and faster.


This comes from 1986. I know because it says,"this is my favorite drawing of 1986" below it. I guess it was a slow year. It's certainly small and fast. I like the lettering and the scratchiness especially in comparison with the smooth flow of the lines in the preceding drawings.


 I've posted this before but here it's in context. I think it's the most (only?) successful Candide illustration so far. I love the cross-hatching, stolen, if I recall, from Brad Holland, and I like the character of Dr. Pangloss.

I last tried to illustrate Candide about two years ago. The only result was a pile of torn up drawings.That's the problem with Candide; it's unillustratable.