I first became aware of Richard Thompson’s daily comic strip “Cul De Sac” when the news broke that Bill Watterson had written an introduction to the first collected volume. Bill Watterson? The reclusive “Calvin & Hobbes” creator had taken a break from whittling logs into clarinets or whatever to speak well of this very new comic strip? This must be something special.
And indeed! Despite running in newspapers, this is a great comic strip. The characters are eccentric in ways that continually delight and surprise. I read individual strips in bits and pieces (here’s the strip’s official online home), but it wasn’t until I sat down with the full books in-hand that Alice, Petey, and their parents and friends took on strange and hilarious personalities. The language is clever and specific; the drawings are weird and delightful.
I had the pleasure of seeing some of Richard’s original art at Heroes Con this year, and it’s phenomenal. Despite the scratchy-looking style, it’s very precise, very controlled. The watercolored strips in the first collection are particularly lovely. There’s something about seeing the work of a master well-versed in his craft — despite “Cul De Sac” only being a few years old, Richard has been a professional cartoonist for decades — that’s tremendously inspiring. BASICALLY WHAT I AM SAYING IS that I really like this strip and these books!
These Books Are For: Fans of “Calvin & Hobbes”, “FoxTrot” or goodness