Richard Thompson (cartoonist)
Richard C. Thompson (born 1957) is an illustrator and cartoonist best known for his syndicated comic strip Cul de Sac and the illustrated poem "Make the Pie Higher". He was given the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year for 2010.
Cul de Sac
Thompson did numerous humorous illustrations to accompany feature articles in The Washington Post. His comic strip Cul de Sac focuses on a pre-school girl, Alice Otterloop, and her daily life at school and at home. It began as a Sunday feature in the Washington Post Magazine and was launched in more than 70 newspapers in the fall of 2007. It is distributed nationally as both a daily and Sunday by Universal Press Syndicate.
The first book collection of Cul de Sac strips, published in 2008 by Andrews McMeel, includes the pre-syndication Washington Post strips in color, as well as a foreword by Bill Watterson, who praised Thompson's work:
- I thought the best newspaper comic strips were long gone, and I've never been happier to be wrong. Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac has it all--intelligence, gentle humor, a delightful way with words, and, most surprising of all, wonderful, wonderful drawings. Cul de Sac's whimsical take on the world and playful sense of language somehow gets funnier the more times you read it. Four-year-old Alice and her Blisshaven Preschool classmates will ring true to any parent. Doing projects in a cloud of glue and glitter, the little kids manage to reinterpret an otherwise incomprehensible world via their meandering, nonstop chatter. But I think my favorite character is Alice's older brother, Petey. A haunted, controlling milquetoast, he's surely one of the most neurotic kids to appear in comics. These children and their struggles are presented affectionately, and one of the things I like best about Cul de Sac is its natural warmth. Cul de Sac avoids both mawkishness and cynicism and instead finds genuine charm in its loopy appreciation of small events. Very few strips can hit this subtle note.
In 2009, Andrews McMeel published a second Cul de Sac collection, Children at Play, featuring a foreword by Mo Willems.
Richard's Poor Almanac
His cartoon series Richard's Poor Almanac appears weekly (usually on Saturdays) in The Washington Post Style section. A compendium of his Richard's Poor Almanac cartoons was published by Emmis Books in 2005.
The Richard's Poor Almanac cartoon published the week of George W. Bush's first inauguration was a mock inaugural poem, "Make the Pie Higher," composed of some of Bush's more incoherent quotations, aka Bushisms. When "Make the Pie Higher" was leaked onto the Internet, it spread rapidly and was eventually dissected and analyzed on Snopes.com, which did a lengthy review of its origins. The poem has been set to music at least five times in various styles, including Irish and choral music.
In 2010, Thompson wrote and illustrated "Barney Google and the Bigfoot Style", the foreword for Craig Yoe's Barney Google: Gambling, Horse Races & High-Toned Women (Yoe Books/IDW, 2010).
He received the National Cartoonists Society's Magazine and Book Illustration Award for 1995, plus their Newspaper Illustration Award for 1995. He won a Gold and a Silver Funny Bone Award in 1989 from the Society of Illustrators for humorous illustration. Thompson received the Milton F. "Sonny" Clogg Alumni of the Year award in 2004 from his alma mater, Montgomery College, from which he did not graduate.
On May 28, 2011, Thompson was awarded the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, presented by the National Cartoonists Society.
Thompson is a long-time resident of Arlington, Virginia.
On July 16, 2009, Thompson announced that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a problem he described as "a pain in the fundament" which has slowed him down but has not affected his drawing hand. Stephan Pastis, creator of Pearls Before Swine, described Thompson as "probably the most talented all-around syndicated cartoonist working today" and praised the courage and optimism he has shown in revealing his illness. Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson's is a book that features the work of Watterson and other cartoonists, who rallied together to raise money to benefit Team Fox, the fundraising arm of the Michael J. Fox Foundation that is working to find a cure for Parkinson's disease.
- Cul de Sac (2008)
- Children at Play: A Cul de Sac Collection (2009)
- Cul de Sac Golden Treasury: A Keepsake Garland of Classics (2010)
- Shapes & Colors: A Cul de Sac Collection (2010)
- The Mighty Alice: A Cul de Sac Collection (2012)
- Comics Reporter: Interview with Richard Thompson, January 25, 2008.
- Snopes: "Make the Pie Higher"
- Cul De Sac Blog "Some News"
- Official Pearls before Swine Blog: "Some News about Courage"
- Spurgeon, Tom. "March 26, 2012: Stacy Curtis Joins Richard Thompson On Cul De Sac". The Comics Reporter, March 26, 2012.
- "Comic Riffs", May 19, 2011
- Cul de Sac archive
- Newsarama: Zack Smith: The Strip Thing: Richard Thompson on Cul de Sac (October 16, 2008)
- Richard Thompson's blog
- Universal Press Syndicate: Richard Thompson
- Comics Reporter interview, January 25, 2008
- "Post Magazine: Meet Cartoonist Richard Thompson", The Washington Post, September 11, 2006
- "Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Richard Thompson", Washington City Paper, Mike Rhode, December 9, 2010
- "Episode 60 - Richard Thompson", Tall Tale Radio, Tom Racine, November 16, 2009
- "Episode 42 - Comic Con Syndication Panel", Tall Tale Radio, Tom Racine, August 10, 2009