Cul de Sac ends

Alice Otterloop refuses to leave the beach in this August "Cul de Sac"

Cul de Sac, the daily comic about the fun, wacky, and neurotic Otterloops, is coming to an end. Creator Richard Thompson has decided the end his beloved comic in September as the result of his ongoing Parkinson’s treatment. A formal announcement was made last Friday. The last installment will run in September 23.

“Cul de Sac” debuted in The Washington Post in 2004. The Otterloops live in a suburb near DC’s beltway; Thompson resides with his family in Arlington, Virginia. The comic was picked up by Universal Press Syndicate in 2007 for daily syndication. From UPS’s announcement: “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.”

Thompson announced earlier this year that Stacy Curtis would take over inking duties. In June over 100 artists contributed interpretations of the Otterloops for Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’sAn oil painting of Petey Otterloop by Bill Watterson sold at auction for over $13,000 at a related sale.

On his blog, Curtis lamented Thompson’s disease and the ultimate outcome of their work together: ” I felt the inking I did was adequate. There were no huge missteps, but at the same time, the strip which beautifully radiated from one source had been compromised by having someone else’s hand in it.”

Both Thompson and Curtis have noted that the reports that “Cul de Sac” is ending has taken on the tone of a eulogy; Thompson says that he feels like Tom Sawyer watching his own funeral. It’s hard not to feel that way, because the eight-year strip is ending, bringing a sudden halt to the Otterloop’s adventures. Thompson seems to be a beloved figure in his community, and his blog is a portal to his personality. He is effusive, self-deprecating, humble, and kind. He is occasionally mentioned in other pages of The Washington Post; I once read a column by Carolyn Hax that off-handedly spoke to his caring personality and level-headedness.

I will miss “Cul de Sac” terribly. I loved reading it in The Washington Post, and I looked forward to it every day, particularly when I left home to live in New York, when the jokes about beltway traffic felt especially true now that I didn’t have to experience it first-hand.

I wish Thompson all the best in his treatment and recovery. I plan to pretend that Alice is continuing to rule the playground as part of her long-term plan to run Capitol Hill.

Source: Richard’s Poor Almanac

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