Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Last Cul de Sac

I have a confession to make about a habit of mine, one I engage in daily and that I rarely mention: the first thing I do in morning…well, the first thing after I take the dogs out to pee, make coffee and feed the critters…the first thing I do when I finally sit down with a cup of coffee is open up the paper to the comics page.

Yes, my name is Kathleen and I'm a daily comics reader.

There, I've said it.

Over the last year or so, after my friend Karl mentioned it was his favorite strip, I started reading a little comic called Cul de Sac. It's so understated, with its sketchy lines, jiggety font and subtle characters, that it had never drawn my attention. But once I started reading it, I was hooked.

On Alice and her penchant for dancing on manhole covers. On her brother Petey, who spends most of his time on his bed reading comics (of course) and monitoring his ranking on the Picky Eater scale. And on the other characters who populate their world, like their mom and her habit of wearing loud Christmas sweater, hapless Dill whose brothers may someday blow up the planet, Miss Bliss, the preternaturally perky preschool teacher…the list could go on and on.

But this last Sunday's strip was to be the final one, due to Richard Thompson, its author, having been diagnosed recently with Parkinson's disease, which has made it impossible to continue with his work.

Selfishly, I'm sad to lose these little characters who've been a part of my mornings. And I'm sad for Thompson, whose brilliant mind made them come alive on the page. But I'll still open the paper every morning and read my comics, glad that I got to know Alice and her friends if only for a little while.

Cul de Sac comic above by Richard Thompson from Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, and Nov. 25, 2007. Read his blog here.

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