Richard Thompson’s Cul de Sac is the best comic strip of the past decade, hands down. Not that others weren’t entertaining, but Cul de Sac had something extra. Thompson’s Petey and Alice are two of the most human characters to ever grace the funny pages. They don’t repeat tired routines or robotically belch out punch lines. Rather, they just keep developing new fears, new likes and dislikes, and new ways to make us laugh.
Awhile back, Richard Thompson asked other comic strip artists to try their hands at portraying his caracters. I thought about this challenge long and hard and came up with this strip, in which Alice meets another four-year-old who lived on another cul de sac some twenty years ago.
Yes, that was me as a four-year-old. Alice and I shared the same fear of/fascination with tube-y play equipment, the same favorite toy, and the same fascination with big ugly junk at that age. I just couldn’t resist theorizing on what would happen if we had met in real life.
I’m so sad to see Cul de Sac end. In a way, it’s like the strip will never grow up with the kids (and adults) who’ve been reading it and loving it for the past eight years. Cul de Sac’s humor is timeless, but the memories it created are unique to this generation. Children at the turn of the last century had The Yellow Kid. Teens in the 1980s had Bloom County. And comic strip fans from this decade will always remember Cul de Sac. Years from now, they’ll be telling their own kids, “We couldn’t wait to get the paper, so we could read Cul de Sac. It was always funny”. Thak you, Richard Thompson, for giving us those memorable laughs. We’ll never forget you or your work.