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Richard Thompson to retire Cul de Sac
Richard Thompson, the creator of Cul de Sac, has decided to retire the strip next month. In a letter to newspapers, Universal Uclick’s Lee Salem writes:
On September 9, 2007, the remarkable talent of Richard Thompson hit the newspaper pages in the comic strip Cul de Sac. The buzz began even before the strip debuted; Bill Watterson emerged from his retirement to praise the strip’s writing, artwork and imagination. In May, 2011, Richard received the Cartoonist of the Year award from the National Cartoonists Society, an amazing achievement in so short a time.
But 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. So it is with personal and professional sadness that I inform you he has decided to end Cul de Sac. The last strip (an original) will be run on Sunday September 23, 2012.
In a Q&A released by Universal, Richard explains why he made this difficult decision:
Q: Can you tell us a little about why you’ve decided to suspend Cul De Sac?
A. I was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in the summer of 2009. At first it didn’t affect my drawing, but that’s gradually changed. Last winter I got an excellent cartoonist, Stacy Curtis, to ink my roughs, which was a great help. But now I’ve gotten too unreliable to produce a daily strip.
Q: Did you consider using a full-time artist and continuing?
A. Yeah, I considered everything: hiring an artist, going Sunday-only, trying to do the whole thing with Photoshop, leaving blank pages on my drawing board overnight and hoping elves would show up and draw some strips. But none of the solutions I came up with satisfied me. They all seemed to suck the fun of the job. And really, if you’re going to have a job as intensive as drawing a comic strip, it’d better be fun.
Q. What’s your prognosis?
A. Parkinson’s is incurable, but it is treatable to a certain extent. The treatment combines medication and movement exercises designed to slow the progress of the disease. You pretty much have to run as fast as you can to stay in the same place. And I’m in line for a procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation where a neurosurgeon attaches jumper cables to your brain.
The last strip will run September 23rd.