Here is a piece of art by Karl Kesel that will be in the new Team Cul de Sac book which is available for pre-order. It will be out next month. I grew up seeing Richard Thompson’s wonderful work in the pages of the Washington Post, so I was very sad to hear he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Proceeds from this book will go to Michael J. Fox’s Parkinsons research project. Here is one of the press releases for the Team Cul de Sac project.
There are about 150 great artists whose work appears in the book. Just a handful of the names you will recognize include Jim Davis, Bill Amend, Sergio Aragones, Mort Walker, Gary Trudeau, Patrick Oliphant, Cathy Guisewite, Tom Richmond, Patrick McDonnell, Lynn Johnston, Bill Watterson, and Robert Steibel.
Okay, so I’m not as famous as Bill Watterson, but it’s a great honor that one of my cartoons was included in the collection. Here is my character Scrap from the Apple Creek Kids with Richard’s character Dill. Kirby-related: you can see a bit of Kirby crackle and a few squiggles there in the waterfall.
One of the things I tried to capture with this piece was the feeling of plunging into the unknown, which is what I think Richard or anyone with Parkinsons must experience when they first learn they have the disease and they have to begin the lifelong process of learning how to deal with the unpredictable effects of Parkinsons on a daily basis — the goal is to hold on for the ride and try and make the best out of the tumultuous journey that lies ahead.
I gave Dill a completely blank expression: he symbolizes that moment of transition — peering over the precipice — do we go from joy to terror, terror to joy? It’s that in-between moment, like a freeze-frame from an old animated cartoon where for an instant the face is expressionless — the features are going from one extreme to the other. My Scrap character’s expression reflects the personality of many of the young people I encounter nowadays: adventurous, totally fearless, seemingly indestructible, but a little naive — just the kind of friend you would want sitting next to you if you are starting a new chapter in your roller coaster life where you’ll have to battle something like Parkinsons disease, in addition to all the other trials and tribulations of everyday life.
I love little details Richard Thompson puts in his work like having Dill wear the helmet when he’s rocking out in his kiddie car in the Cul de Sac Sunday comic below.
If you want to check out a sample of Richard’s incredible body of work, you can visit his website. Richard is one of the best cartoonists in the business.
Here’s the whole list of cartoonists in the Team Cul de Sac collection.
I hope you all will consider supporting this project. It’s one of those rare occasions where the comics community can come together and pay tribute to a man like Richard Thompson — who is one of the real class acts in the industry — while at the same time we can help to fight Parkinsons.