Aug 17th 2012 By: Graeme McMillan
After eight years, Richard Thompson's much-loved newspaper strip Cul de Sac
will be drawing to a close next month, as the cartoonist is forced to retire due to his ongoing struggle with Parkinson's disease.
In a statement released today
, Thompson's syndicate, Universal Uclick said that,
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 himself is quoted in the statement as saying that "At first [the Parkinson's] 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."
The addition of Curtis this past March followed a period where fellow cartoonists took over the strip on a temporary basis to allow Thompson a break for treatment for the disease, with guests including Pearls Before Swine
's Stephan Pastis and children's book illustrator Mo Willems. A book featuring various artists' interpretations of the Cul de Sac
characters, Team Cul de Sac
, was released in June to raise awareness of Parkinson's disease and also raise money for Team Fox
, the fundraising arm of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which helps research into the disease and a potential cure.
Described by no less an authority than Calvin and Hobbes
creator Bill Watterson as "[having] it all-intelligence, gentle humor, a delightful way with words, and, most surprising of all, wonderful, wonderful drawings," Thompson's strip about Alice Otterloop and her friends and family originally debuted as a limited-run strip in the Washington Post in February 2004, before becoming syndicated nationally three years later.
The final Cul de Sac
strip is slated to run September 23.
[Via The Washington Post