The Washington Post

ALICE BEFORE ‘SWINE’: Pastis’ magnificent ‘Cul de Sac’ mash-up is our Cartoon of the Day


FOR MUCH OF of the year, the ink-stained colleagues of “Cul de Sac” creator Richard Thompson have been drawing odes and homages to his Reuben Award-winning strip.

But Saturday’s mashup — by “Pearls Before Swine” creator Stephan Pastis — may well be over favorite yet to see circulation in daily print.

In Saturday’s excellent “PBS,” Alice Otterloop — showing great range as she conveys precocious menace in her technique-stretching cameo — takes to her favored manhole perch. Only as imagined via the sublime and twisted mind of Pastis, Alice is holding the “Family Circus” tykes against their outmaneuvered will.

“I felt it was my duty to expose the dark side of ‘Cul de Sac,’ ” Pastis tells Comic Riffs, “the psychopathic underbelly of Alice's universe.”

Pastis routinely hosts migrant comic characters in his Strip Without Borders. The Keane kids of “Family Circus” spend much time on Pastis’s creative lawn, and “Cathy’s” titular (and now-retired) star made a memorable appearance.

More than 100 of Thompson’s fellow artists are participating in Team Cul de Sac, a book-and-auction campaign to raise funds for Parkinson’s research. (On Oct. 16, Thompson is also participating in the “Moving Day” Parkinson’s Foundation walk in Washington, D.C.) Partners in the campaign — which seeks to raise $250,000 — are the Michael J. Fox Foundation and ”Cul de Sac’s” parent company, publisher Andrews McMeel.

Pastis, however, appears to be the first to tap li’l Alice’s psychopathic side.

If brother Petey’s perusing the comics today, we trust he approves.

(RICHARD THOMPSON/universal uclick)

STEPHAN PASTIS: The Comic Riffs interview

BILL WATTERSON: On painting his first public art — for Team Culde Sac — in nearly 16 years


Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.