(CLICK HERE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE) (STEPHAN PASTIS / Universal Uclick)

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

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