The Washington Post

‘Cul de Sac’ goes on hiatus as Richard Thompson receives Parkinson’s treatment

“CUL DE SAC” CREATOR RICHARD THOMPSON has just announced that his syndicated comic strip is going on hiatus for “three or four weeks” as he receives new treatment for his Parkinson’s disease.

Thompson, who announced in 2009 that he has the disease, wrote on his blog Sunday that he is “taking some time off. Some MORE time off. ... I’m about to start a program of physical therapy sessions designed for people with Parkinson’s.”

Thompson playfully notes the recent number of “Cul de Sac” reruns (including Sunday’s) that have appeared, writing: “I’m guessing you ... probably noticed that recently there’ve been a whole lot of ‘Cul de Sac’ repeats and you’re too nice to say anything (though you’re likely thinking, ‘Whoa, somebody sure takes a lot of vacations’). I mean, c’mon, what’s going on here?”

Of the treatment, the Northern Virginia-based cartoonist writes: “I’ve only been in for an evaluation, but the therapy largely consists of big, exaggerated movements and sweeping silly walks that will so embarrass your body that it’ll start behaving itself, I hope. Also I’ll learn 10 ways to defeat a mugger by falling on him.”

Thompson, who is syndicated by Universal Uclick, received the National Cartoonists Society’s esteemed Reuben Award — aka the “cartoonist of the year” prize — last May. The daily “Cul de Sac,” which he launched as a weekly feature in The Washington Post Magazine, is carried by more than 140 papers.

Thompson says he appreciates the support, writing: “Garry Trudeau likened daily newspaper comics to a public utility that delivers its service so regularly that any interruption is seen as some kind of major systems failure. Though well aware of this, the kind folks at Universal [Uclick] Press have been greatly supportive and urged me to do whatever I needed to do. So I’m’a gonna.”

It was a year ago this month that Thompson announced he would launch Team Cul de Sac — in cooperation with the Michael J. Fox Foundation - as a book and benefit campaign to raise funds for Parkinson’s research.

(Comic Riffs profiled Thompson and his Parkinson’s efforts last May in The Post Magazine.)

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.


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