Cul De Sac

Cul De Sac

by Richard Thompson


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"I hope you enjoy Cul de Sac as much as I do. I think you're in for a real treat." —Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, 2008

"One of the five best features in any newspaper, period." —The Comics Reporter

"One of the few strips around where nearly every individual panel is stand-alone delight." —The Onion 

" really seems like the inheritor of 'Calvin and Hobbes.'" —Art Spiegelman

"I can't say enough in his favor, so much is my admiration for his work." —Pat Oliphant

More than half of our nation's population resides in the 'burbs. Knowingly, Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac follows the antics of four-year-old Alice Otterloop as she navigates her way through life at Blisshaven Preschool, "the scene of [her] daily toil." Suburbanites across the nation will easily recognize the quirks and conundrums associated with house-lined streets, sidewalk canvases, and magnetified refrigerator art.

Instructed by the proper Miss Bliss, Alice regularly has issues with taking a nap, speaking out of turn, and remembering what a triangle looks like. Helping her through life's ups and downs are her eight-year-old brother Petey, Dad (a.k.a. Peter), and Mom (a.k.a. Madeline), as well as Mr. Danders, the preschool's pompously pedantic guinea pig.

This is the strip's first book collection incorporating more than a year's worth of strips dating back to the cartoon's 2007 debut. Thompson has received critical praise for doing a masterful job of commenting on social issues while entertaining in a freshly amusing and unexpected way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780740776519
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication date: 09/01/2008
Series: Cul de Sac Series , #1
Edition description: Original
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 1,223,630
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 11 - 17 Years

About the Author

Richard Thompson is the creator of Cul de Sac and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. His illustrations have appeared in numerous publications, including U.S. News & World Report, National Geographic, and The New Yorker. He announced in 2009 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and has since rallied other cartoonists and illustrators to contribute to the Team Cul de Sac project to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation. In September 2012, Thompson retired from creating Cul de Sac.


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Cul de sac 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funniest comic, Alice seems real to me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes me hungry! (:
savageknight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When you have children, a little insanity goes a long way in keeping you sane. This might sound bizarre but the truth is that children have a way of making adults look at the world through the eyes of their innocence... which in turn reveals just how insane "life" truly is.If Richard Thompson doesn't have kids, then he's definitely around a lot of them because the antics portrayed in Cul de Sac are dead on. In the same manner that Bill Waterson's Calvin was a little boy with a very grown-up logical mind, so too do Alice and her peers question the world around them in a way that makes adults think... and laugh at the insanity.Although the art made it a little difficult to get right into the book, it eventually did grow on me due to the way those simple scribbles were full to bursting with emotion and expression. And the characters? Priceless! For example, I loved how Alice would never accept her Father's absurd answers to any of her questions, because she preferred her brother Petey's even more absurd ones! It does not take long to get to know the characters and you quickly start looking forward to the next Mr. Danders strip, or seeing more of how Alice's preschool classmates deal with their daily routines.This collection did not have many laugh-out-loud moments, but there were plenty of snickers along the way. I did not know of this cartoon strip prior to this book but I do look forward to reading further adventures.
gfvonb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The comparisons between this work and Calvin and Hobbes are unavoidable - even if the Early Reviewers description hadn't made the comparison, the introduction by Bill Watterson would invite it. Unfortunately, I didn't like Cul de Sac as much as I had hoped I would. I'm a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan, so perhaps the comparison raised my hopes too far. There were a few very funny strips (especially the Guinea Pig ones), but the majority didn't quite hit my funny bone. It's hard to pinpoint why I don't like Cul de Sac more - perhaps the tone, which seems darker than Calvin and Hobbes, or perhaps that the characters are much harder for me to identify with than Calvin and his parents. In summary, Cul de Sac may have been a decent or fairly good comic strip collection if taken on its own, but it suffers greatly in comparison with Calvin and Hobbes.
cabridges on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Many of the reviews mention Calvin and Hobbes, which is a bit unfair. That's an awfully high bar to reach, and Cul De Sac doesn't quite make it. It did, however, make me laugh hard enough to finally start reading a comic strip regularly again and that hasn't happened since... well, since Calvin and Hobbes.You won't see the deep levels of satire or philosophy that Watterson excelled at, but you will get the delightfully whacko Alice Otterloop, her family and her schoolmates, some deceptively simple artwork that matches the tone perfectly, and the kind of off-the-wall reactions to normal situations that make comic strips come alive.
dk_phoenix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I received this book from the ER program here, I was prepared to be skeptical... after all, I've read a lot of newspaper comics over the years, and my family has a habit of collecting comic compilations like this (at Christmas, everyone gets a new newspaper comic book). The majority of the comics we/I like are a) very well drawn, and b) hilarious. Upon first opening this book, I took one look at the art and thought "oh NO, this looks terrible...". But I read the foreword by Bill Watterson, who lauded the art, and felt very confused... how could HE love this comic, when it clearly looks drawn by a sloppy artist who was running out of time?... I decided to go ahead and read it anyway.A few pages in, I was still skeptical. I wasn't laughing. It felt forced. A few pages more, and the adventures of the guinea pig began... now THAT was entertaining... a few pages more, and I was at the black and white strips, intrigued. A few pages more... and I couldn't put the book down. It turns out that the art style *suits* the comic very well - the haphazard and slightly abstract style seems to match the chaotic world of a young family (and the 4-year-old girl that the comics are mostly based around), and I think anyone with young children will greatly appreciate this comic.That said, the strips with the guinea pig in it were my favorite, but I think this is a book I will grow to appreciate more as the years pass. I don't have children yet, and while I can still enjoy the comics and laugh out loud (which I admittedly did at a few points), I think the humor will simply grow more poignant over time. That said, I enjoyed this comic and look forward to reading more. For the skeptics who still aren't sure, just push through those first few pages - afterward, you'll be thankful you did.
victrola on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was cute! Much better than anything currently in my local paper. I requested this because of the Calvin and Hobbes comparison, and it is deserved, I would say - clever and and cute and I laughed out loud more than once. For me it wasn't quite as memorable as C&H, though, and I do not think I will care to revisit it nearly as often.
Dystopos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thompson's comic strip centers around a 4-year-old girl's life at home and in pre-school, interacting with playmates and a family that includes an imaginatively-pessimistic 8-year-old brother and two harmless parents. Providing escapist asides are an ambitious classroom guinea pig and his hermit-crab nemesis.Safe in their gated cul-de-sac, the kids are free to invent imaginary fears (often involving zombies) while navigating the wider world of real terrors (highway traffic, big-box retailers and parking garages) rather uncritically by comparison.Those everyday injustices, as Bill Watterson notes in the forward, might escape the hurried reader, but closer inspection reveals a subtly sharp pen in Thompson's hand. Speaking of his hand, the drawings appear somewhat shaky, without the confident mastery of strokes apparent in Watterson's work. I wasn't won over immediately, but did start to catch some nice surprises in the artwork as I went through the book.This first volume of the recently-launched newspaper strip includes a few different formats, with a couple of the situations recurring. The first section includes beautifully watercolored strips that were first run in a magazine. A couple of them seem to have been reprinted here out of sequence. The rest of the book is in a more standardized newspaper format.In all, the most distinguishing elements of Cul de Sac are Thompson's deftness and light-handedness, with reference both to the drawings and the characterizations. Of those, I most appreciate the older brother, already resigned to lifelong insecurity, and the guinea pig who dives reluctantly into adventures beyond the pre-school.
moonsoar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers project. I don¿t subscribe to any newspapers, so there are relatively few comic strips I read these days - they all mainly fall into the web comic category. That said, I have always been a fan of Calvin and Hobbes, Zits and Retail. The fact that Bill Watterson (author of Calvin and Hobbes) wrote the foreword to this Cul de Sac collection was definitely what made me curious about this comic strip.The strip focuses around Alice, a four-year-old girl living in the suburbs with her parents and older brother Petey, and going to Blisshaven Academy with her group of friends.The class pet ¿ a guinea pig by the name of Mr. Danders ¿ provides some of the most entertaining storylines that revolve around the preschool. I am thinking specifically of the ones where he escapes from the preschool in order to go in search of his long lost love. Alice reminds me a bit of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, minus the philosophical ponderings. But Petey is by far the best character in the strip. Not only neurotic, he¿s also ¿ well, he believes that child safety gates are the last defense against zombies. What¿s not to love about that kid?The first few strips (about 50 pages or so in this book) were written for a magazine ¿ The Washington Post Magazine. When the comics go from colour to black and white, the strip had been picked up by newspapers. One of the things that I love best about collections of comic strips is the progression that you can see in terms of the style of drawings. This one certainly seemed to improve quite a bit throughout the book. While not the style of drawings I would normally like ¿ it felt raw and unrefined ¿ it certainly reflects the main character and the feel of the stories well.
foggidawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This charming collection of comic strips comes with a foreword (and high praise) from Bill Watterson, author of the popular Calvin and Hobbes strip. Fans of Watterson's strip may approach a new series with caution (after all, nothing is ever quite as good!) but Cul De Sac stands up to scrutiny by even the most skeptical.In this book, the Otterloop family is introduced: Alice, who attends Blisshaven Preschool with a collection of quirky fellow classmates and a guinea pig with aspirations to an honorary doctorate for his many years in the classroom, Petey, who views the torments of elementary school with an ironic eye, and Mom and Dad, who zoom through suburban family life, often bemused by the antics of the youngsters.The first 50 pages are, as noted in the foreword, an earlier incarnation of the strip. While they are noteworthy for their medium (watercolor), the early strips lack the cohesiveness and character development of the later strips. Readers who are already fans of the strip from their daily paper may enjoy those more than the Cul De Sac neophyte, but overall, comic fans will find the deftly rendered adventures of the Otterloop family rewarding.
benlaverriere on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
All in all, a great comic, and one I hope will continue. Characters are fun and quirky without becoming defined by their idiosyncrasies, and the setting just a few degrees off from reality...perfect comic fodder.As Bill Watterson points out in his foreword, Thompson is as skilled with watercolors as he is with pen and ink, and I wish that there were more of these rich, colorful strips to read. (To be fair, watercolor wouldn't be friendly to newsprinting, so I don't blame him for the decision.)I do worry a bit, however, about repetition: a few times when reading this compilation I found myself remembering an eerily similar strip, and sure enough, there it was earlier in the book. Never an exact copy, but even "very similar" jokes give me pause for a comic's first compilation.
amycat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I expected to enjoy Richard Thompson's comic collection, Cul de Sac, but I didn't expect to find myself crying tears of laughter. As the parent of a four year old in preschool, I'll just say right now that Mr. Thompson has the demographic pegged. The family dynamics have been seen before--precocious children, clueless adults--but Cul de Sac makes them seem fresh and new instead of pithy and angry. My favorite sceens are those in which the entire family participates, each lost in his or her own contributions to the conversation and not really listening to the rest of the family members. In its own way, it makes me think of opera when you have several characters singing, one on top of the other, raising up to the creshendo, at which point Mr. Thompson has one of the characters make some earth shattering (or not) observation. This man is genius. I am only peeved that my local newpaper doesn't carry this comic.
tardis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of Cul De Sac in the local newspaper and this collection doesn't disappoint. I laughed - a lot while reading it, which annoyed my family (always a bonus) and now they're busy fighting to see who gets it next. I was especially happy to see the early colour strips from the Washington Post Magazine, because they were all new to me. I love the art - so expressive. I love the characters: anarchic Alice, who has issues with authority and big brother Petey, who has answers to many of her questions (I especially liked his explanation of why the flash and the boom of fireworks don't match up), mum and dad (and dad's teeny car - the dad in my house has a teeny car, too), and Alice's little preschool pals, and Mr. Danders, the class pet, and Miss Bliss, the outclassed preschool teacher. I love the humour, which is dry and gentle and subtle and the way the kids can be simultaneously kid-like and make wry comments on adult life. It's just perfect.Well, except for one little niggle. I'm a librarian and a cataloguer and the cover title of this book is Cul De Sac : This Exit, which is also how the publisher's letter refers to it, but the spine title and the title page title is just Cul De Sac. For future reference, librarians hate this kind of thing. Be consistent!
Allama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cul De Sac is a newspaper comic chronicling the daily adventures of the Otterloops as seen primarily through the eyes of Alice, the family's 4-year-old daughter. While the basic idea of drawing a comic strip about a suburban American family is far from original, Thompson¿s interpretation of the genre is fresh and inviting. All of his characters have their own unique personality, each drawing you a little further into the microcosm he has created. The art is slightly crude in an attractive, practiced fashion that compliments the author¿s quirky sense of humor.The first section of the book is devoted to the watercolor works created for a run in a magazine that predate the comic¿s introduction to the funny pages while the second moves on to the syndicated dailies. While the plot regression experienced when moving from section to section is slightly startling, I found I enjoyed being reintroduced to Cul De Sac midway. There was a bit of repetition and I find the lack of a page to separate the sections worrying (not everyone will read the forewarning in the forward, methinks) but, all in all, the transition wasn¿t at all bad.Blisshaven Preschool¿s guinea pig, a most highly aspiring character, was one of the ¿secondary¿ features of the strip that truly pulls the reader in and gives the world in which the Otterloops meander a bit more depth. Alice¿s 8-year-old brother was another such character, punctuating his family¿s otherwise glass-half-full lives with his cynicism and his perpetual sense of impending doom (which he seems to have accepted at a young age).The most intriguing and appealing characteristics of this comic are not the ¿main jokes¿ of each strip; you have to look slightly deeper for the whole picture. From Alice's preschool to the local shopping monstrosity, Thompson subtly paints a backdrop of suburban America that is both entertaining and horrifying. The way Thompson portrays the adult characters going through their day is full of an understated feeling of blissful ignorance. They look to sense nothing amiss as they struggle through intimidating big-box stores and drive their tiny cars to work, navigating the modern world as though it was the most natural way to live.Overall, I highly recommend this to other lovers of funny, intelligent comic strips and will surely be loaning my copy out to friends and family in a dastardly attempt to hook them as I have been hooked.
elsh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac caught my eye in LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program by mentioning one name: Bill Watterson. I'm certain that this applies to many others, as well. After all, any comic praised by the creator of Calvin and Hobbes should be worth a try, and I'm extremely pleased that I did get the chance to read it, because I definitely didn't regret it.This comic strip features Alice Otterloop, a preschooler with a creative imagination and the kind of wide-eyed gullibility that is found in most four year olds. From the pet gerbil's eloquence to the oddity that is her schoolmate Dill, Thompson's characters provide the kind of hilarity that almost anyone can appreciate. I often found myself laughing out loud, which doesn't often happen when I read newspaper comics today!Before opening the book, I didn't think I would appreciate the art and drawings, which I judged to be a little bit crude and unfocused. However, I found that it contributed to the silliness and child-like innocence, features that I love about this comic. What I thought to be unrefined drawings became adorable and befitting representations of the world as understood by a preschooler.Cul de Sac lacks the philosophical genius that makes us adore Calvin and Hobbes, but I don't think that's entirely what the cartoonist was aiming for. The comic shows its charm through its quirky dialogue and entertaining take on suburban life. In one strip, Alice's brother, Petey, claims that newspaper funnies are a dying artform. If they are, then Cul de Sac may be one of the few great ones left.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago