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The Complete Cul de Sac Paperback – May 6, 2014
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By Andrew Mansell, "Ten reasons You Need the Complete Cul de Sac" from Culturemass
Cul de Sac is an absolute joy to read. Thompson loves his characters, he respects his reader's intelligence, and above all he loves cartooning. It is the funniest comic strip of the last two decades.....
Like all of the great works of art ... the work is timeless. Cul de Sac's humor is universal; it is a family strip much like any other, but funnier and more dynamic. It is special and it's the two children at the center of the strip -- Petey and Alice -- that make it so.
By Scott McCloud, Best American Comics 2014 'Cul de Sac,' by Richard Thompson, captured everything funny and charming and true about the best American comic strips, from Segar to Johnston to Schulz. It was alive, it made you laugh, it popped off the page like a ladybug.
By Michael Dooley, Print Magazine -For my money, when it comes to comics about kids with visual kicks, no cartoonist - not even fellow fan Bill Watterson - comes close to Thompson. Sure, Charles Schulz may have created the world's most famous strip. But let's be honest: design-wise, compared to Cul de Sac, Peanuts ain't worth peanuts.
Winner of an Eisner Award.
"Just when you think everything that can be said and done in a suburban-family comic strip has already been said and done, just when you think any form of comic-strip art that can be created has already beenproduced, along comes a strip like Cul de Sac to show that you have no idea what you are thinking ... The entire history of Cul de Sac is spread out for everyone to see in Andrews McMeel's marvelous two-volume set, slipcased to provide all the gravitas that a reader could possibly desire." (InfoDad)
"An insightful poet of the comics page." (Publishers Weekly)
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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Top customer reviews
I purchased the physical slipcased two paperback set of The Complete Cul de Sac. I love physical books and this strip is worth every penny.
The paperbacks are very readable and very clear reproductions. The color Sunday strips (and watercolor original strips) are beautiful!
History: CUL dE SAC started in The Washington Post on February 8, 2004 and became syndicated on September 10, 2007. The strip ended in September 2012 because the creator/artist/writer suffers from Parkinson's disease and he wanted to focus on his health (a very valid reason).
WHAT'S NEW IN THIS SET:
1) Per the write-up on the slipcase "Annotations giving NEW insight into individual strips and story lines." I know some of these were in the previous Cul de Sac Golden Treasury, but there are a lot of new ones. This includes a very long multi-paragraph annotation on the "last" strip (which was a reprint).
2) Some newly collected strips. Per the box, "All the cartoons that were ever published are in here" (I think some haven't been previously collected since the last collection was released in May of 2012 and the strip didn't fully end until September 2012). I think this might only be talking about the syndicated strips because it also says this set includes "SELECTIONS of pre-syndicated Cul de Sac water-colored Sundays that appeared in the Washington Post." With THAT kind of wording, I don't know if ALL of the ones that exist are actually in here or not. They MIGHT actually all be in here though.
3) A lengthy introduction by Art Spiegelman (written in May of 2013) (I have mucho respect for Art Spiegelman, his Maus: A Survivor's Tale series is a must-have for every reader)
4) An acknowledgements section by Richard Thompson (written in September 2013). A small write-up at the beginning of Volume 1.
I do, however, have a problem with this set. Namely: At $75.00 SRP (suggested retail price), why aren't these longer-lasting hardcovers?
This needs to be a hardcover set! If the Complete Calvin and Hobbes [BOX SET] can came out in hardcover (and paperback), why can't this?
About Cul de Sac's $75 price: A box set of 2 paperbacks for $75.00 SRP is not my idea of "affordable" (to use Amazon's word from the description of this set). That is $37.50 per oversized paperback! Even if it's on sale for around $52.34, that is STILL $26.17 per oversized paperback (plus a slipcase). I don't like to spend $25.00 on a hardcover and I've never, until now, spent that much on a paperback. Why Andrews McMeel Publishing? Why? I thought the "paperback" thing was a typo at first, but I was wrong.
At $75, this 645 page set is about 11.6¢ a page. At its current sale price of $52.34, that is 8.7¢ a page. Which isn't "bad," but I had to save up for a while to be able to afford it.
This is available for Kindle for only $9.99 per volume (The Complete Cul de Sac Volume One and The Complete Cul de Sac Volume Two) That is $19.98 total for all 645 digital pages. A tremendously good deal at about 3¢ a page... as long as the images are clear and easily zoomable on your Kindle.
If you thought Calvin & Hobbes was the last and final great strip forever, or Pogo, or Bloom County, or any other strip, you're going to be pleasantly surprised to find that Cul de Sac is the real last and final great comic strip forever. Until another last, greatest strip emerges, this one is surely the last great comic forever.
The strip's little pre-school aged girl, Alice, is the central character, though her middle-school aged brother Petey is nearly as often featured. Petey is the cynical introvert with a dry wit, while Alice is the id-driven narcissist, perhaps with a touch of ADHD. Their father is somewhat distant, but good natured, while the mother is the foundational cornerstone of the family, the one who always seems to know what they need, who offers wisdom and solace, but not too much. Nobody in this strip is particularly wiser or more insightful than the others; it's just a blisteringly funny portrayal of a family, each with age-appropriate reactions and intelligence, as they muddle through life with their own twists on observation and understanding, while dealing with the very odd situations we all remember from various times in our lives.
Few comics ever make me laugh out loud, literally. This is one of them. Petey's practicing of the oboe has got to be one of the most hilarious portrayals of musicians in history. His propensity for out-of-body experiences seems strangely familiar. So does his off-the-tracks friend, Ernesto, whom we can never completely be sure is real or imaginary.
Perhaps the scene stealer of the whole strip is Alice, dancing on her manhole cover, which she is convinced is a stage on which she performs for the whole world to admire. She also believes that Mother Nature lives under that manhole cover, and that she has blessed Alice's dancing with her approval. (You'll see why)
If any character borders on the unreal, it would have to be the class's totally ego-driven, helpless pet hamster, whose other-worldly adventures are legendary in his own mind. Like most objects of Alice's attention or affection, the pet hamster soon bores her, annoys her, and then drives her to the brink of a tantrum until the attention is properly refocused upon Alice herself.
And by this time, I'm sure my review is similarly annoying to you, so let me stop here, and you just go buy the books and enjoy the final, last, greatest comic strip of all time at least until the next one comes along.
But I assure you, the brilliantly witty, self-effacing Richard Thompson, whose career has been cut way too short by his advancing Parkinson's disease, is most certainly destined for the comic hall of fame.
I hadn't realized Mr. Thompson had to discontinue the strip due to health problems until I received this set. I admired his work in my local paper and was incensed that it disappeared suddenly without any warning. He has a unique vision that will be greatly missed. I hope that he will recover from his disabilities, I know there are successful recoveries, my prayers go out to him and his family.