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.”
The Observer came to "Cul de Sac" late -- it didn't start running Thompson's strip until spring of last year. So many of us won't mind the "previously published" strips -- there's lots of Thompson's past work we havn't seen and can now enjoy. But we also wish the cartoonist all the best through this trying time and eagerly await his new work whenever he can return to it.
Last summer, the Observer's Mark Washburn did a story on Thompson and his battle with Parkinson's when the cartoonist came to Charlotte for the HeroesCon comic convention. If you missed it then, or simply would like to see it again, here it is.
To help support Thompson's fight against Parkinson's vist the Team Cul de Sac blog.
So now what's up with 'Get Fuzzy'? While it seems almost every comic strip cartoonist runs a week or two of repeats during the year, for whatever reason, the frequency of "previously published" notices atop the "Get Fuzzy" strip is getting a bit alarming. They occur with such frequency that the company that compiles the comics pages for the Observer can't seem to keep it straight anymore, often saying a strip is previously published when it's new, and sometimes forgetting to mention it when it's a repeat. But, so far, we've not been able to find out any information on why "Fuzzy" cartoonist Darby Conley feels compelled to take so much time off. Again, it doesn't bother me much -- "Get Fuzzy" is one of the few strips in the paper that consistently makes me laugh out loud. So I enjoy seeing the old strips again. But I worry.
Almost Self-Promotion: Pelican Publishing has released their new 2012 edition of "Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year." Among the many 2011 cartoons from a wide range of cartoonists nationwide (and from Canada) are five from yours truly.