THANK YOU RICHARD THOMPSON

July 28, 2016 By: Seth Peagler Category: Comics Industry, NEWS

Richard at HeroesCon 2011 by Heather Peagler

Richard at HeroesCon 2011 by Heather Peagler

We lost a dear member of the Heroes family yesterday when the great Richard Thompson passed away after his long battle with Parkinson’s disease. There will rightly be far more eloquent essays on the timeless brilliance of Richard’s¬†Cul de Sac¬†strip across the industry, but right now we simply mourn the loss of our friend. He entertained us with his art, and drew us into that world with his humility. When he was diagnosed with the disease, he inspired us with grace and humor even through the hardest days of struggle. Most importantly, he quietly lead us to start raising money alongside Team Cul de Sac and the Michael J. Fox foundation in their funding of Parkinson’s research.

The HeroesCon Drink and Draw has been an annual event for six years now, with our fundraising contributing to the nearly $225,000 raised by Team Cul de Sac during that time. We mention that because our fight against Parkinson’s disease is still going on, and we hope any of you who love Richard,¬†Cul de Sac, HeroesCon, our Drink and Draw event, or the fine art of comic strips, and are able, will donate to Team Cul de Sac and the Michael J. Fox Foundation in Richard’s memory today at this link:¬†http://bit.ly/DonateTeamCulDeSac¬†. We loved Richard the artist and the man, and offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends, fans, and everyone in comics who celebrates his life and work. All of us at Heroes will continue to fight Parkinson’s disease in his memory every year at HeroesCon.
Please revisit Craig Fischer’s 2012 tribute to the greatness of Thompson here.
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Top Ten Reasons to Attend HeroesCon’s Drink and Draw

June 17, 2014 By: Heather Peagler Category: Comics Industry, DISCUSS, EVENTS, Heroes Aren't Hard To Find, HeroesCon, HeroesCon News, NEWS, Schedule, Special Offers

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hc-logo no dates
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This year marks the fourth annual HeroesCon/Team Cul de Sac Drink and Draw. ¬†This event has grown each year as has the amount of money you wonderful people contribute in the fight against Parkinson’s. ¬†If you’ve never attended or it’s been awhile since you’ve made it, here are my Top Ten Reasons to Attend!
10. ¬†What’s more relaxing after a first day on the con floor than having a few drinks in the swanky Hilton lobby? The staff at the Hilton was amazing last year. ¬†They featured super hero drinks on special last year, and may have some new ones this year!
9. ¬†Not only can you kick back with some delicious drinks, you can do so while enjoying some free live music by Raleigh, NC based Jack the Radio. ¬†The guys were ¬†great addition last year and I can’t wait to hear what their acoustic sets have to offer this year. You can get a preview of the guys here.
Jack the Radio at 2013 Drink and Draw

Jack the Radio at the 2013 Drink and Draw

8. Swag!! This year not only will you be able to purchase fabulous original art, but Limited Edition Drink and Draw prints with art by Alexis Ziritt and special Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find t-shirts will be available. ¬†Team Cul de Sac’s Chris Sparks also has too many great auction items to list!
7. ¬†It’s quite impressive for a group of people to put in a long day of work at the con and then extend that day into the late night in the name of a good cause. ¬†Give your HeroesCon Drink and Draw crew a hand, and maybe a drink or two to thank them for all their hard work. ¬†Seth will once again be emceeing this event and I will also be joining him on the mic this year! ¬†This is a cause that is near and dear to both of our hearts, and the Heroes family as well.

Seth and Justin at the 2013 Drink and Draw

Seth and Justin at the 2013 Drink and Draw

6. Not only will there be Drink and Draw art created live while you watch in the Hilton, but artists from all over have sent in pieces for you to bid on! Some of these artists don’t normally sell sketches outside of their books so this is a great opportunity to own some amazing original art you will not be able to find anywhere else. ¬†Not to drop names, but comics greats like Art¬†Spiegelman and Stephan Pastis are sending art this year!
5. ¬†All of the proceeds of the Drink and Draw go to Team Cul de Sac which raises money for Parkinson’s research. ¬†TCDS was founded by Chris Sparks with Richard Thompson after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Chris wanted to do something to help his friend. ¬†This is an amazing cause and we are so happy to be a part of the fundraising efforts.
2013 Drink and Draw

2013 Drink and Draw

4.  You may have seen the article in the New York Post or the Press Release on this very blog, but in case you missed it, we will have on display the original Pearls Before Swine strips that Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame did with Stephan Pastis this month.  The original art will also be on display behind the Art Stage all weekend during convention hours.
3. ¬†Do you collect original art? The Drink and Draw presents the opportunity to pick up some very unique pieces at great prices. ¬†¬†Didn’t have a chance to chat with some of your favorite artists on the con floor? A growing number of the pros at HeroesCon are attending the Drink and Draw. ¬†If your personal favorite isn’t there, maybe you’ll find a new one or two.
A sampling of original art!

A sampling of original art!

2.  The Drink and Draw is a much smaller venue than the con floor and it is a wonderful time to spend time with friends and make new ones.  The community and support that has grown around this event has been amazing.  What started as a small crowd at Fuel Pizza has expanded to the Hilton hotel bar featuring live music in just a few years time.
1. ¬†I mentioned above that all the proceeds raised go to Parkinson’s research, but the number one reason to attend the Drink and¬†Draw is to honor Richard Thompson. ¬†Richard was actually in attendance at our very first Drink and Draw in 2011. ¬†He has not been able to join us physically since, but we know he’s here with us in spirit and happy to see such a great art community of both artists and fans honor his contribution to comics.

Richard and Roger Langridge at the 2011 Drink and Draw.

Richard and Roger Langridge at the 2011 Drink and Draw.

 

 

Want to see more of past Drink and Draws? Here are photos from 2011, 2012, and 2013.

The HeroesCon Drink and Draw event takes place on Friday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hilton Center City atrium located at 222 E 3rd St, Charlotte, NC 28202. HeroesCon’s first Drink and Draw event was in 2011, modeled after the Drink and Draw Social Club founded by comic artists Dave Johnson, Dan Panosian and Jeff Johnson. That event and every one since has raised money for Team Cul de Sac, the organization founded in honor of Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson that raises money and awareness for Parkinson’s Research.

 

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STAFF PICKS :: COMPLETE CUL DE SAC BOXED SET :: MAY 7, 2014

May 06, 2014 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

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seth_staff_picksSETH’S PICK :: COMPLETE CUL DE SAC BOXED SET: I’m happy to remind you all that this week finally sees the release of the Complete Cul de Sac!¬†Some of you may not know the work of artist Richard Thompson, but comic strip fans around the country know him to be a national treasure. But it’s not just fans who appreciate Thompson, it’s writers and artists who are rightly blown away by the genius-level writing and art that he infused into not only the Cul de Sac strip, but also his Richard’s Poor Almanac series. The level of humor, heart and skill readily available in Thompson’s work is truly astounding, and I can’t think of many books I’d rather have in my home library than this one.¬†culdesac2

Some of you may know that for the past several years we’ve celebrated Thompson’s work at our HeroesCon Drink and Draw event. We’re thrilled to once again be working with Team Cul de Sac at this year’s event, which will take place on the Friday night of HeroesCon. I’ll be letting you know more specifics about it soon, but if you haven’t been to our Drink and Draw before, it’s a fun event where artists from hobbyists to professionals hang out at a nice bar and create art. We then auction off that art that very night, with all the money we raise going to Team Cul de Sac and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. It’s the best way to celebrate the greatness of the comics community and help us raise money for a worthy cause. Kick off the celebration by picking up The Complete Cul de Sac this week!

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HEROESCON 2013: A LOOK BACK AT DRINK AND DRAW

June 13, 2013 By: Seth Peagler Category: Comics Industry, DISCUSS, EVENTS, Heroes Aren't Hard To Find, HeroesCon, HeroesCon Art Auction, HeroesCon News, NEWS, Now Read This!, Other Events, This Just In

This year marked my seventh year as a member of the capable HeroesCon management and organization team. ¬†Every year there are countless little moments that make me (and the rest of the staff) happy to be a part of this incredible comics community. ¬†This year, more than any other year, I was especially heartened and humbled by our 3rd Annual Drink and Draw. ¬†It was at our first Drink and Draw back in 2011 that I met Richard Thompson, the genius cartoonist behind the award winning Cul de Sac comic strip. ¬†It was Richard for whom Team Cul de Sac started, in an effort to raise money for Parkinson’s research. ¬†And it is Richard’s humor, humility and general kindness that made us want to continue to do more to battle this disease.

This year, thanks in part to a spacious new venue (the Hilton), an appropriately Southern soundtrack from Jack the Radio, and the creativity of professional and amateur artists alike, we raised over $7,000 for Team Cul de Sac and the Michael J. Fox foundation!   The combined total from money raised in the first two years was under $3,000, so that alone should let you know the extent to which our fundraising increased this year.

Planning for this year’s Drink and Draw began earlier than ever before. ¬†Team Cul de Sac founder Chris Sparks, my wife (and fellow Drink and Draw organizer) Heather¬†and I had a few meals together in Asheville this past Spring, and talked at length about what we could do to bring even more money and awareness to Team Cul de Sac at HeroesCon’s Drink and Draw event. ¬†Chris took those brainstorming sessions and turned them into original art from Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), Jim Borgman (Zits), Mark Tatulli (Lio), Roger Langridge (Snarked), and more, all for us to auction at the Drink and Draw. ¬†In addition to these pieces, Chris brought an Art Spiegelman signed and sketched edition of Maus, and Bill Watterson signed editions of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes and Team Cul de Sac: Artists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s.

With all the art produced and auctioned off at the Drink and Draw, we not only raised a sizable donation for Parkinson’s research, but sent a strong message that the philanthropic efforts at HeroesCon have never been more vibrant than they were this year. ¬† I look forward to working with Chris to bring even larger things to HeroesCon 2014’s Drink and Draw.

Thanks to all the fine volunteers who continue to come back every year to help us run the event (Heather Peagler, Brian Purvis and the rest), all the artists who still draw for us after a long day on the convention floor, and everyone who donated money for the various pieces produced that night. Thanks to Chris Sparks for his perseverance, Richard Thompson for his ever-present inspiration, and Shelton Drum for giving us so much time and space at HeroesCon to continue to raise money for this worthy cause.

If you’d like to continue to support Team Cul de Sac throughout the year, please visit them HERE. ¬†The battle against Parkinson’s disease needs more than just our annual event to help fight it. ¬†We hope to see you next year at Drink and Draw. ¬†We’ve already started planning, so trust me when I tell you – HeroesCon 2014 is going to be bigger and better than ever!

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Hail Richard Thompson and Cul de Sac!

August 17, 2012 By: Craig Fischer Category: Comics Industry, DISCUSS, NEWS, Now Read This!

Today, cartoonist Richard Thompson announced that because of his ongoing struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, he’ll be ending his newspaper comic strip Cul de Sac on September 23rd.

It’s no exaggeration to call Cul de Sac the finest comic strip of this generation. Thompson began the strip in the Washington Post in 2004, but its distribution remained regional until 2007, when Universal executive Lee Salem fell in love with the strip (and with Thompson’s work on another Post feature, Richard’s Poor Almanac) and offered Thompson national syndication.

Cul de Sac focuses on the Otterloop family: father Peter, mother Madeleine, and especially their two kids, world-class neurotic Petey and pre-school troublemaker Alice. Like many other comic strips, Cul de Sac is a domestic comedy, but Thompson’s artistry elevates it into the canon of great comics, cheek-to-jowl with Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. Thompson’s skills are many: he has an uncanny ability to milk endless gags out of Petey and Alice’s diametrically opposed personalities, and he stuffs the Cul de Sac neighborhood with a joyous cast of supporting players. If you haven’t read the strip, names like Dill, Nara, Big Shirley, Beni, Viola, Miss Bliss, Ernesto, Mr. Danders, Andre and the Uh-Oh Baby mean nothing to you, but if you’re already a fan, I bet every single one of those names made you smile.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Cul de Sac is Thompson’s art, a sublime hybrid of Schulz, Ronald Searle and Thompson’s own whimsy, expressed through jittery pen lines and bold, expressive lettering. In today’s newspapers, where comic strip are printed at the size of a postage stamp, Thompson still delivered his daily laugh and wry observation, and earned the praise of his peers: in 2011, he won the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, the highest honor given by the National Cartoonists Society.

Richard is part of the Heroes family. He’s been to several HeroesCons, participating in panels about Cul de Sac, humor in comics, and other subjects. I became friends with Richard in 2008, when Ben Towle and I asked Richard (and Roger Langridge) to be on a panel where we’d collectively interview EC comics legend and Mad editor Al Feldstein. It turned out that Feldstein didn’t need our questions–without prompting from us, Al told one amazing story after another–but afterwards, Richard thanked me for the opportunity to meet Feldstein, I bought some original Cul de Sac art, and we became pals. It’s impossible to meet Richard and not become pals with him.

Me, Richard, Roger Langridge, Al Feldstein and Ben Towle, Heroes 2008. Photo by Mike Rhode.

Richard told his readers that he had Parkinson’s Disease in 2009, and in the years since has handled his increasing difficulties–with drawing, and with mobility in general–with heroic good humor. The last time I saw him in person, at last year’s Small Press Expo, he was frail and walking with a cane, but the first thing he said to me was a blue joke. His blog posts about his struggles with Parkinson’s are a study in grace under adversity. Read, for example, his farewell to Cul de Sac.

There are a couple of ways you can honor Richard and his strip. With Richard’s blessing, the tirelessly generous Chris Sparks has established Team Cul de Sac, a fundraising initiative (and division of the Michael J. Fox Foundation) that encourages the comics community to donate money to support Parkinson’s research. You can donate directly to Team Cul de Sac here. If you buy Chris’ lavish Team Cul de Sac art book (featuring contributions from Sergio Aragones, Evan Dorkin, Cathy Guisewite, Bill Watterson and literally dozens of other cartoonists), and/or Favorites, a home-grown zine of comics criticism I assembled last year, money will again funnel into Team Cul de Sac. Order these goodies here.

Most importantly: if you haven’t already, please read one of the Cul de Sac strip collections. A good place to start is The Cul de Sac Golden Treasury: A Keepsake Garland of Classics (2010), a fat sample of the first two years of the strip. It’s beautiful, charming–and, I think, a blast of Cartoon Nirvana, one for the Ages.

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