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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 02/24/2010

AWARDS: 'Cul de Sac' cartoonist 'gobsmacked' by Reubens nod; Pastis & Piraro also nominated

By Michael Cavna

The call so blindsided "Cul de Sac" cartoonist Richard Thompson, he says he didn't even quite understand the news.

National Cartoonists Society prez Jeff Keane was calling to tell Thompson that he was a finalist for the Reuben "Cartoonist of the Year" Award, the biggie -- the organization's Oscar.

"I sure didn't see it coming -- it was completely out of the blue," the Virginia resident tells Comic Riffs. "At first I didn't know what [Keane] was talking about. Then I thought he meant I'd been nominated for one of the division [awards]."

Thompson is one of three finalists for the Reuben; the others are repeat nominees Stephan Pastis ("Pearls Before Swine") and Dan Piraro ("Bizarro").

"It's a huge honor to just be named with those guys," Pastis tells 'Riffs.

Pastis launched "PBS" about a decade ago and Piraro began "Bizarro" in the '80s. Thompson's "Cul de Sac" will mark its third anniversary in September.

The NCS says its divisional award categories will be announced "sometime in March." The winners will be announced at the 64th Annual Reuben Awards dinner on May 29 in New Jersey.

Thompson says the news "gave me confidence for a few minutes, at least." As for "facing off" against his fellow nominees, he says: "Congratulations to them! I'm scared to say who I think it will go, but I will say: I think I'll have to pull 'a Marisa Tomei' to win."

Thompson also notes that he's not currently a member of the National Cartoonists Society. Will he re-join if he wins?

"I guess I should -- it would look pretty ungrateful if I didn't."

By Michael Cavna  | February 24, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  General, The Comic Strip  | Tags:  Bizarro, Cul de Sac, Dan Piraro, Jeff Keane, National Cartoonists Society, Pearls Before Swine, Reuben Awards, Richard Thompson, Stephan Pastis  
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I love all three of those strips, but none of them bring me the consistent joy of "Cul de Sac". There are few comics I would crawl out of a hospital bed to read everyday and most are webcomics (e.g., xkcd, SMBC), but the one print comic I'd do that for is "Cul de Sac."

Ganbatte, Richard!

Posted by: TheMatt | February 24, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Love all three of the nominees. Another strip I wish was nominated -- Pooch Cafe ( That strip consistently cracks me up, and it's a shame the Post dropped it from its print edition.

Posted by: JackGriffith | February 24, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Congratultions to Richard Thompson. I love "Cul de Sac" and it's wonderful loopy characters. Alice Otterloop and her brother Petey are truly unique in the comic world and that's saying a lot. I do have a problem though in that I also love "Pearls Before Swine" with Stephan Pastis's curmudgeonly view of a delightful anthropomorphic Rat and Pig. Dan Piraro's "Bizarro" has delighted me for years also. It's going to be a hard choice for the Reuben people. Good luck to all.

Posted by: elyrest | February 24, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I love 'em all, but Cul de Sac is so consistently perfect in its execution that it deserves every award ever made, and a few of the imaginary ones as well.

Posted by: jsutliff | February 24, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Nice going, Richard! Great company to be in, too. Cul de Sac has actually been around for lots longer than three years, though not in daily form. I read it for years, looking for it avidly in each Sunday's WaPo magazine, and was delighted to see it become a daily strip.

The good citizens of Albany are in the midst of voting which comic strip to lose from their daily paper. Many of their comments complained that "Cul de Sac" wasn't on the short list of nominees to be cut! That says something about it, all right -- in a GOOD way, because they're also insisting to keep "Mark Trail" and "For Better or for Worse"!

Best wishes for a win that would be richly deserved and totally awesome!

Posted by: laboo | February 24, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Three outstanding strips, no doubt about it, so congratulations to all three creators, and a big home-town cheer for Richard Thompson. It's great that we can read the news about this honor here. It would be even nicer, though, if we could read his actual comics on the online Post. It's a real shame that one of the very best strips (as is now declared "officially"), and WaPo's very own offspring at that, has no home herein. And as for the treatment of the beautiful Sunday color version in the print Post, well...

Posted by: seismic-2 | February 24, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Cul De Sac is the best comic of the 21st Century. You don't need rigged polls to figure that out.

Posted by: greasypores | February 24, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

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