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Comic Strip / Cul-de-sac

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A Mundane Fantastic Newspaper Comic set in suburbia, chronicling the adventures of Alice Otterloop, a child in preschool; her brother, Petey, a neurotic and absurdly Picky Eater; and their family, friends and neighbors.

It began in 2004 as a Sunday Strip in the Washington Post Magazine. The setting was explicitly somewhere in suburban DC, but after going to nation-wide syndication in September of 2007, the setting changed to a more generic suburb, though there are still references to the original setting. The strip ended in 2012 after the author, Richard Thompsonnote , decided to concentrate on managing his case of Parkinson's disease. Thompson died on July 27, 2016 from complications related to the disease.

Can be read here. Has nothing to do with the Roman Polański film.

Now has its own Character Sheet. Not to be confused with an infamous fan theory regarding Ed, Edd n Eddy, which can be found here.

Cul de Sac provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Dad's car runs perfectly fine, but it's apparently small enough to fit in a bathtub or get buried in a sandbox.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The 'Future Adults of America' society. One day, they will control everything.
  • April Fools' Day: Close to the strip's end, a number of guest artists were brought in to do it while Thompson was dealing with Parkinson's disease. The April 1st, 2012 strip was done by Stephen Pastis, who made an extra Pearls strip about his failed attempts at replicating Thompson's art style.
  • Art Shift: Whenever a comic by Petey, Andre, or Loris appears.
  • Art Evolution: Like most other comic strips, Thompson's character designs have evolved. For example Alice originally had long hair, and Petey was much more rounded-looking.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: The dad started off like this, when the setting was explicitly in DC.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't call Sophie "New Kid" or "Soapie" over and over again.
    • Never refer to Viola D'Amore's instrument as a xylophone. It's a marimba!
  • Big Friendly Dog: Big Shirley, but her size intimidates Alice and the other preschoolers.
  • Call-Back: An early strip involved a group of cows at a theme park getting annoyed with Mrs. Otterloop mooing at them, planning on quacking next time. Years later, when driving by a cow on the side of the road, Mrs. Otterloop asks the kids if they know what sound a cow makes, and Petey jokingly quacks.
  • Characterization Marches On: Petey was a bit more of a Jerkass in the early years of the newspaper run, but quickly evolved into the neurotic grumpy mess we know and love today.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The origin of Ernesto. Well, maybe.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Pretty much everyone in the strip, but especially Ernesto, to the point where Petey's convinced Ernesto is a figment of his imagination.
    • Alice's friend Dill is also pretty out there — he peeks in on Alice's family through the mail slot and claims he can hear everyone in the world (including Santa Claus) with his hat.
    • Cul de Sac is Cloud Cuckoo Land
  • Egging: Alice's grandmother habitually throws deviled eggs at passing cars
  • Eldritch Location: The jungle gym. It's apparently alive and continually growing.
  • Guest Strip: Early in 2012, several weeks of these ran as Thompson was undergoing treatment. These were drawn by talents Mo Willems, Ruben Bolling and Lincoln Peirce. Stephen Pastis contributed what was basically an extra Pearls Before Swine about his inability to copy Thompson's style as a Sunday strip on April Fool's Day.
  • The Ghost: Dill's brothers are frequently referred to, but never actually seen.
  • Halloween Episode: There's a set of Halloween strips every October, interspersed with regular strips.
  • Large Ham: Ernesto, Mr. Danders, Alice, Dill, Petey when he's upset. Actually, enough are like this to qualify for World of Ham.
  • Little Professor Dialog. Ernesto. Sometimes Alice and her classmates say things that, while not quite this advanced, are more articulate than the average preschooler.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-universe example; the size of Grandma's dog Big Shirley.
  • Meaningful Name: Otterloop. Of the Beltway. Say it slowly.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Petey's various adventures.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Grandma Otterloop throws deviled eggs at passing cars.
  • No Indoor Voice: Alice can be like this. And Andre at cartoon camp.
  • No Name Given: Averted. Both parents names are known (much to the chagrin of Alice); dad is Peter senior, and mom is Madeline, and her maiden name is Urqhart.
  • One-Two Punchline: The "two punchlines in last panel" variation is frequently seen.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Ernesto's lycanthropy is caused by a food allergy.
  • Picky Eater: Petey takes great pride in it.
  • Power Trio: Petey ,Andre and Loris form one of these.
  • Put on a Bus: Mr. Danders, the talking guinea pig, hasn't been seen in some time.
    • He reappeared; he's 'working' at a petting-zoo/animal centre type place, so Commuting on a Bus?
  • Serious Business: For Dill, shopping carts.
  • Sixth Ranger: Sophie, the weird new kid from Camp Blisshaven.
  • Shout-Out/Crossover: PJ Piehole's a 'restaurant' that appears in Thompson's other comic 'Richard's Poor Almanac' was the subject of one strip and a source of angst for Petey.
  • Summer Campy: Both the 2010 and 2011 summers, but with a day camp. For Alice it's Camp Blisshaven(Basically a camp version of her pre-school) and for Petey it's Cartoon Camp(where he and other kids draw comics and what not). Notable for introducing Sophie, Andre and Cloris.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Odd example, in that the strip was originally located in the suburbs of Washington DC. After the strip became nationally syndicated, the setting changed to a more generic suburb.
  • Women Are Wiser: The mother, Miss Bliss, Nara.