Comics

Daily comics changes: ‘Cul de Sac’ strip ends; ‘Big Nate,’ ‘Dustin’ debut

To our readers: You’ll find two changes today on our comics pages.

One of our most popular comic strips, Cul de Sac, ended Sunday.

The strip, by cartoonist Richard Thompson, is widely considered the best daily comic strip to debut during the past decade — and many fans consider Cul de Sac the best daily comic strip since Calvin & Hobbes.

Thompson was diagnosed in 2009 with Parkinson’s disease, and the progressive illness has left him unable to continue a daily strip.

Universal Uclick, the syndicate that distributes Cul de Sac, sent a news release to newspapers that read in part: “The last year has been a struggle for Richard. Parkinson’s disease, first ­diagnosed in 2009, has so weakened him that he is unable to meet the demands of a comic strip. For a time, he worked with another artist, but the deadlines became too much of a task.”

That left all newspapers that have carried Cul de Sac with the difficult task of choosing a replacement comic strip. We at the Herald-Leader have decided to change a second comic strip at the same time.

Starting today, readers of our comics pages will find Big Nate in the spot where Cul de Sac ruled for the past five years, and Dustin in place of Daddy’s Home.

We’ve been through this before, and we know that our readers have strong opinions about changes on the ­comics pages. Yet we also feel strongly that ­occasional change helps to keep the comics pages from getting stale and gives readers a look at what else is out there.

Dustin is about a family of four — mom, dad, older son and younger daughter — all industrious and hard-working, except for Dustin, a 20-­something slacker who daydreams of being a golf pro. Big Nate centers on an 11-year-old boy who is an aspiring cartoonist and self-described genius but who holds his school’s all-time record for detentions.

We hope you’ll find something to like in our two new strips. And we welcome your feedback at our comics email, comics@herald-leader.com.

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