The TARDIS Drops By The Comics Page
by Perry Michael Simon on May 4, 2011
The characters up there are brother and sister Petey (your Doctor Who stand-in) and Alice (your Amy Pond surrogate dangling from the TARDIS) Otterloop and Alice’s pre-school teacher Miss Bliss (the bun-wearing Dalek), all from the daily newspaper comic strip Cul de Sac, which is written and drawn under normal circumstances by Washington Post Richard’s Poor Almanac artist Richard Thompson (who you might know from the now legendary cartoon “poem” “Make the Pie Higher,” composed of actual George W. Bush quotes). The characters were drawn in this case by another cartoonist, Brian Anderson, who does Dog Eat Doug, also syndicated to newspapers.
But why? Well, it’s part of a project called Team Cul de Sac, formed by Chris Sparks to raise money for Parkinson’s disease research after Thompson was diagnosed with the illness (it does not presently affect his writing hand). The idea was to collect a wide range of cartoonists’ takes on the Cul de Sac characters, and the result will be a book scheduled for release in Spring 2012. The response has been astounding, with pieces contributed by Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson (a big Cul de Sac fan, who’s contributed an oil painting of Petey), Mad and Groo legend Sergio Aragones, Pearls Before Swine‘s Stephan Pastis, Pulitzer winner Pat Oliphant, and many more whose work you’d know.
So the Doctor Who homage? Anderson’s own strip, about a little chocolate lab named Sophie and a baby named Doug, sometimes veers off into fantasy, specifically an elaborate Indiana Jones parody, and he writes darker material for screenplays and graphic novels, so it’s not surprising that he’d be into the Doctor. His version of the Cul de Sac characters drops them into the Doctor’s world, and if it draws you into reading the quite-unlike-the-Doctor adventures of the Otterloops and Sophie and Doug, and maybe raising donations for Michael J. Fox’s Team Fox for Parkinson’s Research, that wouldn’t be so bad, either.
Oh, and for Thompson’s thoughts and memories for Star Wars day, click here.