Cul de Sac (comic strip)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Cul de Sac (2004-2012) was a Mundane Fantastic comic set in suburbia, chronicling the adventures of Alice, a child in preschool, her brother, Petey, a neurotic and absurdly Picky Eater, and their family, friends and neighbors.

Started as a Sundays-only 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.

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

Tropes used in Cul de Sac (comic strip) include:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Art Shift: Whenever a comic by Petey, Andre, or Loris appears.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: 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 Cloudcuckooland
  • Eldritch Location: The jungle gym. It's apparently alive and continually growing.
  • Freudian Trio: Petey ,Andre and Loris form one of these.
  • The Ghost: Dill's brothers are frequently referred to, but never actually seen.
  • Halloween Episode: Theres 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
  • Meaningful Name: Otterloop. Of the Beltway. Say it slowly.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-universe example; the size of Grandma's dog Big Shirley.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out/Crossover: PJ Piehole's a 'restaurant' that appears in Thompson's other comic 'Richard's Poor Almanac' was the subject of onw strip and a source of angst for Petey.
  • Sixth Ranger: Sophie
  • 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...
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Often invoked by Petey or Alice.
  • 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.