Three years after revealing that he has Parkinson's disease, comic-strip creator Richard Thompson, 54, says he will end his popular strip "Cul de Sac" in late September. "Parkinson's disease is horribly selfish and demanding," Thompson said. "A daily comic strip is, too, and I can only deal with one at a time."
"Cul de Sac" debuted as a weekly feature in 2004, in the Washington Post Magazine.
Since then, "Cul de Sac" -- about preschooler Alice Otterloop -- has won a loyal following. Syndicate Universal Uclick rolled it out as a daily strip in 2007, and it is now syndicated to more than 250 newspapers, including the Star Tribune, which started running it in 2008.
"I've known for a year or more that I was working on borrowed time," said Thompson, who works out of his Arlington, Va., studio. "My lettering had begun to wander off in 2009, but that could be fixed easily enough. But when Alice's and Dill's heads began to look under-inflated last winter, I figured I was losing control of the drawing, too. When I needed help with the inking (the hardest but most satisfying part of drawing the strip), well, that was probably a tipping point."
Despite the setback, Thompson said he's not about to quit. "But I'm sure my work will change. It may look like it was done by Cy Twombly using his sleeve."
WASHINGTON POSTTom Hanks dines in West Fargo
The owner of a North Dakota diner got a surprise Friday when Tom Hanks showed up for breakfast. Tammy Hagensen says she got a call Thursday from a jet company that often sends its pilots to TNT's Diner in West Fargo. A company official asked if she would open early Friday for an unidentified special guest. She agreed because she was curious and was stunned when Hanks, his wife, Rita Wilson, and their two sons walked through the door. Hanks and his family ate breakfast and left, but not before a couple of photos were taken and he signed a couple of T-shirts.
CAGELESS CROSSING: Diana Nyad forged ahead through the Straits of Florida Sunday in pursuit of a record 103-mile open-water swim without the aid of a shark cage. The swimmer was said to be comfortable, confident and steady at around 50 strokes per minute after a harrowing night of jellyfish stings. Nyad, who turns 63 Wednesday, is trying to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys, making her third attempt since last summer.
NO GO: Nicki Minaj has canceled her appearance at this weekend's V Festival in the United Kingdom because of damage to her vocal cords.