If somebody asks me what the strip is about, I say it's about the little kids who never shut up. That's the short answer, and this is the longer one.
Cul de Sac started in early 2004 as a weekly comic strip in the Washington Post Magazine. Actually, it started a few years earlier when Tom Shroder, who had been my editor in the Post's Style section, took over the Sunday Magazine and asked me if I'd ever considered drawing a strip with continuing characters. I hadn't, at least I hadn't for a long time, and it took me a few years to come up with what became Cul de Sac. Tom had in mind a strip about people who lived in Washingtotn DC; who lived in it and knew it as a city, not the Capital of the Free World.
What I came up with was a family with two little kids, not the most ingenious idea for a comic strip and I'm embarrassed it took me so long to come up with it. But simple solutions allow for greater flexibility, I hoped. And once I'd figured out who the kids were the whole thing began to come into focus; the smaller kid is a girl, Alice, who's an irresistible force and the larger is a boy, Petey, who's an immovable object. And their last name is Otterloop, a play on Outer Loop, the counterclockwise ring of the traffic-choked Beltway encircling DC. By following them around I got to meet their friends and neighbors; Beni, Kevin, Nara, Miss Bliss, Ernesto, Viola, the Uh- Oh Baby and Dill.
After drawing Cul de Sac for the Post for a few years as a weekly I started wondering how the Otterloops spend their days in between Sundays and figured I should find out. After some work by Universal Press Syndicate and me, Cul de Sac launched as a daily strip in September, 2007. So far so good. I feel that I've only just begun to explore the small but intense world of Alice, Petey and their odd little neighbors. I hope they never shut up.