Chris Sparks, a professional web designer, was building a branded identity for Richard Thompson (Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year 2011)
and his syndicated comic “Cul de Sac”. During the project, Richard, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and Chris became interested in learning more about Parkinson’s and read one of the Michael J. Fox memoirs. The story inspired Chris to think of a way he could help make a difference in the cause.
I feel really honored to present an interview with Chris on behalf of Richard and all those affected by Parkinson’s Disease. I personally know of the trials it can present from my own Uncle who suffered from the disease.
David: Hello Chris, I really appreciate you sharing about the “Team Cul de Sac” book. The book features some major talent dedicated to Richard Thompson and his fight against Parkinson’s disease. Can you share a little about the book and project?
As Richard and I became friends and I found out about him having Parkinson’s I wanted to do something to raise money for the MJFF and also honor my friend Richard. So Since I love comics and everyone loves Richard, I came up with the idea of cartoonist donating art to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation(MJFF). I also thought it would be nice to have a book to showcase the wonderful work I was hoping to get.
David: How did you meet Richard?
I met Richard at Heroescon in 2008. I had heard such nice things about him that I really had to see if Richard was as amazing as everyone said. Well he is. I became a fan/stalker/friend from the moment I met him. He is the best.
David: Where did you get the idea to compile the book and can we expect to see more? I know there are Team Cul de Sac stamps available also.
In my recliner! Its where I do some of my best ideas! One night I was reading a book by Michael J. Fox: Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. I figured if an actor that I admired could start a foundation to help cure Parkinson’s, I could do something to raise money for the MJFF and honor my friend Richard Thompson, the creator of the syndicated strip Cul de Sac.
I was struck by Michaels ability to be the face (if he wanted to or not) of this terrible disease. Before I asked Richard for his blessing of me doing a fundraiser, I had to think if I would be willing to put myself out there like Richard would have to. It was a no brainer, yes I would do it and if he said yes, I would go about this full steam.
Richard gave me his blessing and off I went on coming up with a plan for Team Cul de Sac.
I am interested in doing something every year to help keep the money and awareness of Parkinson’s in front of everyone. I just have to finish this first before we go to stage two.
David: Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) has also contributed to the book and that has been some major news. What are the details of all the fantastic art, his and others, where is all the original art going?
Richard and I are Splitting it!….NO NO NO I wish! The art is being auctioned off later this year to raise money for the MJFF. That is where the bulk of the money we will raise will come from. I will have more information on that soon. Please follow us at teamculdesac.blogspot.com, team cul de sac on facebook, twitter, google +, or pinterest
David: What is Richard up to and can you share any news about him? I know Stacy Curtis is now assisting Richard with Cul de Sac.
Richard took some time off for Physical therapy and It has helped a lot but Parkinson’s is really a day to day learning process. Some days are just better than others. Stacy is now helping him ink Cul de Sac and I am sure that is taking pressure off of Richard and he can focus on himself more. I saw Richard a few days ago and I am always amazed by just how witty he his. He is the most talented artist and one of the most brilliant human beings I have ever met.
David: Last question, tell me more about Sparkling Design and also a little history about you and comics. I know you are an avid comic fan.
Well, My partner Jamie King and I met a few years ago when we had both gone back to school. We just hit it off and after school we realized that we work well together. So here we are. We do branding, print design, web design and a little of everything else. We also sell the Team Cul de Sac book on our site. We are also giving money to the MJFF on every book we sell. So, go to sparkingdesign.com and order a copy.
Yes, I have been a comic fan since I was five years old. Working with all these cartoonists has been a blast. I have made some wonderful friends in this journey.
David: Chris what you are doing for Richard and others suffering from Parkinson’s Disease is truly awesome. I personally have ordered a copy of the book and can’t wait to see all the wonderful artwork by so many talented individuals. And am truly honored to do my small part in raising awareness and funds for this great cause.
Find out more about Team Cul de Sac, Richard and Chris (and buy a copy of this spectacular book) at these links:
Buy the Team Cul de Sac book: sparkingdesign.com
Team Cul de Sac blog: teamculdesac.blogspot.com
Team Cul de Sac on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Cul-de-Sac/165309920210027
Profile of Richard Thompson: www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/comic-riffs/post/the-comic-riffspost-magazine-profile-cul-de-sac-creator-richard-thompson-faces-lifes-cruel-twists-with-artful-wit/2011/05/18/AFiNaT7G_blog.html