The elusive Bill Watterson, the cartoonist who created the beloved newspaper comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes resurfaced this week in the form of a cartoon.
The makers of the documentary STRIPPED, a movie that explores the waning days of the newspaper comic strip as the newspaper industry faces some extremely tough times, tapped Watterson to draw a cartoon for their movie poster. It’s the first cartoon he’s drawn for the public in almost 19 years. Naturally, it founds its way to the Internet and the Internet is losing its collective marbles over the cartoon. Watterson has been one of the world’s most famous recluses since he decided to abruptly end his beloved Calvin and Hobbes in 1995. He rarely gives interviews or makes public appearances and his art output has been slim at best. A couple of filmmakers recently made a documentary called Dear Mr. Watterson dedicated to thanking the man for his work on the comic strip and even trying to get him to sit down and do an interview so they could thank him in person.
Watterson famously railed against any commercialization or expansion of his cartoon creation outside of the comic strips pages. He protected his characters the way a helicopter parent looks over their son or daughter. He went out of his way to make sure the publishing company that sold his work in book form never did any Calvin and Hobbes merchandising of his characters. Attempts were made to turn Calvin and Hobbes into toys such as a Hobbes striped tiger plush that a toy manufacturer made prototypes of and sent to Watterson’s house for his approval.
He must not have liked them because he burned the entire stock of toys in his backyard. The only remaining prototype that Watterson didn’t torch went up on sale on eBay for over $1,700 presumably because it comes alive to its owner and can help you with your philosophical problems.