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(Cleveland Plain Dealer)   Bill Watterson reflects on "Calvin & Hobbes" with local newspaper reporter in his first interview since 1989   (cleveland.com ) divider line
    More: Spiffy, Bill Watterson, reporters  
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39977 clicks; posted to Main » on 01 Feb 2010 at 10:24 AM (6 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



630 Comments   (+0 »)

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2010-02-01 10:52:23 AM  

eddyatwork: Could someone explain why Calvin and Hobbes is gone while crap like Cathy and Garfield lives on?


There's a lot to be said about the lowest common denominators.

I remember that Bill was under a lot of pressure from his syndicate to merchandise Calvin and Hobbes, and they technically could have forced the issue if they felt like it. There was a lot of tension there, given pressure to merchandise and format restrictions. I recall this was a large part of what took the life out of the work for him, and suspected that it had something to do with why he felt he needed to retire.

I've often wondered if Watterson would be interested in taking advantage of the internet as an outlet for his creativity. Format restrictions are self-imposed when you publish your own webcomic/website, and he might enjoy that freedom to exercise his artistic creativity.

I guess I am one of those fans that was very inspired by his work. I'm 25 now and was introduced to Calvin & Hobbes fairly early. C & H contributed a great deal to the development of my reading and vocabulary, as well as expanding my interests in many other areas and stimulating my inquisitive mind. That being said, what's up with a lazy six year old that fails in school having such a huge vocabulary?
 
2010-02-01 10:52:27 AM  
farm3.static.flickr.com

Works for me :)
 
2010-02-01 10:52:35 AM  

UNC_Samurai: Rev.K: Babwa Wawa: Because Watterson quit before it could morph into something tired and bad. He placed the integrity of the strip above his desire for money.

I Said: "It's always better to leave the party early," Watterson says. "If I had rolled along with the strip's popularity and repeated myself for another five, 10 or 20 years, the people now 'grieving' for 'Calvin and Hobbes' would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I'd be agreeing with them.

Wow. How can anyone not respect that?

The guy could look at his own work and say "yep, I'm done, and I don't want this to turn into a steamy pile of sh*t over the next decade".

I know that he took a bit of a shot at Davis in that quote, but considering a number of papers still run Peanuts, is he taking a shot at the Schultz estate, too?


I doubt it. Schultz didn't really decline IMO, the simple childhood strip remained intact for it's entire run. Peanuts is a unique entity really. And since Schultz wrote the forward to the 10th Anniversary edition book of Calvin and Hobbes, and Watterson lists his as his biggest inspiration, I doubt he was taking shots at him.

Davis needs to DIAF btw.
 
2010-02-01 10:52:49 AM  
DirkTheDaring

Hey, you. fark you, OK? fark you.

/hate that strip
 
2010-02-01 10:52:57 AM  
DirkTheDaring

I am so farking bummed out now.
Thanks dickhead... I mean Dirkhead
 
2010-02-01 10:53:25 AM  

Jubeebee: Yeah, Frazz is going strong, and is actually decent more days than not.


Good information. I haven't had more than a Sunday subscription to a newspaper since I moved out of my parents' house, and I gave up said subscription to the Philadelphia Inquirer after moving out of my old apartment in the midst of a breakup with a long-term girlfriend. (/cool story, bro!)

Is this where I mention my adoration of Achewood? If Calvin and Hobbes summed up the world through a child's eyes when I was that age, then Achewood kind of does the same thing for being in one's twenties. There are good times, bad times, lots of booze, and friendships, but all of it is sort of resting on this foundation of "does this have any larger point?"
 
2010-02-01 10:53:31 AM  
I am very glad to own this:

www.coverbrowser.com
 
2010-02-01 10:53:50 AM  
Our kids (girl age 6 and boy age 9) discovered our C&H book collection a while back, and forced us to read them to them. It's kinda weird reading comic strips, but we did it.

Then, a couple weeks ago, the payoff: The Boy was playing in the snow, and walked outside to see what he was up to. He was making dozens of tiny snowmen so he could destroy them a la Calvin. I was so damned proud.
 
2010-02-01 10:53:56 AM  
Maybe we can have a Calvin pissing photoshop run:

jthewonderllama.files.wordpress.com
 
2010-02-01 10:54:15 AM  

Velveeta_Poindexter: I have a question. Watterson chose not to merchandise Calvin and Hobbes, and he seems to get paid a lot of lip service for doing so.

My question: why is this seen as respectable? Had he chosen to allow Hobbes stuffed animals and Calvin t-shirts, would it have taken away from the quality of the strip?

While I was never the biggest Peanuts fan, it certainly wasn't because Snoopy sells life insurance.


He feels it would have. Most other strips have an entire staff dedicated to merchandising and such. He was very proud that every line, color, and ink blot was created by him. No corporate entity ever created a greeting card putting words in Calvin's mouth, no staff intern voiced Hobbes in a holiday special, etc. He worked insanely hard to keep material together during those 10 years, and he did it all himself.
 
2010-02-01 10:55:05 AM  
blevkog.files.wordpress.com

This.
 
2010-02-01 10:55:29 AM  

Kar98: eddyatwork: Could someone explain why Calvin and Hobbes is gone while crap like Cathy and Garfield lives on?

Because Watterson quit before it turned into crap like Cathy and Garfield.


Many geniuses should just quit while they're ahead

Exhibit A:

madmonq.files.wordpress.com

God Bless you, Bill Watterson, you magnificent bastard
 
2010-02-01 10:55:33 AM  

KingKauff: It's been FIFTEEN years? Thanks for making me feel old, subby


Time does fly!

/miss them
 
2010-02-01 10:55:34 AM  

Jubeebee: alvin and Hobbes and The Far Side are still the kings of comics though.


homepage.mac.com

There are 3 IMHO
 
2010-02-01 10:56:23 AM  

FeedTheCollapse: is it just me, or is this much worse than Calvin Peeing?:


Far, far worse.
 
2010-02-01 10:56:25 AM  
The P-D said it's believed to be the first interview with the reclusive artist since 1989.

By "reclusive" I assume they mean "not a total attention whore". Apparently it has never occurred to the media that some people actually want to live normal lives and stay out of the spotlight.

/C&H is the most f*cking awesome strip EVAR!1
 
2010-02-01 10:56:28 AM  

badLogic: 2wolves: Too much dust in the office this morning.

2wolves > DirkTheDaring

/something in my eye


www.chrisroberson.net

Oh snap
 
2010-02-01 10:57:31 AM  

Jubeebee: tom servo bit me: As far as current strips go, I always sort of thought of Frazz as being what Calvin would have been like as a twenty-something. Wiser for his experiences, but still spunky and individualist, passing on his knowledge to a new generation of inquisitive troublemakers. Do they even still do Frazz?

Yeah, Frazz is going strong, and is actually decent more days than not.

Cow and Boy is too meta and relies too much on O LOOK AT THIS CRAZY THING IN THE 3RD PANEL HAHAHAHAHA most of the time to be entertaining. When Cow and Boy is on, it's really good, but that happens maybe once every month or so. Just enough to be frustrating when the firebreathing helicopter orca shows up for the 8th day in a row.

Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side are still the kings of comics though. Far better than Peanuts or For Better or Worse, IMO. The only active comic that is as consistently good in terms of writing (although nowhere near as good in terms of art) is XKCD.


No love for Zits? That strip does a great job of juxtaposing objective reality with the inner perceptions of a kid (albeit a 16-year-old, rather than a 6-year-old)
 
2010-02-01 10:57:37 AM  
MensRea
I am very glad to own this:

THIS

It is one of my most prized possessions. Bill Waterson, imho, has contributed more to literature than most authors in the past 30 years.
 
2010-02-01 10:57:37 AM  
Geez... the guy doesn't do an interview in 20 years and that pile of crap is all the moron interviewer can think of to ask the guy?
 
2010-02-01 10:58:09 AM  
The snowmen strips were always my favorite:

img526.imageshack.us

Click here for the rest of them.
 
2010-02-01 10:58:15 AM  

FeedTheCollapse: Velveeta_Poindexter: have a question. Watterson chose not to merchandise Calvin and Hobbes, and he seems to get paid a lot of lip service for doing so.

My question: why is this seen as respectable? Had he chosen to allow Hobbes stuffed animals and Calvin t-shirts, would it have taken away from the quality of the strip?


Absolutely. The beautiful thing about the utter lack of Hobbes stuffed animals is that it means no child can go out and beg mommy and daddy for the toy in order to emulate Calvin's adventures. Instead, they have to find magic in their own world, and push for the kind of creativity that allowed Calvin to take a tiger and turn it into a friend.

/loved the strips
//understood the above point when she was 10
///also tried to ride a wagon down a hill
//still has the scars
/slashies!
 
2010-02-01 10:58:31 AM  

FeedTheCollapse: the actual interview is here

FTA: How soon after the U.S. Postal Service issues the Calvin stamp will you send a letter with one on the envelope?

Immediately. I'm going to get in my horse and buggy and snail-mail a check for my newspaper subscription.


I love this guy.
 
2010-02-01 10:58:32 AM  
I see C&H's end like I see Arrested Development's. Really, really sorry to see them end, but even more glad that they didn't go on waaaaay too far and become crappy.
 
2010-02-01 10:59:06 AM  

Breakwall: I always read C&H with a bit of wistfulness.
The kid lived in the same world we grew up in, full of freedom and imagination and innocence, and bereft of Amber Alerts, zero-tolerance rules and child psychologists.



Seconded! Reading C&H, I'd have sworn Watterson was spying on me when I was a kid. The integrity with which he speaks of (or doesn't speak of, as the case usually is) and treats the beautiful thing he created is rare and refreshing to see these days.
 
2010-02-01 10:59:08 AM  
media.cleveland.com

I wonder if he knew they were going to run this pic of him with the Freddie Mercury gay porn 'stache.
 
2010-02-01 11:00:00 AM  

FrancoFile: Jubeebee: tom servo bit me: As far as current strips go, I always sort of thought of Frazz as being what Calvin would have been like as a twenty-something. Wiser for his experiences, but still spunky and individualist, passing on his knowledge to a new generation of inquisitive troublemakers. Do they even still do Frazz?

Yeah, Frazz is going strong, and is actually decent more days than not.

Cow and Boy is too meta and relies too much on O LOOK AT THIS CRAZY THING IN THE 3RD PANEL HAHAHAHAHA most of the time to be entertaining. When Cow and Boy is on, it's really good, but that happens maybe once every month or so. Just enough to be frustrating when the firebreathing helicopter orca shows up for the 8th day in a row.

Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side are still the kings of comics though. Far better than Peanuts or For Better or Worse, IMO. The only active comic that is as consistently good in terms of writing (although nowhere near as good in terms of art) is XKCD.

No love for Zits? That strip does a great job of juxtaposing objective reality with the inner perceptions of a kid (albeit a 16-year-old, rather than a 6-year-old)


Zits seems to get teenagers pretty well, at least when I last read it.
 
2010-02-01 11:00:11 AM  
Fark all the C&H trolls in this thread

i115.photobucket.com

i115.photobucket.com

i115.photobucket.com
 
2010-02-01 11:00:18 AM  

WhackingDay: Geez... the guy doesn't do an interview in 20 years and that pile of crap is all the moron interviewer can think of to ask the guy?


The interview was done by email.

I wonder if the interviewer sent him a laundry list of questions and those were just the ones that Watterson decided to answer.
 
2010-02-01 11:00:24 AM  
Why I loved C&H:

4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2010-02-01 11:01:08 AM  
(And screw Fark for forcing my to resize all those images by myself, so that 44 more posts got in before it finally friggin accepted 'em)
 
2010-02-01 11:01:27 AM  

MikeMc: The P-D said it's believed to be the first interview with the reclusive artist since 1989.

By "reclusive" I assume they mean "not a total attention whore". Apparently it has never occurred to the media that some people actually want to live normal lives and stay out of the spotlight.

/C&H is the most f*cking awesome strip EVAR!1


One of my favorite stories about Watterson was how he would go down to his local bookstore and occasionally sign copies of his books that were on the shelves. Just kinda a treat for the fans.

He stopped only when be became aware that people were selling them on the ebay.
 
2010-02-01 11:01:43 AM  
I got the box set preordered as soon as it was announced, got it within a day of it's release, and have loved it.

I definitely wish that Watterson would - just for us original lovers of the strip - approve a limited run of Hobbes replica stuffed tigers. I would buy one in a heart beat.

C&H changed the way I look at the world, right along with Far Side... so yeah, I'm sending the good vibes towards the man!
 
2010-02-01 11:02:00 AM  

badLogic: The problem is that there is no "fresher, livelier talent". All the new stuff is pure shiate.


The fresher, livelier readers probably beg to differ.

/things are less funny when your lumbago is acting up again
 
2010-02-01 11:02:08 AM  
I like Calvin better when he was Ralph Phillips.

From A to Z-Z-Z-Z

Boyhood Daze
 
2010-02-01 11:02:28 AM  

tom servo bit me:
As far as current strips go, I always sort of thought of Frazz as being what Calvin would have been like as a twenty-something. Wiser for his experiences, but still spunky and individualist, passing on his knowledge to a new generation of inquisitive troublemakers. Do they even still do Frazz?


I've always seen Frazz that way too. Aside from the fact that he LOOKS like Calvin, he just is so very Calvin-esque in his world views. I've always wondered if Watterson saw it and what he thought of it.

And yes, they still do Frazz. I read every day.
 
2010-02-01 11:02:30 AM  

Gunny Highway: Jubeebee: alvin and Hobbes and The Far Side are still the kings of comics though.

There are 3 IMHO


I never read much Bloom County, although I've heard good things. The few I have seen are rather political, which, while good, put them in a separate category than C&H and Far Side.

I have to revise my previous statement though. Pearls Before Swine is entirely fantastic. So Pearls and XKCD get my vote for best active comics.
 
2010-02-01 11:02:53 AM  

FightDirector: Fark all the C&H trolls in this thread


The top pic was new to me. Disturbing, but new.
 
2010-02-01 11:03:51 AM  

theurge14: The snowmen strips were always my favorite


My favorite:

www.angelfire.com
 
2010-02-01 11:05:17 AM  

AmazingRuss: badLogic: The problem is that there is no "fresher, livelier talent". All the new stuff is pure shiate.

The fresher, livelier readers probably beg to differ.

/things are less funny when your lumbago is acting up again


No kidding.
This thread is just one long "get off my lawn" moment for me.

/don't care
//grunge!
 
2010-02-01 11:05:26 AM  

OniNeko: That being said, what's up with a lazy six year old that fails in school having such a huge vocabulary?


Failing in public education systems doesn't necessarily indicate stupidity or lack of knowledge. It's likely that if Calvin had been a real child, he would have been one of the ones that chased after knowledge on their own because things fascinated them, but were bored beyond measure by the structure of classroom 'learning' environments.

/Probably worse now, thanks to NCLB.
 
2010-02-01 11:05:50 AM  

2wolves: FightDirector: Fark all the C&H trolls in this thread

The top pic was new to me. Disturbing, but new.


The Prozac one? That's been around a while. There's a rebuttal to it floating around too. Here you go:

i115.photobucket.com


The one that's was new to me was PJMurphy's image. Screw that.
 
2010-02-01 11:06:07 AM  
Wow. His first interview in so many years and the reporter throws him idiotic questions like those? I wonder why he bothered to respond.
 
2010-02-01 11:06:17 AM  
More Calvin and Hobbes porn pls...

/god i'm farked up
 
2010-02-01 11:06:56 AM  
I never saw a pic of Bill Watterson before, but I always had a hunch that he looked like Calvin's dad.

media.cleveland.com
 
2010-02-01 11:07:01 AM  

MensRea: I am very glad to own this:


That's the greatest gift I've ever received.
 
2010-02-01 11:07:35 AM  

dittybopper: I like Calvin better when he was Ralph Phillips.

From A to Z-Z-Z-Z

Boyhood Daze


I always wondered if Chuck Jones based Ralph on himself as a kid.
 
2010-02-01 11:08:00 AM  

General_Failure: I see C&H's end like I see Arrested Development's. Really, really sorry to see them end, but even more glad that they didn't go on waaaaay too far and become crappy.


Sort of this, except Arrested probably could have stretched out another season or two... it wasn't like the creators chose to end the show when it did, sadly.
 
2010-02-01 11:08:09 AM  

HawgWild: Why I loved C&H:


For better or worse, I see so much of Calvin in my four year old daughter, and strips like that really drive the point home.
 
2010-02-01 11:08:29 AM  

theurge14: The snowmen strips were always my favorite:

Click here for the rest of them.


gremlindog.com

Thank you, theurge, thank you. You've made my day
 
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