Calvin & Hobbes' Bill Watterson Returned to Comics - In Secret!

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Calvin & Hobbes' Bill Watterson Returned to Comics - In Secret!

calvin

The reclusive comics legend ghost-wrote/drew a fellow artist's strip for three days

Bill Watterson spent ten years writing and drawing every installment of Calvin & Hobbes, considered by many to be the single greatest comic strip in the history of the medium. During that period he experimented with daring new art techniques, negotiated unprecedented levels of creative independence from his publisher and famously resisted merchandising or "franchising" his characters; making him a hero to fellow comics professionals and something like a god to legions of devout fans.

Then, at the height of his fame, he walked away.

Since then, Calvin & Hobbes (the adventures of a young boy and his stuffed tiger, who is either secretly alive or imagined to be thus) has only grown in stature - it's hard to find a writer, artist or filmmaker of even vaugely-related material who doesn't cite it as a key influence. But Watterson has remained not only retired but practically invisible; refusing almost all interviews, seldom ever seen or even said to have been seen. In an age where some authors trade quips with fans daily on social media, he's essentially a ghost.

Until now.

Stephan Pastis, author of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine, has now revealed that - unknown to the rest of the world (but suspected by a few dogged comics fans) until today - a just-concluded three day Pearls "meta-story" in which a (supposed) 10 year-old fan swapped-out Pastis usual art with her own Watterson-esque whismical fare was actually executed by Bill Watterson Himself under the condition that the truth not be known until it was concluded.

The three strips now mark the first new newspaper comics work that Watterson has published in almost two decades, though he has contributed a handful of forewards to comics collections and posters made for charity and the documentary Stripped.

Source: The Washington Post

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The best part is that the artwork is unmistakably Watterson. That's a cool story and a very nice little arc. Of course the 10 year old draws like a cartoon legend.

That's brilliant. I don't much care for Pearls Before Swine but it's fantastic to see Watterson dust off his pen.

New Calvin and Hobbes? Please?

Wha... but... I don't... how...

For those looking for the images directly:

I'm glad to see Mr Watterson is still drawing comics. I've always wondered if, after his death, we'll find out that he has boxes of comics that he drew in the past 20 years and kept with him. THAT would be an omnibus everyone would buy.

Oh how lovely. No doubt I miss Calvin and Hobbes and the ending of that strip was the subject of my first high school newsletter article. Absolutely brilliant man and I've much respect for his work and choice to "leave it all behind". This only shows his mind (and pencil) are still as sharp as ever.

Wait, I'm confused, then what's the deal with the comic that stars a very obviously grown up Calvin and his daughter?

Thunderous Cacophony:
For those looking for the images directly:

I'm glad to see Mr Watterson is still drawing comics. I've always wondered if, after his death, we'll find out that he has boxes of comics that he drew in the past 20 years and kept with him. THAT would be an omnibus everyone would buy.

You forgot about the fourth one where Libby is wearing winter clothing, is holding a sleigh, and not only references the last C&H strip, but asks Rat if she should "hit him over the head with the symbolism".

OT: That's pretty neat! Glad Mr. Watterson was willing to do something these past few decades. Hope we get to see more from him in the future; he's too skilled to just fade away.

MCerberus:
Wait, I'm confused, then what's the deal with the comic that stars a very obviously grown up Calvin and his daughter?

Fan did it. Doesn't make it any less great, though.

That is awesome! It's great to see Bill Watterson come out of retirement - if only for a few strips - and put his pen to another one of my favorite comic strips. It's like Christmas came early this year...

LG Jargon:

Thunderous Cacophony:
For those looking for the images directly:

I'm glad to see Mr. Watterson is still drawing comics. I've always wondered if, after his death, we'll find out that he has boxes of comics that he drew in the past 20 years and kept with him. THAT would be an omnibus everyone would buy.

You forgot about the fourth one where Libby is wearing winter clothing, is holding a sleigh, and not only references the last C&H strip, but asks Rat if she should "hit him over the head with the symbolism".

OT: That's pretty neat! Glad Mr. Watterson was willing to do something these past few decades. Hope we get to see more from him in the future; he's too skilled to just fade away.

I didn't put that one in originally because I don't think Mr. Watterson did it; I believe that's just the regular author referencing it. I've added it my original post now.

MCerberus:
Wait, I'm confused, then what's the deal with the comic that stars a very obviously grown up Calvin and his daughter?

I can have such a thing? Where?

I was wondering why I loved this little storyline of Pearls Before Swine so much...I mean besides the fact it's PBS.

Man, this is the best thing ever.

Calvin and Hobbes was my childhood. I own every book and even had a few imported in from the UK when I was in my collecting mode.

And Pearls Before Swine is my favorite strip since C&H went away, too.

Gah, this is just so cool.

LG Jargon:

You forgot about the fourth one where Libby is wearing winter clothing, is holding a sleigh, and not only references the last C&H strip, but asks Rat if she should "hit him over the head with the symbolism".

And rat predictably goes the low road. Which I love, for the record. I'm not complaining.

Calvin & Hobbes was a bright moment in my childhood. Reading their adventures in the papers and in the collected trades was sheer joy. Which made it all the more heartbreaking when Bill Waterson hung up his hat and retired the strip after 10 years. Looking back, I'm glad he did that. A lot of comic strips these days have overstayed their welcome (looking at you, Garfield). Calvin & Hobbes went out at the height of their popularity and continues to draw in new readers. If you have the chance to share this strip with your kids or nephews or nieces, please do so.

It was surprising to see home come back like this. It's great to see this wonderful artist come back in such a way. Hope we see more of Bill Waterson and his world down the road.

Double A:

MCerberus:
Wait, I'm confused, then what's the deal with the comic that stars a very obviously grown up Calvin and his daughter?

Fan did it. Doesn't make it any less great, though.

Thanks for that info. Comics, to borrow from MovieBob, ARE WEIRD, and I sometimes can't keep up with the weird politics and scope of it all.

MCerberus:
Wait, I'm confused, then what's the deal with the comic that stars a very obviously grown up Calvin and his daughter?

Do you have a link for this? I really want to read that.

One of Many:

MCerberus:
Wait, I'm confused, then what's the deal with the comic that stars a very obviously grown up Calvin and his daughter?

Do you have a link for this? I really want to read that.

Digging around, it's a somewhat-recurring thing that the site Pants Are Overrated does
link to the first posting http://www.pantsareoverrated.com/archive/2011/05/10/hobbes-and-bacon/

Googling around, there are people that made compilation galleries, but I'm just linking the source

First Homestar Runner's April Fools update, now this. I hereby declare 2014 to be the "Year of the Cocktease."

I figured Watterson was responsible when the robot martian attack was revealed. Those UFOs are a dead ringer for Spaceman Spiff's ship. Libby's line "I could do better if I had more space" reinforced my suspicions (Watterson despises how small newspaper comics have become) and the "magical world" callback solidified it.

It's somehow fitting that the man who made my favorite newspaper comic would resurface on my favorite ongoing one. Pastis really did pull off the impossible with this.

Neverhoodian:
First Homestar Runner's April Fools update, now this. I hereby declare 2014 to be the "Year of the Cocktease."

Funny, I propose calling this "Year of OH MY GOD SO DAMN AWESOME!!!"

I only read Calvin and Hobbes because I hated Garfield and hadn't even heard of Peanuts until I was older, both of which have become my favourite comic strips.

Still, it's not suprising that he's still drawing or painting or whatever artists do nowadays. I mean, "Headlining News: Artist Makes Art" is hardly surpsising news.

It's still really awesome to see him working in comics again.

This is the fastest I've ever clicked on a news article, I think. I grew up with Calvin and Hobbes, and I own just about every book collection ever published, apart from that huge 3 book collection, which is probably going to be my next purchase.

I really hope this means Watterson may actually come back to the comic world, even just for one more strip. I know it's about as likely as me waking up on Pluto tomorrow, but if he wrote even just one more Calvin and Hobbes strip, I'd be the happiest person on Earth.

I love calvin and hobbess, I really like bill waterson, but I'm starting to really find the growing worship of a recluse a tad off-putting.

What a great strip for him to work on too... Pearls Before Swine is one of my favorite strips out there!

MovieBob:

Bill Watterson spent ten years writing and drawing every installment of Calvin & Hobbes, considered by many to be the single greatest comic strip in the history of the medium.

...in America. Sorry, but his exposure over in the UK at least has been lower than, say Garfield or Peanuts (for a US author) and far lower than UK based strips (such as Andy Capp and others). I get that this is an American website, but it's got a global fanbase, and comments like that reek of "World Series" syndrome.

Verlander:

MovieBob:

Bill Watterson spent ten years writing and drawing every installment of Calvin & Hobbes, considered by many to be the single greatest comic strip in the history of the medium.

...in America. Sorry, but his exposure over in the UK at least has been lower than, say Garfield or Peanuts (for a US author) and far lower than UK based strips (such as Andy Capp and others). I get that this is an American website, but it's got a global fanbase, and comments like that reek of "World Series" syndrome.

Could you explain "World Series" syndrome? I got the context, but an elaboration would interest me.

I like how the kid's name is Libby, then he immediately calls her "Lib."

I'm thinking the Lib -> Bill thing was intentional.

FriedRicer:

Verlander:

MovieBob:

Bill Watterson spent ten years writing and drawing every installment of Calvin & Hobbes, considered by many to be the single greatest comic strip in the history of the medium.

...in America. Sorry, but his exposure over in the UK at least has been lower than, say Garfield or Peanuts (for a US author) and far lower than UK based strips (such as Andy Capp and others). I get that this is an American website, but it's got a global fanbase, and comments like that reek of "World Series" syndrome.

Could you explain "World Series" syndrome? I got the context, but an elaboration would interest me.

Totally made it up a while back, to describe a "problem" several US businesses and media seem to have. Perhaps problem is a little strong, but here goes - the Baseball World Series is an annual competition that only takes place in North America, with American teams. In itself it's not an issue, but the idea that for many American's to not really notice kind of is an issue.

Business is conducted in English world over. With the prevalence of US entertainment, and with the burgeoning economies of English speaking countries, it compounds this idea of global superiority. In the US there's a giant level of indoctrination, some deliberate, some less so - the pledge of allegiance, and near fanatical worship of the flag, constitution and anthem are deliberate, while maps with the North and South American continent at the centre is likely to be less deliberate:

People that are exposed to this simply think that the US is literally the centre of everything. This can lead writers to read off facts and opinions that might be true in the US, but have no basis in truth overseas, such as the one here.

Now, this isn't a problem per se - this is a US based site, of course they can say what they like. However I do believe that this can be offputting to many of the potential viewers.

Thunderous Cacophony:

I'm glad to see Mr Watterson is still drawing comics. I've always wondered if, after his death, we'll find out that he has boxes of comics that he drew in the past 20 years and kept with him. THAT would be an omnibus everyone would buy.

Much like those books J.D. Salinger has been keeping in a safe all these years and won't be released until fifty years after his death. Everyone will buy them then and be disappointed.

the antithesis:

Thunderous Cacophony:

I'm glad to see Mr Watterson is still drawing comics. I've always wondered if, after his death, we'll find out that he has boxes of comics that he drew in the past 20 years and kept with him. THAT would be an omnibus everyone would buy.

Much like those books J.D. Salinger has been keeping in a safe all these years and won't be released until fifty years after his death. Everyone will buy them then and be disappointed.

I'm optimistic about their quality. I never really liked Salinger's work, and it seems like Catcher in the Rye was his one big success (I don't know how popular his short stories would have been without his name on the cover). Watterson, meanwhile, managed to be consistently good for a decade of weekly strips, and if he kept writing for the past 20 years I don't think the quality would have declined rapidly. Plus, his art was always beautiful. There might be disappointment, but I bet there would be enough gems in there to warrant their placement alongside his best official publications in the post-mortem collection.

CrazyGirl17:
That is awesome! It's great to see Bill Watterson come out of retirement - if only for a few strips - and put his pen to another one of my favorite comic strips. It's like Christmas came early this year...

The joy that wells inside my heart is so great I want to cry. That letter was beautiful, and I wish Bill Watterson could know how much his work changed my life all those years ago...

I live in Canada, Verlander. While I can only speculate on the global impact, I can tell you that what you describe very severely diminishes the Canadian cultural identity.

But on-topic: Calvin and Hobbes was a significant portion of my childhood as well, and along with Bloom County, was how I learnt to read. Watterson's reclusive nature has left me a tad confused, but then Breathed has been just as (if not more) reclusive as well. It's oddly cheerful and sorrowful to think that these creative figures have been living the lives they have. But their lives ARE their lives to live, so I'm not going to bemoan their lack of celebrity exploitation.

Thunderous Cacophony:
For those looking for the images directly:

I'm glad to see Mr Watterson is still drawing comics. I've always wondered if, after his death, we'll find out that he has boxes of comics that he drew in the past 20 years and kept with him. THAT would be an omnibus everyone would buy.

Wow. It's almost as if Mr. Watterson never stopped drawing. It looks just as good as it did almost twenty years ago.

:')

The world was a difference place when The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes ran side by side, along with the original Bloom County.

Made the newspaper almost worth the subscription.

Nice to see Watterson is still around and still has his same sense of humor.

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