Newspaper cartoon and comic strip readers fell in love with a mischievous boy and his stuffed tiger in 1985. Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes is considered one of the best cartoonists’ of all time.
Calvin is a six-year-old boy with a big vocabulary. His furry companion, Hobbes, is an anthropomorphic tiger from Calvin’s perspective, but appears to be a stuffed tiger to everyone else. Calvin gets into trouble with Hobbes, yet grows through learning valuable life lessons along the way.
Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes was published in about 250 newspapers during its first year of syndication. With integrity, Watterson refused to commercialize Calvin and Hobbes through touring, special appearances and merchandise. The fight for publication grew quickly and viciously as comic strip space in newspapers continued to decrease in the 90′s. After ten beloved years, Watterson said goodbye to Calvin and Hobbes. He wrote the following letter to newspaper editors in 1995:
I will be stopping Calvin and Hobbes at the end of the year. This was not a recent or an easy decision, and I leave with some sadness. My interests have shifted, however, and I believe I’ve done what I can do within the constraints of daily deadlines and small panels. I am eager to work at a more thoughtful pace, with fewer artistic compromises. I have not yet decided on future projects, but my relationship with Universal Press Syndicate will continue.
That so many newspapers would carry Calvin and Hobbes is an honor I’ll long be proud of, and I’ve greatly appreciated your support and indulgence over the last decade. Drawing this comic strip has been a privilege and a pleasure, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity.
After 18 obscure years and countless landscape paintings, Watterson finally accepted an interview. His first publicly recorded interview will be in, Stripped, an upcoming documentary about cartoonists. The film is described as a “love letter to comic strips” with commentary from over 60 cartoonists.
“Stripped, by Dave Kellett, webcartoonist, and fellow L.A.-based filmmaker Frederick Schroeder, features more than 60 cartoonists who talk about the state of the comic-strip industry. In the film, Watterson eloquently speaks to the emotional bond that readers form with comic-strip characters as a function of the daily strip ritual.” -The Washington Post
To show his delight with Stripped, he chose to draw the poster for the film too. Watterson’s commentary in the film is highly anticipated. Stripped will be released on April 2 thanks to efforts made through Kickstarter.