MANILA, Philippines – “I found this book. It was in English. But I said, ‘I don’t care. I’m going to learn this language just to understand this book,’” said a fan.
The statement above is a telling sign of the appeal behind comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, the adventures of a precocious six-year-old boy named after a French theologian, and his stuffed tiger named after an English political philosopher.
Created by Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes started out as a daily comic strip in 1987, and continues to be one of the most beloved and widely-read comic strips in the world. Watterson’s body of work has achieved a rare, enduring fascination among readers, and has set comic strip standards exceptionally high.
Those who obsessively read and collect Calvin and Hobbes have many reasons for its timelessness, whether it’s Calvin’s philosophical musings on everyday life, the wildly bizarre adventures he finds himself in, the magical relationship between him and his stuffed tiger, or all of these elements combined.
Watterson, known for being an elusive personality, recently gave a rare interview for the December 2013 issue of Mental Floss magazine. He talked about protecting his comics from licensing, and the future of comic strips in the Internet era.
When asked about how the comic strip fits in today’s culture, Watterson says:
Personally, I like paper and ink better than glowing pixels, but to each his own. Obviously the role of comics is changing very fast. On the one hand, I don’t think comics have ever been more widely accepted or taken as seriously as they are now. On the other hand, the mass media is disintegrating, and audiences are atomizing. I suspect comics will have less widespread cultural impact and make a lot less money. I’m old enough to find all this unsettling, but the world moves on. All the new media will inevitably change the look, function, and maybe even the purpose of comics, but comics are vibrant and versatile, so I think they’ll continue to find relevance one way or another. But they definitely won’t be the same as what I grew up with.
Read the full Mental Floss interview here.
Dear Mr. Watterson
As if a rare interview wasn’t enough to delight avid readers, director Joel Schroeder recently released the trailer of his upcoming documentary on the strip, entitled Dear Mr Watterson. Made as a “love letter to fans and its creator,” it has been successfully financed by the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter in July of last year. More than 1,700 supporters backed the project, collectively pledging over $96,700 in less than a month.
Schroeder says on the project’s Kickstarter page, “This film is not a quest to find Watterson, who prefers his privacy. It is an exploration to discover why his ‘simple’ comic strip made such an impact on so many readers in the 80s and 90s, and why it still means so much to us today.”
Dear Mr. Watterson Theatrical Trailer:
The 90-minute film features interviews from prominent artists in the comics and animation industry, including Bill Amend, the creator of comic strip Foxtrot; Lee Salem, Bill Watterson’s editor; and Jean Schulz, the widow of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. It has been selected to screen in several international documentary and film festivals, and is available for pre-order online on its official website and on iTunes. – Rappler.com
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