Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

"Calvin and Hobbes" Creator Bill Watterson Looks Back With No Regrets

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the memories-of-better-comics dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 327

With fifteen years separating us from the last appearance of "Calvin and Hobbes" on the comic pages, reclusive artist Bill Watterson gave a rare interview reminiscing about his legacy. "The only part I understand is what went into the creation of the strip. What readers take away from it is up to them. Once the strip is published, readers bring their own experiences to it, and the work takes on a life of its own. Everyone responds differently to different parts. I just tried to write honestly, and I tried to make this little world fun to look at, so people would take the time to read it. That was the full extent of my concern. You mix a bunch of ingredients, and once in a great while, chemistry happens. I can't explain why the strip caught on the way it did, and I don't think I could ever duplicate it. A lot of things have to go right all at once."

cancel ×

327 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Best comics (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30987816)

If you think about it, it is actually quite hard to say what makes a good comic. Humor plays some role, but it isn't so straightforward either. Calvin and Hobbes was definitely my favorite comic as a kid. I did read Donald Duck too (obviously, as everyone did), but apart from that I can't remember any other as good comic. And I went to library solely to read Calvin and Hobbes. I didn't like the alien parts, but otherwise it was great fun.

RSS programs today make it really nice to read comics too. I am reading Cyanide & Happiness, Pearls Before Swine, a few local comics and xkcd. I actually have some others in my rss program, but a lot of times I skip them because they're not that up to quality and not that funny.

Now a days I like Pearls Before Swine [comics.com] for its good humor and references to other comics, culture and politics. The random appearances of Stephan Pastis himself and being self-satiric also make it great. I remember there being some reference to Calvin and Hobbes sometimes too.

Re:Best comics (5, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30987880)

The thing about C&H, to me, was that Watterson didn't dumb down his comic. It was just a story about a boy, his tiger, and the adventures they'd have growing up. It had wonderful imagination, wonderful commentary on life, and was more amusing than funny, IMO.

Greatest comic of all time, IMO....ranked 1A with Farside being 1B.

Re:Best comics (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988064)

It's very unusual for a first-grader to use words like "arboreal" and "ichthyoid". He played by his own rules, often living in his own head, and shunned the status quo. The strip showcases the importance of imagination contributing to intelligence and richness of experience. Calvin and Hobbes was the single largest influence of my childhood and I am happy that Watterson never whored out his work, unlike the guy who wrote the preface of the first C&H book. [doonesbury.com] [scroll down for the strip]

Most of the parodies [youtube.com] of Calvin and Hobbes revolve around the fact that Calvin's rambunctiousness would be considered abnormal, [joeydevilla.com] today. Very sad.

Re:Best comics (5, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988314)

It's very unusual for a first-grader to use words like "arboreal" and "ichthyoid". ... Calvin's rambunctiousness would be considered abnormal...

In reality, Calvin would probably classified as At-Risk/Underachieving Gifted.
[My wife was a Gifted Education teacher.]

Re:Best comics (1)

FelixNZ (1426093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988558)

That joeydevilla parody made me sad.

Re:Best comics (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988710)

That joeydevilla.com comic you posted is so depressing.

I am depressed now.

Re:Best comics (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988772)

Don't worry, here are some pills to make you feel bet- oh, wait...

Re:Best comics (5, Insightful)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988162)

*prepares to get modded down into the infernal depths of hell* Far Side wasn't in the same /league/ as Calvin and Hobbes. I know that they were one frame and no continuity, but they were also miles off in terms of writing, observation, illustration and funniness. It's like comparing a one-liner to a poem, perhaps it's even unfair to compare. But IMHO, if they were Slashdot posts and I had 4 mod points, Far Side would be Interesting but Overrated. C&H would be Insightful and Funny

Re:Best comics (3, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988780)

You compare Far Side to a one liner and C&H to a poem based upon the 1 frame vs. 3 frames (And I assume continuity). It is worth noting that telling a story in 1 frame or line versus 3 frames or a whole poem is much more difficult.

Re:Best comics (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988840)

I don't even like comparing them. It's like comparing Monty Python and Don Rickles. Both are extraordinarily funny, but the humor comes from places so different that saying one is better than the other doesn't even make sense.

The Far Side was as Pythonesque as a comic ever got. It was absurdest and surreal, meant to tickle with bizarre juxtapositions. I still remember the first Far Side comic I saw, of the truck smashed into a single palm tree in the middle of a desert. It was so bizarre, so absurd that I laughed out loud.

C&H was utterly different, a more human comic script that found its humor in this wonderful world that Waterson created. While I don't think any childhood was quite like it, I don't think I've ever experienced anything that invoked childhood with the kind of purity of that comic book.

Re:Best comics (3, Interesting)

MoxCamel (20484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988442)

I too have ranked The Far Side right up there with C&H for years, and then for Christmas somebody bought me a gigantic collection of Far Side strips (don't remember which one), and I've gotta say TFS really hasn't held up all that well. Yes, there are some classic gems that are damn funny still, but on the whole it's pretty meh. Unlike C&H, which is going to be fresh for many decades--perhaps centuries--to come.

The Far Side and the "Geek Cred" (3, Insightful)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988806)

I think a major reason for the Far Side's popularity among science and engineering types is that Larson used science as the basis for many of his strips. Because of this, even when the joke wasn't that good, people in the relevant field would tape them up on lab doors, just because they were amused that anyone would make a comic about their field. Perhaps xkcd is the modern equivalent (although THe Far Side seemed to focus more on the biological sciences, as Larson had a zoology background, and xkcd is more physics/math)

Re:Best comics (4, Interesting)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988510)

Calvin and Hobbes was my number one inspiration to explore, growing up. Seeing Calvin philosophize while riding a red wagon led directly to me pondering the world while climbing a river gorge... Reading Spaceman Spiff turned Nelson's Ledges [wikipedia.org] into a hasty retreat through a hostile alien environment.

Part of the comic strip's allure to me in particular, though I didn't recognize it until years later, was that Bill Watterson wrote the strip in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, about ten miles from where I grew up. Cleveland weather patters are fairly unique, so no other comic strip--or really any fiction I read--I read captured the effect of the rain, snow, and winds of the Cleveland area on an inquisitive kid the way that Calvin and Hobbes did... because Bill Watterson (and Calvin) looked out the window and saw the same little portion of sky that I did.

Not long ago, as I paged through my old Calvin and Hobbes collection, I noticed a fairly familiar sight on the back cover of "The Essential Calvin and Hobbes". There, in fully Bill Watterson cartoony glory, was an image of a Godzilla-sized Calvin trampling my favorite high school date spot: the Chagrin Falls Triangle.

How do you want people to remember that 6-year-old and his tiger?

I vote for "Calvin and Hobbes, Eighth Wonder of the World."

Indeed.

Re:Best comics (5, Interesting)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | more than 4 years ago | (#30987892)

To me, Calvin and Hobbes looked like the poster child of a comic that yearned to be on the web. If you read any of his books, he often had long and bitter fights with the publisher about the format of his comics. How much space he could use, if he had to have the “Throwaway frame” and so forth. I wish a comic like this had come along maybe 10 years later so it could take full advantage of the web, instead of being smothered by the oppressive newspaper guideline . Then again, I may just have wanted it delayed so we’d still have new ones, but hey. I can dream.

Re:Best comics (5, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988044)

To me, Calvin and Hobbes looked like the poster child of a comic that yearned to be on the web. If you read any of his books, he often had long and bitter fights with the publisher about the format of his comics. How much space he could use, if he had to have the “Throwaway frame” and so forth. I wish a comic like this had come along maybe 10 years later so it could take full advantage of the web, instead of being smothered by the oppressive newspaper guideline .

Look at what Lucas made when he had to contend with other people's input, and look at what he made once he got absolute, unsupervised creative control.

It helps to have an editor to keep you grounded.

Re:Best comics (1)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988386)

It's not about having an editor or not having an editor. A good editor is a member of a team focused on producing a great creative work.

Instead, these types of fights were about the restrictions of the entrenched format -- how many panels, how formatted, how big, how often. And that's not even considering the lowest common denominator factor of a VERY bandwidth restricted medium -- two-ish pages for weekday comics, with a bit more room for the Sunday funnies. The decision to drop a comic or add a comic was a notable one for most papers; no decision would keep everyone happy.

Maybe there are web comics out there that would do well with an editor, but there are a number of great ones that seem to get along far better than their print counterparts by way of art, creativity, and storytelling.

Re:Best comics (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988556)

That's a very different comparison, actually.
It wasn't the content that he fought. Watterson actually ended up fairly free to do what he wanted in the end and it showed for it. It was the constraints of the medium, the publishers have this set of boxes, and the artist was supposed to fill just those boxes. And to top it off, the comic has to be designed in such a way that certain boxes can be removed (the throwaway boxes).
The example with George Lucas (who I presume you're talking about) would be more accurate if George Lucas had decided to say "screw the 4:3, 'made to fit to tv' crap. I want my film shown in 16:9 in its original high resolution, no cropping the sides off and no letterboxing." Watterson risked losing some market to hold to his artist vision.

Re:Best comics (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988956)

I want my film shown in 16:9 in its original high resolution, no cropping the sides off and no letterboxing."

You do realize, don't you, that the point of letterboxing [wikipedia.org] a movie is to preserve the original 16:9 ratio on a 4:3 screen?

Re:Best comics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988846)

"Look at what Lucas made when he had to contend with other people's input, and look at what he made once he got absolute, unsupervised creative control.

It helps to have an editor to keep you grounded"

Isn't it more about what Lucas created versus what he directed himself?

Re:Best comics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30989014)

Not all writers suck like Lucas.

Re:Best comics (3, Informative)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988098)

The only other comic that I enjoyed as much as Calvin and Hobbes was The Far Side. Both were wildly imaginative and highly creative. They transformed what would have otherwise been a boring comic section into something fascinating. I have the complete works of both on my bookshelf and would highly recommend them to anyone. If you want to inspire a sense of wonder, curiosity, and beauty in a child, I can't think of anything better than those two comics.

Re:Best comics (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988170)

If you think about it, it is actually quite hard to say what makes a good comic. Humor plays some role, but it isn't so straightforward either.

It's very easy to say what makes a good comic. Basically, it's all of the positive slashdot moderation categories, except for underrated.

Funny? Check. Insightful? Check. Informative? Check (though to a lesser extent).

Plus characters that people can identify with. My dad loved Calvin & Hobbes because he identified with the Dad (and now that I have kids, I do too). I identified with Calvin. My sister identified with Suzie. My mom never read comics, but I'd bet that she'd identify with Calvin's mom... I swear there were times when she said stuff that I recall reading in a speech bubble above Calvin's Mom's head.

But, since this is turning into a tribute thread... Let me just say that Calvin's dad's explanations of science are a wonderful model for how to stimulate original thought in kids. I too, have told my kid that the sun rises in the morning because hot things rise, and sets in the evening as it cools.

Re:Best comics (2, Interesting)

tool462 (677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988678)

Exactly. It's all the same things that made The Simpsons great. It's a caricature of humanity at its best (the caricature, not the humanity ;) ).

Except Watterson did something that Groening didn't--leave at the peak. Financially, Groening made the better move. Artistically, Watterson did.

Good for him (2, Insightful)

Foggiano (722250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30987888)

I'm glad he was able to create something that he is pleased with and has brought happiness and pleasure to those around him. May we all be so fortunate.

regrets? (1, Insightful)

Bodero (136806) | more than 4 years ago | (#30987928)

No regrets? That's like asking Bill Gates if he regrets dropping out of Harvard and becoming a billionaire. Yeah, I'm sure he regrets it daily.

Re:regrets? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30987996)

No regrets? That's like asking Bill Gates if he regrets dropping out of Harvard and becoming a billionaire. Yeah, I'm sure he regrets it daily.

The regret in question would be the one where you regretted quitting early. Because Watterson quit early. It's a very short 'interview' but to all artists and people in general out there who start something very good, take note:

Readers became friends with your characters, so understandably, they grieved -- and are still grieving -- when the strip ended. What would you like to tell them?

This isn't as hard to understand as people try to make it. By the end of 10 years, I'd said pretty much everything I had come there to say.

It's always better to leave the party early. 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.

I think some of the reason "Calvin and Hobbes" still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it.

I've never regretted stopping when I did.

As someone suffering to find anything even remotely watchable on American TV, I wish more people would adopt this kind of attitude.

Re:regrets? (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988096)

That bit about leaving the party early resonates with me. A very long time ago, I couldn't look at a Peanuts strip without laughing. Then after a decade or so, I couldn't look at it without grimacing.

Still, I do miss that young sociopath and his tiger.

Another brave thing Watterson did: no licenses for animated cartoons, coffee cups, etc. He said he couldn't stand the idea of some voice actor doing Hobbes. Neither could I, but I'm not sure I could have walked away from the millions of dollars those licenses would have paid.

Re:regrets? (1)

jrronimo (978486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988792)

How you feel about Peanuts is how I feel about Garfield.

Garfield Minus Garfield [garfieldmi...rfield.net] , on the other hand...

Re:regrets? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988930)

Ehh, don't even mention "Garfield" in my presence. Though there's less to regret there, since the strip always was a little labored.

Recently, Get Fuzzy and Monty have started to run out of material. (And I only just discovered them!) Now I'm down to Non Sequitur.

Re:regrets? (4, Interesting)

nigelo (30096) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988180)

I've heard the same from John Cleese about Fawlty Towers and Ricky Gervais about The Office - limit the episodes (2 short series each) to tell the story, and then declare victory (Also, my grandfather about public speaking - stand up, speak up, shut up...)

Or, you can be run by the corporations, and continue to turn out rehashes of stories and character traits as long as you can sell the advertising.
How many episodes does the US The Office have now? It's in its sixth series... It doesn't have the same punch for me that the first episodes did.

Re:regrets? (4, Insightful)

mctk (840035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988778)

So incredibly true. Compare the two versions of "The Office." In the UK, they told their story, had some laughs, but when it ran its course, they stopped. I wanted more. I still want more. I'll just have to wait a few years then watch the episodes again. In the US, however, the program is floundering to find weekly topics. And it shows. Once Jim and Pam hooked up, the main tension, the binding thread was gone. Look at "Heroes". Intriguing first season, great climactic moment. But it just...keeps...going. Look at "Lost". I followed the first season closely, but after a while, you start to think that the writers are sitting around going, "Now what can we do this week, without really changing much. After all, we still have 10 more hours of programming to fill." Does anybody even watch The Simpson's anymore?

Re:regrets? (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988974)

North American media tends to drive things into the ground (not that others don't to, the last season of Monty Python's Flying Circus, sans Cleese, apart from a few moments, was clearly beyond its prime).

I remember the same thing happened to MASH. I look back at the original few seasons when McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers were still there, and they constitute some incredibly funny moments in TV history. Once they were gone and Alda exerted more control as the "Star", the tendency to be overly maudlin and topical ruined the goon show quality.

Peanuts certainly went past its prime. It's heyday in the late 1960s and into the late 1970s certainly constitutes probably the greatest comic strip there ever was (and I've yet to see a cartoonist that doesn't think Charles M. Schulz was the best the medium ever produced). But clearly the concept had run out of gas by the 1980s, and like anything taken too far, it began to be a terrible caricature of its former self. The whole strip turned into a cliche. If Schulz had walked away in 1980, he would have the left the strip at the top of its game. I don't think it was, in his case, for want of money, with TV and even movies, and the wide syndication, he was probably the best-paid writer in comic strip history. I think it was that he just couldn't leave it behind.

Watterson left C&H in a place where its perfection was never compromised. I've reread my collection a dozen times, at it all seems so perfect. Nothing is stale or reused. It's now art for the ages.

Re:regrets? (1)

allseason radial (1603753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30989016)

As someone suffering to find anything even remotely watchable on American TV, I wish more people would adopt this kind of attitude.

Just before I read this, I thought to myself, "Watterson speaks the exact same attitude shown by the writers, creators and distributor of television's best show ever: The Wire." To quote another pretty good writer, "You've got to know when to fold 'em."

Re:regrets? (1)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988046)

Not going to RTFA, no? He has no regrets about stopping when he did. If he kept going, he would be vastly more wealthy.

Also, although it wasn't touched in TFA, he repeatedly turned down the option of syndicating so that merchandise could be sold. That would have been millions straight into the hand.

Re:regrets? (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988080)

Ask Gates if he regrets stepping down and you're getting a closer comparison.

Sorry Bill (0, Offtopic)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30987930)

I was born a Berkeley Breathed fan and I will die a Berkeley Breathed fan.

Re:Sorry Bill (3, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988038)

And that means you can't appreciate any other comic? A bit limiting don't you think?

Re:Sorry Bill (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988122)

I'll tell you what I once told my son: "My love is limited, there is only so much I can share and I don't see why I should give you any when your sister is clearly the better child."

Wise words (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30987934)

It's always better to leave the party early. 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.

I wish someone had mentioned that to Matt Groening.

Re:Wise words (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988066)

Groening was always overrated. If you listen to the Simpsons commentary tracks, you figure out pretty quickly that he had little to do with the success of the show, or its quality. All he talks about is the quality of the animation. It's quite clear he has little appreciation for the writing (which is what truly made The Simpsons so great). Someone will be talking on a track about how clever a bit of satire there was in this scene, and Groening will interrupt with "Hey look at how cool that flower looks!" Going back and looking at "Life in Hell" and his other early works, it's clear he was never a fraction as creative as the Simpsons writers (probably why he only wrote one episode--one of the more mediocre ones at that). Either he or one of the other co-creators was smart enough to hire Harvard Lampoon grads and other smart writers in the early days of the show, but after that he basically contributed nothing. It was always a paycheck for him (and maybe an ego boost, since many people assume he's the actual show-runner and creative force--which he never was). So you can't really fault him for milking it. He doesn't realize how mundane the show has become because he never really appreciated what made it great in the first place.

Re:Wise words (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988224)

I actually started liking Simpsons again after season 20 began, it felt like it went back to roots and the humor was back there. I earlier stopped watching around season 14. Now I do not know Groening comes in to play with this, but Simpsons has definitely picked up again.

But I wouldn't say Groening didn't contribute much to the show. Even if the other writers did have a lot to do in it, he must have played some role. Remember that Futurama is great too and he was vocal against Fox when it got cancelled.

Re:Wise words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988936)

Futurama is not great. No-one (other than nerds) thinks it is funny.

I have not been able to watch the new HD Simpsons. It has what I call "Futurama Humour". It seems too scripted. Nothing is random, except when it's painfully forced. It's like a sitcom - setup-onelinerpunchline, setup-onelinerpunchline. The Simpsons used to be like a comic book, now it's like an episode of Joey.

Re:Wise words (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988348)

Matt Groening?!? I wish somebody had mentioned that to Charles Schultz! Peanuts is still being published 10 years after the creator's death! Sure, The Simpsons isn't nearly as good as it once was, but it's not totally bad yet either.

Re:Wise words (1)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988660)

Peanuts is in eternal reruns; Schulz was very specific he didn't want it to continue after he stopped (he even mentions it in the last strip ever).

Re:Wise words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988426)

Or better yet, Jim Davis. When was the last time you could stand looking at a Garfield strip? For me it was over 20 years ago.

Re:Wise words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988896)

Garfield was ever good?

Yeah, he did it right, beginning to end. (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30987948)

It's just a darn shame that the end couldn't have been thirty or forty years further out.

Re:Yeah, he did it right, beginning to end. (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30987988)

It's just a darn shame that the end couldn't have been thirty or forty years further out.

Consider Garfield and Peanuts. After a while, they just don't have anything new to say.

Re:Yeah, he did it right, beginning to end. (4, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988276)

Are you kidding? Garfield is more brilliantly insightful than ever. You just have to know how to read it.

http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/ [garfieldmi...rfield.net]

Re:Yeah, he did it right, beginning to end. (2, Informative)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988682)

Are you kidding? Garfield is more brilliantly insightful than ever. You just have to know how to read it.

http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/ [garfieldmi...rfield.net]

For some reason that is incredibly funny in a schadenfreude kind of way. I really loved the description the site provides:

Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.

By the time I got back to Sept 25th I was sure that Jon had hung himself, and it all made sense. Great laughs, thanks!

Re:Yeah, he did it right, beginning to end. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988452)

Garfield and Peanuts? That might just work.

Re:Yeah, he did it right, beginning to end. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988728)

The one think he didn't do right: how did he let those f***ing "Calvin peeing on stuff" stickers" get made? Seriously!!!

Re:Yeah, he did it right, beginning to end. (1)

Mursk (928595) | more than 4 years ago | (#30989044)

RTFA. Those are "counterfeit." Watterson had nothing to do with those.

Re:Yeah, he did it right, beginning to end. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988756)

Jim Davis has explicitly stated [tvtropes.org] that Garfield is a job, not a work of art.

You insensitive clod (5, Interesting)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30987970)

Calvin and Hobbes is amazing. Bill Watterson is a creative guy, a talented artist, and perhaps more than anything else, fought for his artistic integrity (see merchandising debacles) to the end. And he gave us the "insensitive clod" meme. What a guy.

"First" Poster AC Looks Back With Massive Erection (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30987982)

With fifteen months separating us from the last appearance of "ASCII Goatse" on the comical Slashdot webpages, reclusive artist Anonymous Coward gave a rare interview reminiscing about his rectum.

"The only part I understand is what went into the creation of the oversized anus. What readers take away from it is up to them. Once the anus is stretched, readers bring their own experiences to it, and the anus takes on a life of its own. Everyone responds differently to different sized anuses. I just tried to stretch mine massively, and I tried to make this little anus fun to look at, so people would take the time to jackoff to it. That was the full extent of my concern. You mix a bunch of ingredients, and once in a great while, chemistry happens. I can't explain why the image caught on the way it did, and I don't think I could ever duplicate it. A lot of things have to go right all at once."

One thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988020)

What about all those rednecks with decals of Calvin peeing on Chevy/Ford logos? That must be irritating as hell.

Bill looks like Calvin's Dad (5, Interesting)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988028)

I don't think I've ever seen a photo of Bill Watterson, but having just seen the article, I have to say... Bill Watterson looks like Calvin's Dad! Or, rather, Calvin's Dad looks like Bill Watterson. Maybe this is old news, but it's news to me :D.

Re:Bill looks like Calvin's Dad (2, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988328)

but having just seen the article, I have to say

As long as you only looked at the pictures. This is /., we have standards!

Re:Bill looks like Calvin's Dad (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988336)

Calvin's dad looks like Watterson's dad, which would explain the resemblance. Watterson himself looks much more like Uncle Max [neatorama.com] .

Re:Bill looks like Calvin's Dad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988350)

Calvin's dad is modeled off Bill's dad (at least in personality) so I guess we can say Bill probably designed him to look like his father too.

And Bill looks similar to his father?

Re:Bill looks like Calvin's Dad (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988382)

I think Watterson looks like Calvin's uncle Max.

Re:Bill looks like Calvin's Dad (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988434)

Hmm.. based on that photo, maybe Uncle Max + Calvin's Dad's glasses would be about right.

Re:Bill looks like Calvin's Dad (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988422)

Calvin's dad looks like Bill Watterson's dad actually.

Scientific Progress ... (4, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988036)

... definitely goes Boink.

As an amatuer author, I understand some of where he is coming from. Stories have a beginning, middle and end. The end generally signifies the part where writing about it any more would be boring. Which little girl truly wants to hear about how Snow White had to change dirty diapers for her children? Or who really wants to hear about how Wendy and the lost buys grows old while Peter Pan is all alone with tinkerbell?

Yes, sequels are instant money makers, because we all want to read/see MORE from a good writer, but the truth is if you have said all you had to say, then there is no more.

It's kind of like going to the Grand Canyon and tring to dig it deeper with a shovel. Yeah, it's 'more', but it's not the same thing, and quite frankly, the quality of workmanship goes down.

Re:Scientific Progress ... (3, Informative)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988444)

Actually, Peter Pan did go on past Wendy & Co. going home. Wendy did return for some spring cleanings, but Peter, just being a boy, eventually forgot and Wendy grew old, too old to fly. She had a daughter and when Peter eventually remembered to come again to the Darlings, he confused the girl for Wendy. Wendy graciously allowed the daughter to visit Peter for spring cleaning...

Presumably there is no global lack of lost boys to populate Neverland...

Jeez, this is sad. It hurts to type this.

Missed opportunity (2, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988042)

I wish they had asked him what he thought of the Adult Swim version of his strip. I wonder if he would have balked at the initial silliness of it, or pondered it for a bit and said "you know... that's exactly how Calvin would be treated these days".

Thats it? That was the Interview? (2, Insightful)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988050)

Meh. Seriously, no questions on "What are you doing now?" "Have any new projects?" "Are thee any comics you are looking at now a days?"

All these questions are just rehashed from previous side remarks he has stated. He has always been a recluse so why is he doing an interview now?

These things drive me up the wall. Fine, its a puff piece because you don't want to scare the guy off, but I am truly interested in what he has done in all that time.

Re:Thats it? That was the Interview? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988262)

Maybe he wants to keep some of that mystery alive. If he made a "comeback" now, even with a different comic, I doubt it would be nearly as successful and would most likely just fail, big part in that being because people would expect him to deliver moon from the sky.

Disappointing interview (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988056)

Those last couple questions were really wasted. Why not ask him what he's been doing for the past 15 years? Does he ever think about doing another strip, or any sort of art again?

You know, he could do one strip a week, any subject he wanted, any format he wanted, post it on the web (editors? who needs them?) and it would be huge. He'd have complete creative control. Would that sound appealing to Watterson? Or would that cut too much into his golf time? We'll never know because this journalist squandered this opportunity.

Re:Disappointing interview (3, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988312)

Did the journalist squander the opportunity or did Watterson only answer what he wanted to answer?

Reading about the guy, its obvious he wants his life to be private, so the interview is just those questions and answers Watterson wants to give.

Not the journalist's fault.

Re:Disappointing interview (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988568)

  • Have any web comics caught your attention? What comics do you like?
  • Are there any comics that you think are relatively groundbreaking today, doing something really innovative?
  • Do you follow comics much?
  • Ever think of doing a graphic novel about something? A normal novel?
  • What subjects interest you today? (Iraq war, plight of the mango tree, ancient Chinese cookware, whatever)

There are some questions you could ask, this was basically a fluff piece. There is no substance in it. The only useful thing is that Watterson stopped before Calvin got bad, and he said that 15 years ago.

Re:Disappointing interview (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988768)

Have you read anything about Watterson?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Watterson#Since_retirement [wikipedia.org]

He doesn't give interviews much and he doesn't talk about his personal life at all.

So its just a piece about what he will talk about.

Re:Disappointing interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988934)

He sure could. And you could pay his web hosting bill and pay him for his time too. Oh, you thought that was all free? Yeah, you know - you don't actually make any money by renting some web server space, paying for some bandwidth, and then spending time drawing comics and posting them to the web. Someone needs to actually pay you or you are just going broke doing it.

some others should take note (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988060)

"It's always better to leave the party early. 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."

Hear that, Crapfield and Family Crapcircus?!?

Re:some others should take note (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988198)

While I agree with you where Garfield is concerned, you're sorely mistaken as far as Family Circus: That strip was never any good.

Re:some others should take note (4, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988404)

I don't know about that, I've always kinda liked Dysfunctional Family Circus [furr.org] !

Re:some others should take note (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988826)

RobTheBold is "busy" sleeping it off. Today's post is written by his one year old daughter:

famasily ciurcs is sucsks!112!

Re:some others should take note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988986)

Since when was garfield ever good?

Re:some others should take note (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988582)

What do you have against Garf-Eel [chickennation.com] ?

Re:some others should take note (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988852)

You forgot the real Living Dead of the comics pages - Blondie. Eighty years of recycling the same material over, and over, and over...

A true Calvin Story (5, Interesting)

notaspy (457709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988086)

I used to read the strip, and being a newly minted patent attorney, appreciated all the great b.s. that his dad in the strip would just make up. "What a great kid!" I would think while reading Calvin's adventures and inventions, "I'd love to have a kid like that!" So my second son is named "Calvin." And by cracky, he was JUST like the comic kid, in looks and temperment! How lucky could I have gotten? Then, in something like 1990, every comic strip in the paper on December 3 (my birthday) had a birthday theme! WFT? It was uncanny; obviously somebody involved in comics had a birthday conspiracy. Well, every strip except one. Calvin and Hobbes did not relate at all to birthdays, but it contained the biggest present, as it was the strip which made it clear that Calvin's dad was, in fact, a patent attorney! In the strip, his dad is reading some sort of pleading or opinion regarding patent infringement.

As it turns out, I understand Watterson's dad was and still is (?) a patent attorney, and many of the stories in the strip were based on his own childhood.

My Calvin is now 21 years, so as much as I love the comic, I at least have the certainty of knowing how Calvin turned out. He's OK!

A True Artist (2, Insightful)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988150)

He left Calvin & Hobbes while it was still good and he had something meaningful to say. He didn't do what a lot of people do and drag it out so he could suck out every last possible penny. He left a meaningful corpus of work that we can all appreciate.

Calvin and Hobbes quotes (5, Informative)

skyriser2 (179031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988182)

"I say, if your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life."
- Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes

More Calvin and Hobbes quotes on QuoteAddict:
http://www.quoteaddict.com/quotes?search=calvin [quoteaddict.com]

Copyright (-1, Troll)

joeme1 (959209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988212)

Part of Calvin and Hobbes' popularity should be contributed to the lack of copyright in the beginning. This certainly opened the characters up to blatant misuse on everything from bumper stickers to t-shirts and mugs. The misuse of the characters spread the interest and more people became aware of the strip and its hilarity.

Re:Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988528)

Um, no.

It was always copyrighted, but he never licensed C&H for merchandising so the bootleggers made their own. The strip was already wildly popular by the time the bootleg merch started showing up.

Newspaper Sales (1)

kdogg73 (771674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988218)

Is there a correlation to newspaper sales drop and when was Calvin and Hobbes retired? I'm sure there is. I often thought Larson and Watterson were the best newspaper salesmen out there.

Glad He Left! (2, Funny)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988250)

I am in my home office writign this and can look up at my bookshelf towards the five "Calvin and Hobbes" anthologies I have. Great comic. However, I think of it every time I read the sunday funnies with my kids. Watterson, along with Gary Larson (The Far Side) left when the time was right. I see comics like "Drabble" and "For Better or Worse" lingering on. They aren't even funny or relevant. C&H will always be relevant.

In fact, my nine-year-old recently took out one of the books and remarked that I looked a lot like the "dad" character.

I mentioned to him how I'd once convinced him for a few weeks that the reason grandma's pictures were all in black and white was because the whole world was in black and white.

Re:Glad He Left! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988742)

For Better or Worse died off already.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_better_or_for_worse [wikipedia.org]

Timeless stuff! (2, Interesting)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988330)

I loved it growing up and my kids love it now! Thank you!

The J.D. Salinger of his genre (2, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988340)

Watterson's reclusiveness can easily be compared to Salinger's and its arguable that his creation was just as impactful. For my generation there were 3 strips that defined the era, Far Side, Bloom County and Calvin & Hobbes. I guess its better to go out with fans wanting more than to keep going until the strip becomes a parody of itself (Garfield, Ziggy and Family Circus...im looking at you), but their absense did create a void that was hard to fill. Pearls Before Swine and Get Fuzzy have become my more recent favorites but I would still give just about anything for one more visit with Steve Dallas or Spaceman Spiff.

One thing I never understood was the marketing, while I respect and understand the desire to keep his creations from being diluted and tarnished by garbage, the other two I mentioned managed to have at least something for fans to hold on to (T-Shirts, Mugs, Stuffed toys) without cheapening their legacy. In fact it could be argued that the lack of "stuff" has cheapened it through the proliferaton of bootleg things like those insepid peeing, praying or bird flipping calvin stickers, cheap t-shirts and low quality Hobbes clones they give away at carnivals. He could have chosen to simply keep a tight reign on it and maintained control while giving fans something they obviously clamor for. Ahh well at least im getting a stamp.

Re:The J.D. Salinger of his genre (2, Interesting)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988572)

He must made have enough money off the strip and the books to not care? And also to retire early. We have seen no output from him since, so either he is living off the book royalties or he is secretly the real author of Frazz, heh.

It's nice to be successful enough to have options.

Best part of the story is the lack of copyright (-1, Offtopic)

TalShiar00 (238873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988432)

All /. readers are well aware of our erosion of freedoms when it comes to fair use and DRM. The fact that Bill did not copyright his work yes can still live a good and his original comics are popular need to be seen as an example when corporate giants are pushing to extend their copyright privileges for hundreds of years.
I live in the town where Charles Schultz (Peanuts) lived a good portion of his life, I know his kids and how much money they have all given to charities and community development. I respect the family for what they do but I respect Bill far more allowing his work to be part of global comminuty and not restricting who can even draw his characters even not for profit. Bill may not be the third largest earning dead celebrity (http://www.forbes.com/2007/10/26/top-dead-celebrity-biz-media-deadcelebs07-cz_lg_1029celeb_slide_4.html) but we all owe him a big thank you for his pioneering efforts whether intentional or not

a testament to C&H (4, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988550)

Every few months I have this dream that I go to a book store and find a new Calvin and Hobbes book that has been 15 years in the making. Each comic is rendered in full color using water-colors. The layout for each comic is tuned, not for the newspaper it would have been printed in, but to the story that he's trying to tell. Each comic was written based on inspirations he found over the last 15 years, ensuring that the final comic would be the best of the best of the best and not just some skimpy idea rendered to make a deadline. Each time I go to the store and find this, I open it up and it starts with a series of Calvin's snowmen and a poem. I then put the book into it's bag and drive home. As soon as I get home and get the bag out.. *bam* I wake up.

I'll never forgive Bill for this torturous dream.

Re:a testament to C&H (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30988844)

That's weird... I had a dream about fucking his mom. As soon as I was about to come, *bam*, I wake up.

One of a very short list (5, Interesting)

Leo Sasquatch (977162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988746)

There have been a handful of geniuses, who've happened to work in the comic strip field. George Herriman, Walt Kelly, Berkeley Breathed, Garry Trudeau, Maurice Dodd and Dennis Collins, and Bill Watterson. Why such a small number? Because true genius is rare and special, whatever field the artist is working in.

I don't count Gary Larson in the same field - he was quirky and brilliant, but there's no continuity in his works - there's 5,000 individual gags, but no heart, nobody there we care about. I also don't count Charles Schulz - Peanuts is simply the nastiest strip ever written. It's cold, and bleak, without an ounce of love or sweetness about it. Nothing good ever happens to anybody - it's existentialist horror.

Calvin's world wasn't perfect - Moe was a bully, school was appalling, and things sometimes went wrong. There was fear and loss from time to time, and nobody else ever saw the world quite the way he saw it. But there's magic there, and adventure, and love in a variety of flavours. They are books I could sit and read with my child when he was Calvin's age and younger, because they are good art, excellent stories and a total blast for the imagination. The Sunday strip poems often featured wonderfully whimsical language and the wordplay in the strip itself was second only to The Perishers.

I'm delighted that Bill Watterson stopped when he thought he was done. Delighted he chose not to let MegaCorp plc rape his creations, and slap them on underpants, lunchboxes and disposable cups from the burger joint. Delighted that Calvin and Hobbes didn't get shoe-horned into some Moral of the Week shitty TV show, with a cute catchphrase, and cheap-as-chips animation. What he created is art, and it's a minor miracle that he managed to resist the dollar signs, and what must have been startling numbers of zeroes after them, in order to keep the tale of a boy and his tiger real and magical.

If he ever comes up with another story he really wants to tell, I have no doubt he will.

Re:One of a very short list (2, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30989012)

I don't count Gary Larson in the same field - he was quirky and brilliant, but there's no continuity in his works - there's 5,000 individual gags, but no heart, nobody there we care about

I take it that you are not of the biological sciences persuasion. The Far Side's protagonist was nature her/it self. That was the underlying thread between his many dis separate jokes and themes. I'd put him right up there with the others you mention.

YMMV, of course.

My dearest Bill Watterson, (1)

joeszilagyi (635484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988810)

May I please have a Pixar animated film adaptation of Calvin and Hobbes?

Should have kept going... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30988812)

We could then follow Calvin's exploits as an unemployed, overweight 30-something living in his parent's basement and posting to Slashdot while Hobbes hooks up with Susie Derkins after an ugly divorce from Calvin.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?