15
Oct
13

Calvin & Hobbes Fans, This One’s For You

blu-rayIf you had to run into me, maybe at a bar or (more likely) walking around Vredehoek with The Cub in a pram, and you asked me, “What’s your favourite comic book?” I wouldn’t even hesitate.

I’d answer “Calvin & Hobbes” because it changed my life. I started reading C&H when I was 12 and took an instant liking to it because I grew up as an only child and could relate to this little kid with this gigantic imagination.

The humour of the series was also a huge draw factor because it was fresh, intelligent and it had a child-like innocence to it that made me feel like a kid again.

What I also liked about the series was the fact that not every strip was funny. Sometimes the writer and illustrator Bill Watterson took a more serious turn with his material, but he always handled those moments with his characteristic eternally-optimistic view of life and somehow managed to impart some pretty deep messages without ever preaching or forcing it.

As it turns out, there’s a documentary that’s been made (thanks for the share Civilian!) that takes a look at the fans and friends of Bill Watterson as they recount what Calvin & Hobbes means to them and how those comics, which Watterson was drawing 15 years ago, are still so relevant today.

 

 

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for that one.

Part of the reason why they made that documentary (I think) is because Watterson basically disappeared off the face of the planet after he finished Calvin & Hobbes in 1995. He bowed out gracefully and has been pretty consistent in refusing interviews and keeping to himself.

When he did eventually agree to do an interview in 2010 to mark 15 years since he stopped drawing Calvin & Hobbes, he had this to say about his decision not to continue the series (thanks Wiki):

This isn’t as hard to understand as people try to make it. By the end of ten 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, ten, or twenty 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.[25]

That single quote has made me respect him even more as one of the best cartoonists that has ever lived.

Quit while you’re ahead boys and girls, never go the Ozzy Osbourne route Winking smile

-ST


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