Calvin and Hobbes creator secretly returns to the comic pages

Calvin and Hobbes

If you read comic strips at all in the late 80’s and early 90’s, there is pretty much only one answer to the question, “What is your favorite comic strip?” I’ll give you a hint, it’s not Beetle Bailey. Without a doubt, the most revered cartoonist of the 90’s was Bill Watterson and his iconic comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. And it came as somewhat a surprise when, at the height of his popularity, Watterson decided to call it quits and end his strip after just a 10 year run (in probably the most poignant and touching way possible).

Watterson was among the most influential artists of my childhood.  I read and reread all of the Calvin and Hobbes book collections and they all maintain a permanent spot on the bookshelf of my childhood home.  No comic, and really, no other literary work has had as much of an impact on me as Calvin and Hobbes did growing up. I still remember having to look up words that I didn’t understand, just so I could “get” the jokes. And once I did get them, I loved the strip all the more (“Pair o’ pathetic paripatetics?”  Brilliant!). So it hit me particularly hard when Watterson ended his strip so prematurely in the mid 90’s.

Watterson has long had a reputation for being a recluse, denying all interviews, media, and not even allowing himself to be photographed outside of a random picture of him from the early 80’s.  And yet, in an absolutely incredible story, Pearls Before Swine cartoonist, Stephan Pastis recently revealed on his blog that Watterson had secretly been drawing a few of his recent Pearls Before Swine comics. You can see the comics on Pastis’ blog. This is absolutely huge news for anyone who grew up adoring Calvin and Hobbes and lamenting its short, yet brilliant time in the funny pages. Looking at the three strips, you can see hints of the distinctive Watterson drawing style. And the humor is razor sharp as always. I especially liked the final strip of the series.

So no, Calvin and Hobbes isn’t returning to the comic pages anytime soon. But for lifelong fans of Watterson’s work, at least we get a taste of some new material.  A reminder of what we once had. And what we will always miss.

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