Bill Watterson Returns
Bill Watterson, the man who drew the legendary “Calvin and Hobbes” strip, was back. And now he’s gone again.
Stephan Pastis, the creator of “Pearls Before Swine,” has been keeping a mind-blowing secret. Until now: “Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did.”
Just getting an email from Bill Watterson is one of the most mind-blowing, surreal experiences I have ever had. Bill Watterson really exists? And he sends email? And he’s communicating with me?
But he was. And he had a great sense of humor about the strip I had done, and was very funny, and oh yeah….
…He had a comic strip idea he wanted to run by me.
Now if you had asked me the odds of Bill Watterson ever saying that line to me, I’d say it had about the same likelihood as Jimi Hendrix telling me he had a new guitar riff. And yes, I’m aware Hendrix is dead.
So I wrote back to Bill.
I will do whatever you want, including setting my hair on fire.”
So he wrote back and explained his idea.
He said he knew that in my strip, I frequently make fun of my own art skills. And that he thought it would be funny to have me get hit on the head or something and suddenly be able to draw. Then he’d step in and draw my comic strip for a few days.
The backstory and what happens next are worth a read. Let’s just say it kicked off with Pastis doing this:
Which eventually led to Watterson doing this:
And culminated in Watterson doing this:
“Calvin and Hobbes” debuted two days after my 20th birthday and ended its run just after I’d finished my PhD. I occasionally used some of the strips when I was teaching undergrads and they not only loved them but had never previously been exposed to Watterson’s masterwork. Unlike the other great strips of the day, especially “Bloom County,” they’ve aged well.
via Rainbow Stalin