Robot 6

Calvin and Hobbes come to life in delightful animated fan film


Although reclusive cartoonist Bill Watterson famously resisted merchandising his beloved comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, he at least gave some thought to an animated adaptation before — obviously — deciding to remain true to the medium.

“For all my admiration of the art, I really can’t decide if I ever want to see Calvin and Hobbes animated,” he told The Comics Journal in 1989. “I know I’d enjoy working with the visual opportunities animation offers, but you change the world you’ve created when you change the medium in which it’s presented. Books are almost always better than the movies made from them, because there are things books do well and things movies do well, but usually those things don’t overlap.”

More than 17 years after the instrumental strip ended its run, Watterson shows no sign of changing his mind. And so this animated sequence by Adam Brown (Ugly Americans) will probably be the closest we come to the real thing. It stays wonderfully true to the original Sunday strip, yet injects it with new energy. Best of all, Brown selected an installment without dialogue, so we don’t have to be shocked by hearing Calvin’s voice — something Watterson himself admitted would be “very scary.”




That was so good!

Any Calvin & Hobbes “fan art” always turns my stomach. I don’t get how you can claim to be a fan of the strip and its creator without also understanding why he took a principled stance against adaptations and merchandising. The arrogance of these people, thinking they can do/should do something with these characters that Watterson could not.

That was cute. Hardly “stomach turning” at all. In fact, if you love something and want to pay homage to it, why should anyone else care. A lot of effort and care obviously went into creating this, and merchandizing cash-grabs were what Watterson was against… Not something like this.

Agree to disagree. Calvin & Hobbes was obviously something extremely personal to Watterson. What’s so hard about leaving that alone? Of course, I don’t understand this about most fan fiction, so there’s a high probability I’m in the minority here.

I know my words won’t change your mind, Kiel, but I’m always utterly confused by this outlook on art you represent. It’s fan art. It obviously means a lot to people who created it. It’s a love letter, it’s not commercial, Watterson won’t see it. It’s the result of people being affected by original art. How is this disgusting?
People care about C&H, it’s beautiful.

Michael Ellis Day

March 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Kiel, I can’t imagine how this is ANY different from a fan artist creating a picture of a character he or she likes. This is not fan fiction, it’s fan art. However, you seem to be conflating this with a corporation appropriating the work of a creator and exploiting it for profit against his or her wishes. We’re not talking about DC versus Siegel and Shuster or Marvel versus Kirby or Gerber here. Those guys would have vomited at nearly everything being done with their creations by corporate leeches today. But not one of them would have objected if some talented kid had come along and said “Here’s a picture I drew of Superman/The Thing/Howard the Duck because I think your stuff is the best.”

Thanks for the comments, guys. I appreciate the feedback, but i still disagree. Not trying to say this guy is some horrible person (I’m not too into Ugly Americans, but it’s nice to have a show that’s genuinely weird out there), but I think something like this is just a little tone deaf in a way that rubs me the wrong way.

I have no problem with fan art or fan fiction in general, though it’s not really my bag. I just think that when a creator you respect goes out of their way to keep their creation very personally controlled, there’s a level of empathetic respect that you should pay them back on that front. Sure, it’s not ILLEGAL to use their characters for something that’s not for profit, but just because something isn’t strictly against the law doesn’t mean you should do it.

I’ve had this discussion with people a lot about George RR Martin and how he’s asked people not to write Song of Ice And Fire fanfic since he’s still in the midst of growing and expanding that world. And you wouldn’t believe the gall some people responding to that have had. “Sure, you made something incredible that I love, but HOW DARE YOU tell me I can’t write stories with your characters all day long.” I mean, yeah, you can’t stop someone from doing that, but I think the person that goes ahead against the author’s wishes is being a little more selfish and juvenile than it is being creative or critical.

Is this video the same thing as fan fiction? Not exactly, no. But I still think there’s a difference between an artist throwing a kid with a stuffed tiger into his cartoon/comic strip as a fan homage to Watterson and releasing a highly produced piece of work meant to ape Watterson’s style in a way he never would have used it. Like I said, rubs me the wrong way.

I agree with Kiel.

Once I saw this little kid drawing his own Calvin and Hobbes picture in his school notebook. Disgraceful. I backhanded him, ripped the page out of his book while screaming, “you disgrace everything Watterson stood for!!” it’s stuff like this that turns my stomach.

Next we’ll have people drawing Snoopy or Charlie Brown or something…

Jacob Thomas Redmond

March 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Brief caveat before proceeding…

On the gaping hole in contemporary art’s soul:

Calvin: People always make the mistake of thinking art is created for them. But really, art is a private language for sophisticates to congratulate themselves on their superiority to the rest of the world. As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance.

In regards to some of the previous comments and their general lack of civility or perhaps just blatant arrogance and/or ignorance, a few points of contention should be raised before initiating a much needed reality check.

First of all, there HAS been official merchandising; for instance “Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes” an American children’s textbook published in 1993, an official US Postage Stamp, calendars, books….prints…etc…Etc…Etc…

All of these ARE MERCHANDISE. Money changed hands. Ah, capitalism at its finest. The selfish and self-righteous profited. Now, were ALL of the proceeds from royalty checks given to charity? NO? Seriously? Hmmm. Oh well, there goes that facade.

Second of all, most everything that has ever been written, published, printed, painted, designed, created, pontificated about, and most importantly…copyrighted…was stolen from someone else. No wait, sorry, borrowed. NO WAIT, inspired by the genius of… oh let’s just forget it. Who really cares? (Pretty much just the lawyers.) True originality is so infinitesimally rare that we have to look to something as big as Star Wars to find it. No wait, that was basically The Hidden Fortress by Akira Kurosawa’s set “in space” (among many other amalgamations of things). Fine, sense people seem to think this is all so sacred let’s use The Bible as an example of true originality…no wait, much of that was ripped off from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

I GOT IT! Van Gogh!

On the cruel reality of commercial art:
Hobbes: Van Gogh would’ve sold more than one painting if he’d put tigers in them.

So I say, “BRAVO Adam Brown for having fun with life and your existence, and BRAVO Kevin Melrose for bringing this to everyone’s attention. It really is too bad about all that pesky copyright business.” As for the trolls, suggestions are always more valuable than complaints, so be nice and get over yourselves. Get off youtube and go watch FOXNews or MSNBC or something.

I believe God said it best, “Ignorance is bliss, but for the people who deal with the ignorant it’s hell.” ‏@TheTweetOfGod

Best Wishes,

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