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In the nostalgia-fueled hunt for anything and everything related to Calvin and Hobbes and its reclusive creator Bill Watterson, Hobbes & Me appears to have gone largely unnoticed, at least until now. You’re slipping, internet.
In the 2014 web series, playwright Rafael Casal and rapper/actor Daveed Diggs re-enact 12 of the strips, remaining true to Watterson’s dialogue and staging, while making their own choices with delivery. Diggs, who went on to originate the roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in Hamilton, dons striped pants and faux-tiger fur coat for his performance as Hobbes, while Casal does with the more subdued striped shirt of Calvin.
Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed kicked off April 1 by announcing that he’s acquired the beloved Calvin and Hobbes from the famously reclusive Bill Watterson, who’s “out of the Arizona facility, continent and looking forward to some well-earned financial security.” Accompanied by a photo of an elderly man who’s definitely not Watterson, it’s a funny enough joke, but Breathed was only getting started.
A purported original Calvin and Hobbes strip signed by Bill Watterson sold over the weekend on eBay for $14,100. There’s just one problem — well, two if you count the seller had no sales history: It’s the fabled “pills” strip, which pops up from time to time, only to be quickly discredited.
The strip in question is the well-traveled one — it’s sometimes described as the unpublished “final” installment — in which a now-medicated Calvin is more interested in completing his school report than playing with Hobbes, who, in the final heartbreaking panel, reverts to stuffed-animal form. It’s appeared in a variety of formats, both in color and in black and white.
As if Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn’t have us feeling nostalgic enough, Groot artist Brian Kesinger has channeled Bill Watterson in a series of illustrations that merges the galaxy far, far away with the world of Calvin and Hobbes.
Thirty years ago today, we learned that tigers can be captured using tuna fish sandwiches.
That’s how cartoonist Bill Watterson introduced the world to precocious 6-year-old Calvin and his cynical stuffed tiger (and best friend) Hobbes. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Auctions | Sotheby’s auction of comics and comics art over the weekend in Paris brought in about $4.1 million for 189 works, including Hergé’s cover art for the 10th-anniversary issue of Le Petit Vingtième (the magazine where Tintin first ran), several Tintin pages, and pieces by Hugo Pratt, Charles Burns and Osamu Tezuka. An acrylic and crayon illustration by Dave Stevens created in 1988 for the first issue of The Rocketeer Adventure Magazine (at right) fetched $66,017, a record for the late artist’s work. [Paul Gravett, Artnet]
Creators | “Hobbes was as much my alter-ego as Calvin was”: In an excerpt from the new book Exploring Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson talks about how he came to comics, how he developed the style and characters of Calvin and Hobbes, and the continuing popularity of the strip years after it stopped running in newspapers. [Comic Riffs]
Publishing | Early analysis of 2014 manga sales shows that the category has appeared to turn around, with sales increasing last year, driven by the Attack on Titan juggernaut. [ICv2]
Publishing | Black Mask Studios, which started as the publisher of Occupy Comics and now publishes a number of series in different styles and genres, launched a YouTube channel this week as an outlet for its animation and motion-comics projects. [The New York Times]
Comic strips | Prompted by the insult-filled message left by an 8-year-old for the newspaper editor who dropped his favorite comics, Michael Cavna asks Big Nate creator Lincoln Peirce whether kids are still even reading comic strips in high numbers. His answer, at least in part: “I’m a firm believer that kids will ALWAYS want their comics…but they’ll want them in whatever formats are the newest and shiniest. So: Yes, kids are still reading plenty of comics. They’re just not reading them in their daily newspapers.” It kicks off an interesting, if brief, discussion with a cartoonist who’s found a great deal of success reaching young readers. Related: Christopher Caldwell looks back on Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. [The Washington Post]
In an interview with the French site 20 Minutes, Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson debuts the poster he designed for the 2015 Angoulême International Comics Festival, but he says he won’t be attending the event.
Watterson was awarded the Grand Prix d’Angoulême last year, an honor that usually includes serving as president of the following year’s festival. But in the interview, the reclusive cartoonist says he won’t participate beyond designing the poster and sending some of his original art for an exhibit.
When you curl up with a collection of Bill Watterson’s beloved comic strip, you likely give no thought to the actual costs of the path of destruction cut by Calvin and Hobbes during their nearly decade-long free-for-all. But a certain Matt J. Michel has.
The editor of Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science (ahem, PNIS), “a part-serious, part-satirical journal publishing science-related articles,” Michel addressed the issue with all the seriousness — or at least part-seriousness — he could muster. Sitting down with the four-volume Complete Calvin and Hobbes, he scoured each of the 3,150 strips, attaching a price to each piece of damaged property explicitly depicted or attributed to the eternal 6-year-old.
Undoubtedly the breakout stars of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon and Groot have emerged as one of the most loveable pairings in recent memory, a relationship immortalized not only on film but in pen and ink, in statues and even in life-sized LEGO. You might even say they’re on a course to become this generation’s Calvin and Hobbes.
Even if you’re not prepared to make that leap, veteran comics artist Mike S. Miller is, creating adorable mashups of Rocket and Groot and Bill Watterson’s beloved creations. He’ll have prints for sale at conventions, but you can order all three online for $50.
Bill Watterson’s original artwork from his surprise guest stint in June on Pearls Before Swine sold at auction Friday for a combined $74,040, with the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
According to The Associated Press, Heritage Auctions sold the three comic strips to three collectors, who wished to remain anonymous. The Dallas auction house had expected the pieces to bring in more than $30,000 combined (the June 5 strip alone went for $35,840).
The three original comic strips from Bill Watterson’s surprise guest stint last month on Pearls Before Swine will be displayed this week at Comic-Con International before they’re sold at auction Aug. 8, with proceeds benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
The collaboration, which came at the suggestion of the Calvin and Hobbes creator, marked Watterson’s return to the comics page after a 19-year absence. Pastis teased readers that the week’s storyline would “contain a mind-blowing surprise,” but didn’t reveal what it was. Nevertheless, some fans quickly uncovered clues that some of the strips were ghost-drawn by Watterson.
Creators | Shaenon Garrity chronicles Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson’s recent return to the public eye. While Watterson stopped drawing the strip in 1995, he recently provided a painting for the Team Cul De Sac charity, did an interview and created a poster for the documentary Stripped, and contributed as a guest artist to Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine comic strip. [Paste Magazine]
Comics | Some bonus Calvin and Hobbes content: Adam Weinstein looks at the history of those “peeing Calvin” decals, with a short road trip into the “praying Calvin” variant. [Gawker]
Creators | Marc Sobel interviews Ganges creator Kevin Huizenga. [The Comics Journal]
On Monday, cartoonist Stephan Pastis kicked off a new Pearls Before Swine arc by teasing that this week’s strips “will contain a mind-blowing surprise.” That tantalizing tweet, coupled with artwork in a decidedly different style and a couple of potential dialogues, led some readers to speculate that parts of the storyline are drawn by none other than Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson.
At The Daily Cartoonist, Alan Gardner lays out some of the evidence, both for and against, and rounds up some of the Twitter chatter on the subject. He acknowledges, “I’m not fully convinced that it is Bill.”