Calvin & Hobbes
“Just to be clear, I did not have incredible autonomy until afterward. I had signed most of my rights away in order to get syndicated, so I had no control over what happened to my own work, and I had no legal position to argue anything. I could not take the strip with me if I quit, or even prevent the syndicate from replacing me, so I was truly scared I was going to lose everything I cared about either way. I made a lot of impassioned arguments for why a work of art should reflect the ideas and beliefs of its creator, but the simple fact was that my contract made that issue irrelevant. It was a grim, sad time. Desperation makes a person do crazy things.”
- “Calvin & Hobbes” creator Bill Watterson, during a rare interview with Mental Floss covering his career and the direction of comics moving forward.
Calvin & Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson is notoriously reclusive, and original pieces of art from his long-running strip are just as rare. That’s why recent news by Heritage Auctions that a piece of his is going up for sale is worth perking your ears up about.
The watercolor illustration (seen at right) was a piece done by Watterson for a 1989-90 calendar cover. The piece comes from the collection of comic historian Rick Marschall, to whom Watterson inscribed it to in the lower right corner.
The current highest bid is at $26,000, but the auction house expects it to top $50,000 by the time the live floor auction starts on Feb. 23. I expect to see a vast array of comics art collectors come out for this, and perhaps even a few comic artists who are fans of Watterson’s work.
If you’re still a little deflated by the absence of Community from NBC’s midseason lineup — it will return … sometime — then this may pick you up: Megan Lara’s adorable Calvin & Hobbes-inspired illustration “Troy and Abed’s Dope Adventures” is available as a T-shirt from RedBubble.
If the season has you missing Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes — particularly, Calvin’s scenes of snowman carnage — you’re not alone. Jim Frommeyer and Teague Chrystie have created a wonderful short film called “A Very Calvin & Hobbes Christmas” that pays homage to those fondly remembered strips and delivers a touching message to their creator. For the curious, Frommeyer even walks us through the process.