An interview with Bill WattersonFeb 7, 2010
Years after retiring from comics and having remained virtually unreachable and unknowable to his adoring fans, Bill Watterson--creator of Calvin and Hobbes--agreed to an interview.
Maybe this sudden openness was effected by the recent passing of fellow recluse J. D. Salinger. Maybe Watterson wants to promote the upcoming Calvin and Hobbes postage stamps. And maybe it's all just a coincidence. In any case, I would feel terribly remiss to not mention it.
When someone asks, "Who is your hero?"* Bill Watterson is usually the first person who comes to mind. I strongly suspect that Calvin and Hobbes will forever be my favorite comic strip. Watterson was a Renaissance man of comics, able to inject into his strip a seemingly unmatchable combination of artistic talent, humor, wit, vocabulary, sympathetic characterization and conscience. In addition to his vast creative talent, I respect his unblinking integrity, having stood his ground through years of arguments about merchandising his inventions.** Whenever I re-read his comments in The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, I think "Here's someone who sees the world the way I do."** So you could say that we're cut from the same cloth; his cut just happened to come out far more talented and successful.
* Someone being, of course, either a survey or user profile on Facebook: the only ones who care enough to ask such things.
** The one caveat: Given the opportunity, we might differ on the issue of selling out. With a lot of money you can do a lot of good in the world. A lot of good yacht collecting. (When I was young a yacht was the go-to symbol of affluence. Does anyone still care about yachts?)