To know Calvin & Hobbes is to love Calvin & Hobbes. Arguably the last newspaper strip that truly mattered and perhaps as generationally defining to those of a certain age as Peanuts was for Baby Boomers and beyond, Calvin & Hobbes left an enormous footprint on the pop culture consciousness. Some of this may very well stem from the fact that Calvin & Hobbes creator, Bill Watterson, was intent on keeping the strip as pure as possible. There were no animated specials, no licensed merchandise, and Mr. Watterson chose to pull the plug on his own terms on December 31st, 1995.
Since then, Bill Watterson has been notoriously difficult to track down. A recent documentary about exactly that (and the influence of Calvin & Hobbes in general), Dear Mr. Watterson is now available to watch, while Mr. Watterson himself contributed the first piece of new, public art anyone had seen in ages for another documentary about newspaper cartoonists, Stripped. But what if there were more Bill Watterson comic strip work that we didn’t know about? Well, it turns out…there is.
After running a strip riffing on how powerful Calvin & Hobbes is, Pearls Before Swine‘s creator, Stephan Pastis, reached out to Watterson, never expecting a response. We could recount the story here, but really, Mr. Pastis’ honest, funny tale of how the collaboration came to be is much more interesting than any secondhand account that I can run. Please visit his blog and read it.
But for a little shorthand, here’s the the first of Mr. Watterson’s new strips in almost twenty years. The links to the other two can be found at Stephan Pastis’ blog.