Calvin And Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Is Back — But With Something Different
Well, here’s something I didn’t expect to wake up and type about today. Cartoonist Bill Watterson, creator of one of the world’s greatest comic strips (Calvin and Hobbes, 1985-1995), is finally poking his head out of his groundhog hole to do something else in public.
Watterson is as famous for his rigid ethics, attitude and reclusivity as he is for his art. He refused to allow any merchandising or product tie-ins for his strip, and he convinced his syndicate to allow him to draw his Sunday pages uncut with no mandatory panel divisions — both unheard of at the time. He is virtually impossible to contact and has no social media presence, nor is there a photo of him online older than the mid-80s. An entire documentary, Dear Mr. Watterson, was created as a giant love letter to him from millions of adoring fans. There was no response from him.
Ever since retiring the strip, Watterson’s art has only been seen in extremely rare occasions. He popped up out of nowhere to illustrate three Pearls Before Swine strips in 2014 as a kind of joke (the true artist wasn’t revealed until after the strips ran). There were also several strips in Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County revival that allegedly had Watterson art, but no one knows for sure — Breathed has been known to lie.
But Watterson is suddenly back — with a product very unlike anything he’s offered before. The Mysteries, a “picture book for adults” that promises some kind of dark medieval tale. It’s a collaboration with caricaturist John Kascht, but who drew what is unclear — the art is such a departure we have no idea.
In a fable for grown-ups by cartoonist Bill Watterson, a long-ago kingdom is afflicted with unexplainable calamities. Hoping to end the torment, the king dispatches his knights to discover the source of the mysterious events. Years later, a single battered knight returns.
That’s all we have to go on. Simon and Schuster is printing The Mysteries with a planned fall release date. Says the publisher. “For the book’s illustrations, Watterson and caricaturist John Kascht worked together for several years in unusually close collaboration. Both artists abandoned their past ways of working, inventing images together that neither could anticipate—a mysterious process in its own right.”
The Mysteries will be released in October.
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