|Bill Watterson, 1986 file photo|
First, some background - Bill Watterson, who ended the Calvin and Hobbes (wiki) cartoon strip on December 31, 1995 (see the ambiguous final panel near the bottom of this post), is notoriously publicity-shy. There is only one publicly available photo of him in existence. In fact, legend has it that when Steven Spielberg called to see if he wanted to make a movie, Bill wouldn’t even take the call.
Recently he did an audio-only interview for a documentary about newspaper comics entitled Stripped, and provided artwork for a poster (left).
So, back to our story. Stephan Pastis, creator of the Pearls Before Swine comic strip (and author of Pearls Falls Fast), had an exchange with the reclusive Watterson in which he (Watterson) offered to draw three panels for Pearls, with the caveat that he (Pastis) not reveal Watterson's involvement until all three of his strips had run, which they did last week:
He said he knew that in my strip, I frequently make fun of my own art skills. And that he thought it would be funny to have me get hit on the head or something and suddenly be able to draw. Then he’d step in and draw my comic strip for a few days.Pastis, of course, jumped at the idea, with this counter-proposal:
The idea I proposed was that instead of having me get hit on the head, I would pretend that Pearls was being drawn by a precocious second grader who thought my art was crap. I named her “Libby,” which I then shorted to “Lib.” (Hint, hint: It’s almost “Bill” backwards.)Read Pastis' whole story here. The results of the collaboration are below:
Calvin and Hobbes final strip:
Here's a trailer for a recent tribute film, Dear Mr. Watterson: