Calvin and HobbesThis page is dedicated to one of my most influential mentors, Bill Waterson, the creator of the fabulous comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. People have frequently told me that my comic strips resemble his in many ways, and it's no coincidence. Though I must admit that when I first took an interest in comic strips, it was Jim Davis's Garfield that I looked to for support, without a doubt Calvin and Hobbes is in my opinion the best strip ever created and thus remains a symbol of comic strip masterpieces. His storylines are imaginative, and his drawings are amazing. Waterson once said that "I think I learned to be a writer so I could draw for a living." Same here bud. Today there seems to be a trend on the comics page to accept strips even though the drawings are simple and generic (i.e. Dilbert). Storylines and character dialogue haven't been doing so hot either. This can be attributed to a great deal of factors, but I can honestly say that no other cartoonist has achieved the same artistic expression as Bill Waterson in recent years. The comics page has never be the same since he left. He is my inspiration, because if Waterson was able to crack down on syndicates to broaden his artistic liberties, then I hope I will one day be able to do the same.
There are dozen great sites out there that mostly feature scanned in images of his work, but my intent here is to bring you another side of Waterson that few people know about.
Those of you who know anything about Waterson will remember how much he was against licensing and the restrictions of syndication. He put his characters first, and didn't approve of the idea of other people manipulating and reproducing his work. He had firm beliefs and never sold out to commercialization. Waterson had to fight for what he believed in, and though he knowingly sacrficed enormous financial opportunities, he never sacfriced the integrity of his strip. In searching the web, I found a few articles that show a deeper side of the man behind Calvin and Hobbes. I have spruced them up a little with some images from the strip, but I truly insist that if you are at all interested in the comic strip to go out and purchase the books.
An Interview With Bill Watterson|
When Calvin and Hobbes hit the nations funny pages in late 1985, it took everybody by surprise. A literate comic strip? By a guy who can draw? About a kid who acts like a real kid? And it's funny? And it's from a major syndicate!? The cognoscenti of the graphic narrative form thought they'd died and gone to comic strip heaven.But its true. Against heavy odds, one man with a lot of determination and a fierce sense of his craft may have single-handedly given the strips a new lease on their artistic life. It's been a struggle, but Bill Watterson, like his creation, is the real thing at last.---an interview by Andrew Christie.
The Cheapening of the Comics
A speech by Bill Watterson delivered at the Festival of Cartoon Art, Ohio State University, October 27, 1989. This sums up all of Waterson's griefs and ideals. If you've read any of The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, it restates some of the points he mentioned in the introduction. I find it interesting that after 10 years since he delivered the speech, not much has changed, and that some issues are getting progressively worse.
Calamity on the Comics Page
This is an essay that I've recently written on the current state of the comics page. Most of it references ideas put forth by Bill Waterson in 1989. I discuss the downfalls of syndication and newspaper cutbacks, resulting in the deterioration of a great American art form.