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Tag: calvin and hobbes

Zippo, Bang

calvinandhobbes Check out this meaty 1989 Comics Journal interview with Bill Watterson (found over at Longform):

WEST: In looking at Krazy Kat, do you draw any strength from what Herriman did in terms of the relationships of his characters?

WATTERSON: Krazy Kat is a completely unique strip. I think it’s the best comic strip ever drawn. Ultimately, though, it’s such a peculiar and idiosyncratic vision that it has little to say to me directly. I marvel at it because it’s beyond duplication. It’s like trying to paint a sunrise — you’re better off not even trying. Peanuts and Pogo have been inspirations, too, but these strips are much more down to earth, and are much closer to my own way of thinking, and have had much more direct influence. Even so, I try to keep the instances of blatant plagiarism to a minimum. Looking back, you’ll see that some of the old strips are one-gag formulas, endlessly varied. Krazy Kat revolves around the tossing of the brick. Little Nemo was always a dream, and you know the kid is going to wake up in a heap at the bottom of his bed in every single strip. I find Herriman a lot more interesting than McCay, but both are working within a very limited construct. It’s a very different approach to cartooning that what we do now. I would go insane working with limited formulas like theirs, but on the other hand, Herriman and McCay gave us something better than gags. Back then, the fun was in the getting there. The destination of each strip was the same, but every day you went there by a different road. Today, we want the strip over as soon as possible — “Just hand me the punch line, please.” The fewer panels, words, and drawings, the better: I think Pogo was the last of the enjoy-the-ride strips. It’s a shame. We’ve really lost what comics do best.

WEST: Can’t you still do that with the Sundays?

WATTERSON: The Sundays are frustrating — you have to waste the entire top third of the strip so that the panels can be dropped or reconfigured for certain-sized newspapers. This really limits what I can do. Krazy Kat had a whole page to itself, as did Nemo. Even so, there’s more flexibility on Sundays than in the daily strips. I’ve always tried to make the strip animated, even when the characters aren’t moving, with expressions or perspectives or some sort of exaggeration. There’s great potential for that which has yet to be fully mined.


Bill Speaks


Mental Floss has an exclusive interview with Bill Watterson. This is a must for all you Calivn and Hobbes knuts out there.


More pictures: here.

Less is More

Been thinking a lot about the term “recluse” this weekend. There is such a negative association with it. But is it such a bad thing? Anyhow, this caught my eye–a short interview with the “reclusive” creator of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, Bill Watterson, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Readers became friends with your characters, so understandably, they grieved — and are still grieving — when the strip ended. What would you like to tell them?

BW: This isn’t as hard to understand as people try to make it. By the end of 10 years, I’d said pretty much everything I had come there to say.

It’s always better to leave the party early. If I had rolled along with the strip’s popularity and repeated myself for another five, 10 or 20 years, the people now “grieving” for “Calvin and Hobbes” would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I’d be agreeing with them.

I think some of the reason “Calvin and Hobbes” still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it.

I’ve never regretted stopping when I did.

I think this is a rare quality in a writer, columnist, artist, you name it–the ability to leave sooner rather than later, especially when you are a success. I was duly impressed with the visual wonder of Avatar but I would have been that much more impressed if the movie was an hour shorter.

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