Watterson Answers ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ Questions

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By: Dave Astor

Bill Watterson, the reclusive creator of “Calvin and Hobbes,” has answered 15 questions submitted by readers.

Andrews McMeel Publishing (AMP) asked people to submit queries this spring (E&P Online, May 20) as a way to promote “The Complete Calvin and Hobbes” book, slated for Oct. 4 release. The collection includes every comic Watterson did from his feature’s launch in 1985 until its swan song in 1996 — when “Calvin and Hobbes” was running in more than 2,400 newspapers via Universal Press Syndicate.

Questions for the Watterson “interview” were culled from more than 2,500 received from around the world. AMP chose 35 to send on to Watterson, who chose 15 to answer.

One of the 15 respondents, a Tennessee resident, sought Watterson’s opinion about the state of comics today. The cartoonist’s answer: “It took a while, but now I read the comics almost like a normal person. This is not a great age of newspaper comics, but there are a few strips I enjoy. Things could be better, things could be worse.”

A Californian asked what Watterson thought of comics on the Web. He replied: “To be honest, I don’t keep up with this. The Internet may well provide a new outlet for cartoonists, but I imagine it’s very hard to stand out from the sea of garbage, attract a large audience, or make money. Newspapers are still the major leagues for comic strips…but I wouldn’t care to bet how long they’ll stay that way.”

Other questions (posted at www.andrewsmcmeel.com) covered topics such as how autobiographical “Calvin and Hobbes” was and why Watterson didn’t allow the comic’s characters to be merchandised.

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