When asked in a 1989 interview with The Comics Journal why he does not license his characters, Bill Watterson said, “I take cartoons seriously as an art form, so I think with an issue like licensing, it’s important to analyze what my strip is about, and what makes it work. My strip works differently. Calvin and Hobbes isn’t a gag strip. It has a punch line, but the strip is about more than that. The humor is situational, and often episodic. It relies on conversation, and the development of personalities and relationships.”
Calvin and Hobbes was a daily comic strip that ran from 1985 to 1995. It followed the adventures of six-year-old Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes. Formally unconventional and groundbreaking, Calvin and Hobbes was one of the most acclaimed and popular comic strips in history.
Watterson retained complete creative control and when he announced the end of the strip, he said, simply: “My interests have shifted […] and I believe I’ve done what I can do within the constraints of daily deadlines and small panels.”
Calvin and Hobbes books, including The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (2005) have sold a combined 45 million copies.
Watterson grew up in Chagrin Falls, where he still lives, largely out of public life.
If you enjoyed The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, we suggest these Ohio side trips:
- Richard F. Outcault’s Buster Brown: Early Strips in Full Color
- Jeff Smith’s Bone
- Cathy Guisewite’s Thin Thighs in Thirty Years