When I was a little kid, I loved Calvin and Hobbes. Like, LOVED it. My dad had all the books, so I’d read them over and over again, in chronological order. I haven’t read them in years, but my parents gave me a box set of the whole collection a while back that has a place of honor on my bookshelf. I decided to start working my way through the comics again recently, for a couple reasons. I distinctly remember some of the humor going over my head as a kid, so I wanted to see if I had gotten any smarter, and Bill Watterson is a pretty inspiring guy.
Reading about his journey to actually making Calvin and Hobbes is inspiring, because he didn’t immediately start off successful. He had to root around a little bit and find the place where he belonged – and could be successful – which obviously resonates with me. I’ve also always admired how he didn’t want to license the characters, and give up creative control over Calvin and Hobbes. It seems crazy to give up the chance to make so much money, but I think it shows how he really cared about his work. It elevates it to an artistic expression level, not just some drawing job he did to pay the bills. (Get it? Bill’s bills! Sorry.)
Something I’m definitely just realizing now is what a talented artist Bill Watterson is. The richness and texture in his comics – especially the color ones – is amazing. And they’re still funny! 20 years later, they hold up.