Come Back, Bill (Remembering Calvin & Hobbes)
The reasons for Watterson’s retirement were well-documented: He had been increasingly disillusioned with the publishing world’s rigid demands, fights over merchandising rights (he was against ANY kind of merchandising), and most of all, he felt he would not be able to maintain the high level of standards for the strip.
In one of his collections (“The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book”), Watterson shared many things about his life – his obsession with privacy, his heated rows with publishers and newspaper execs, his love for old-time strips like Krazy Kat and Peanuts, and his frustrations with piracy.
In the immediate years after his retirement, there was a clamour by US dailies to find the next “Calvin & Hobbes”. So many were hyped, but none even came close to its popularity or level of humour. One of the heavily-touted ones was Liberty Meadows, but it soon fizzled and succumbed to the all-too-common diseases of comic strips – lack of ideas, repetition and banality.
But none of them will ever be like Bill Watterson, because just like Charles M. Schulz, he is irreplaceable.
Stupendous Man. Spaceman Spiff. Suicidal snowmen on the lawn. Calvin-ball. Susie Derkins.
Come back, Bill. We miss you.
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