With Salinger gone, you would have thought that Calvin and Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson was ready to assume the mantle of the literary world’s most dedicated recluse, but he’s gone and ruined everything by giving his first interview in 20 years to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. You’ll want to promptly click over to the whole thing, but here’s the nut graph:
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?
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.