First new Bill Watterson art in 16 years benefits Team Cul-de-Sac

Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson has a been a notorious recluse for 16 years or so; however, he has broken his visual silence for a pretty worthy cause, Michael Cavna reports. Watterson has donated a painting — yes, a painting — of Richard Thompson’s Petey character from Cul-de-Sac to a Parkinson’s disease benefit. (Thompson suffers from that illness.)

“Let’s just say I got a package from a William Watterson in Cleveland Heights, Ohio,” says Andrew McMeel’s Caty Neis, who is helping lead the Team Cul de Sac effort. “I have been carrying it around and showing everyone. I didn’t get my hopes up that [Watterson] would contribute. …

“Just the fact that this is first art that we have seen from him in 16 years is just so exciting, and what a great cause.”

Team Cul de Sac — which works with Team Fox of the Michael J. Fox Foundation — is the brainchild of North Carolina-based web and print designer Chris Sparks. The project hopes to raise $250,000 for Parkinson’s research through such efforts as a Andres McMeel-published book of “Cul de Sac” art drawn by dozens of Thompson’s colleagues, including Watterson.


Since ending Calvin and Hobbes in 1995, Watterson has pursued painting, although he is rumored to burn his canvases after painting them. Luckily, this one made it through.


  1. “Since ending CALVIN & HOBBES in 1885,..”

    Whoa, 1885??? He HAS been reclusive!

  2. Nick Jones says:

    “Since ending CALVIN & HOBBES in 1885,”

    Given the lack of any successor with even half the wit and charm that Watterson brought to the table, it certainly FEELS like C&H has been gone for 125 years.

  3. akachris says:

    Are they sure it’s not from Rob Granito?

  4. Andrew Farago says:

    Richard Thompson’s been a pretty worthy successor to Watterson–according to no less an authority than Watterson himself.

    Everyone should check out Richard’s blog and comic, if they haven’t already:

  5. A great team up for a worthy cause!

  6. maggie says:

    it’s interesting that for his first work that he’s let the general public see in sixteen years, Watterson chose a painting he did of someone else’s character. He’s doing a pretty amazing job of refusing to give the public art that entirely his, and given how fanatical people are about Calvin and Hobbes, that seems fair. He’s given us enough. I hope that, after he passes away, his family doesn’t pull a Nabokov, Vonnegut or Bolano (sorry I can’t type tildes, I don’t know how) and sell all the work he’d meant to keep private. Still, it gives me chills to see something new from someone so talented after so long.

  7. Dave Miller-lad says:

    Looks like Ringo

  8. Kate Willaert says:

    Holy wow.

    I can’t wait to see how much that painting ends up bringing in…it’s definitely going to be a ton. And fantastic that he’s doing it for a charity.

  9. “I hope that, after he passes away, his family doesn’t pull a Nabokov, Vonnegut or Bolano (sorry I can’t type tildes, I don’t know how) and sell all the work he’d meant to keep private”

    I hope his private artwork is made public in some way, eventually. If this painting is any indication, it’s probably an excellent body of work.

  10. @Dave Miller-lad: “Looks like Ringo”

    Maybe this was actually painted by Marge Simpson.

  11. It does kind of remind me of Frazetta’s portrait of Ringo as a “Bleech Girl” from mad Magazine.

  12. I’m with Kochalka.
    It breaks my heart that he’s hiding his painting. If he cares about doing good, let it all be sold for a good cause after he passes away.

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