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.



  1. I did want the interviewer to ask him what he’s been up to. There have been a few reports that he’s been painting landscapes. Personally I’d love to see those paintings.

  2. Some of his paintings are reproduced in the complete Calvin and Hobbes box set.

    They are good.

  3. Personally, I was baffled by his response over the Calvin & Hobbes stamps. We still get snail mail, and it’s still part of everyday business, like it or not. Why not just say, “No, I won’t be sending anyone a letter with a Calvin & Hobbes stamp”?

  4. What is wrong with being reclusive?

    Calvin and Hobbes is literally the very first comic that I ever read. My mother read it to me with hilarious voices. His contribution to the lives of readers, especially those of my generation is almost incalculable. But he is a person and deserves his own happiness.

    He made a lot of people happy and now he wants to be left alone. The end.

  5. steve ditko is another comics related recluse that nobody has seen in years. as for watterson, i’ve always read and enjoyed (along with millions of other folks) his strip over the years when it was published. any commentary he made about comic book culture through his strip was always on the money.

  6. I understand him perfectly, he can do whatever he wants, especially regarding how well the C&H collections still sell.

    If he wants to paint landscapes, let him. He made me laugh so long my sides began to ache sometimes, so let him do what makes him happy.

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