The reclusive and celebrated cartoonist Bill Watterson, creator of the renowned “Calvin and Hobbes” series, emerged from nearly two decades of retirement this week to guest-draw in a syndicated strip.
Watterson, beloved for his portrayal of the troublemaker Calvin and the animated stuffed tiger Hobbes, is known considered by many the J.D. Salinger of the cartoonist world. He eschewed contact with the public after his last strip in 1995, and reportedly turned down Steven Spielberg’s offer to make an animated Calvin and Hobbes movie.
But when syndicated cartoonist Stephan Pastis drew a strip that praised “Calvin and Hobbes” and sent it to Watterson, thanking him for his influence, Watterson emerged with an offer: would Pastis be interested in teaming up on a strip?
Pastis recounted in a blog post Saturday that Watterson wanted to guest-draw Pastis’ “Pearls Before Swine,” and would draw as a less-competent Pastis. What resulted was Watterson drawing in the guise of a very funny second-grader on his strip.
Pastis called it “the highlight of my career.” You can check out the rest of the strips and the story of Watterson and Pastis’ collaboration here.