Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Draws Pearls Before Swine

Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Draws Pearls Before Swine

Bill Watterson draws Pearls Before SwineBill Watterson, the legendary creator of Calvin and Hobbes, is one of the most famous cartoonists in the world. He’s also one of the most private. After he retired from comics in 1995, he vanished from public life. He made Time Magazine‘s list of Top 10 Most Reclusive Celebrities (at #7) a few years ago (and Time accompanied the piece with one of the only known photographs of him.) For years, fans have been wondering what his next project would be.

It turns out that it’s already been published — and, typical for Watterson, in a surprisingly understated fashion. Stephan Pastis, creator of the bestselling Pearls Before Swine comic, revealed on his blog this morning that Watterson has been co-writing and co-drawing the strip with him for much of the past week:

I emailed him the strip and thanked him for all his great work and the influence he’d had on me. And never expected to get a reply. And what do you know, he wrote back. Let me tell you. Just getting an email from Bill Watterson is one of the most mind-blowing, surreal experiences I have ever had. Bill Watterson really exists? And he sends email? And he’s communicating with me?

But he was. And he had a great sense of humor about the strip I had done, and was very funny, and oh yeah… He had a comic strip idea he wanted to run by me…

What followed was a series of back-and-forth emails where we discussed what the strips would be about, and how we would do them. He was confident. I was frightened. Frightened because it’s one thing to write a strip read by millions of people. But it’s another thing to propose an idea to Bill Watterson.

You can see the entire sequence drawn by Watterson here, and this morning’s article by Michael Cavna’s  at The Washington Post that broke the story here.

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Fletcher Vredenburgh

I love Pearls and thought Pastis was just drawing in a very cool Wattersonian style. This is so much cooler.

Ty Johnston

My initial response was to feel sorry for Watterson. He’s going to get deluged with another million voices screaming, “Please bring back Calvin & Hobbes! Please, please, oh pretty please! We’ll do anything!”

But then I figured, he probably knows what he’s in for.

So, Bill, if you’re reading this … please, please, oh pretty please, bring back Calvin & Hobbes! The planets will align and all will be right with the universe once more!

Thomas Parker

I too would love to see Watterson bring back Calvin and Hobbes…and then again, maybe I wouldn’t. How many artists have the good sense and self-control to leave at the top, before they start producing faded carbon copies of their best work? Not very many. I’ve been slowly buying the Fantagraphics Complete Peanuts hardcovers, and last week I got the 1963-64 and 1965-66 volumes. I think this was Schultz’s absolute peak, but when I think about the strip’s decline by the end of the 70’s and through the 80’s, I get as depressed as Charlie Brown ever did. Schultz had said everything he had to say by that time; the only thing keeping Peanuts going then was inertia and marketing and Schultz’s apparent inability to think of anything else to do. Watterson – and Gary Larson – certainly have avoided that. I would love to see Watterson working again, but even more than revisiting something he’s already done, I would be excited to see him do something completely new.


I’d love to see what’s been on Bill Watterson’s mind these last twenty years as well. Calvin & Hobbes was great as is and doesn’t need a single additional strip added. Hopefully, this project is just a prelude for something new and completely different from Mr. Watterson.

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