Bill Watterson, the creative mind behind Calvin and Hobbes, has no issues with how he left his beloved comic strip. An interview reveals Watterson’s reasoning for ending the cartoon and why he still remains confident in his decision.
Calvin and Hobbes was a syndicated daily comic strip about an imaginative young boy named Calvin and his best friend, a stuffed tiger named Hobbes. Though the world only saw a stuffed animal, Hobbes was a walking, talking tiger to Calvin, and together the two spent their days wandering around, musing on life and philosophy. The strip was both critically acclaimed and popular among readers, with the strip being featured in over two thousand newspapers at the height of its popularity. However, after a ten-year run, Watterson said his goodbyes to his beloved characters and ended Calvin and Hobbes.
Watterson Didn’t Want Calvin and Hobbes to Become Boring
While many fans might have preferred the adventures of the comedic duo to continue, Watterson was quite happy to bring Calvin and Hobbes to its natural conclusion. In an interview with The Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2010, Watterson looks back on his career fifteen years after leaving his strip behind, saying:
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.
Watterson’s comments may come as a surprise to some, but they’re consistent with other things he’s said and done since putting an end to his strip. Watterson turned down multiple offers to resume or adapt Calvin and Hobbes into movies or animated series. Watterson has also turned down autographs after seeing previous ones pop up for sale online. While Calvin and Hobbes was a large part of many fans’ lives, the cartoonist was more than happy to leave that particular chapter of his life behind. Some fans may struggle to understand why Watterson ended his strip at its peak, but this interview helps shed light on the creator’s mindset.
Watterson Ended Calvin and Hobbes at the Right Time
Readers who grew up reading Calvin’s flights of fancy as Spaceman Spiff or Stupendous Man connected with the series and probably had no clue why such a charming and funny strip ended when it did. But from Watterson’s point of view, he didn’t want to continue the strip just because it was popular at the time. He was aware that demand for a new series would inevitably come, and he didn’t want to occupy space that could go for a newer artist with a fresher voice. While some may have disagreed with the creator’s choice, Bill Watterson’s choice to end Calvin and Hobbes at the height of its popularity helped enshrine it as one of the most beloved comic strips of all time.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, John Campanelli