Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Is Back

But is he bringing Calvin with him?
Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Is Back

It’s the classic good news/bad news situation. The good news: Bill Watterson, the genius creator behind the ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ comic strip, is back! The bad news: He ain’t bringing Calvin with him.

But hey, when it comes to Watterson, we’ll take what we can get. In an announcement that no one had any reason to see coming, publisher Simon & Schuster announced yesterday that Watterson and caricaturist John Kascht are teaming up for a new graphic novel called The Mysteries. Considering that the 72-page “fable for grown-ups” won’t be out until October, we’ve got plenty of time to speculate just what those mysteries might be. Until then, here’s a clue from the publisher's synopsis about an ancient kingdom plagued by mystifying misfortunes. “Hoping to end the torment, the king dispatches his knights to discover the source of the mysterious events. Years later, a single battered knight returns.”

Watterson and Kascht, an artist who’s shown up everywhere from The New York Times to Mad, produced the artwork together--but don’t expect it to look like the familiar boy and his tiger. The two “worked together for several years in unusually close collaboration. Both artists abandoned their past ways of working, inventing images together that neither could anticipate—a mysterious process in its own right.” The first image certainly conveys that enigmatic feeling.

Simon & Schuster

This will be one of the first artistic sightings of Watterson since he abruptly and unexpectedly bailed on ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ back in 1995. Since then, it’s only been co-authorship of a biography of cartoonist Richard Thompson and a few guest panels on the ‘Pearls Before Swine” strip back in 2014. 

Andrews McMeel Syndication

Stephen Pastis, creator of ‘Pearls,’ calls Watterson “the Bigfoot of cartooning” due to his reclusive nature. On his personal blog, Pastis remembers his stab-in-the-dark email to Watterson, never expecting a reply. So he was shocked when Watterson not only wrote back but suggested a strip in which Pastis is knocked on the head and suddenly gains the ability to draw! Watterson would then step in and draw the strip for a few days -- if Pastis was interested. Um, yeah, he was interested. The two artists collaborated on three strips, on the condition that Pastis did not reveal Watterson’s involvement until after the comics had run. 

“It was the hardest secret I’ve ever had to keep,” Pastis blogged. “Because I knew I had seen something rare. A glimpse of Bigfoot.”

And now, the Bigfoot of cartooning is back - hopefully this new project is more than a glance over his right shoulder at us. 

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