You might think Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson is partly responsible for those Calvin bumper stickers you see everywhere, peeing and praying. In reality, Watterson quietly retired, turning down all offers to license the character and the untold millions in piss Christ dollars that would’ve inevitably come with it. He lives a quiet life outside Cleveland and has only given one or two interviews since 1987. But recently, on the heels of the trailer for Dear Mr. Watterson, the cartoonist sat down with MentalFloss for a chitty chat.
Check out the whole thing here, but I’ve got some highlights below.
Years ago, you hadn’t quite dismissed the notion of animating the strip. Are you a fan of Pixar? Does their competency ever make the idea of animating your creations more palatable?
I have zero interest in animating “Calvin and Hobbes.” If you’ve ever compared a film to a novel it’s based on, you know the novel gets bludgeoned. It’s inevitable, because different media have different strengths and needs, and when you make a movie, the movie’s needs get served. As a comic strip, “Calvin and Hobbes” works exactly the way I intended it to. There’s no upside for me in adapting it.
On those unauthorized vinyl decal stickers of Calvin peeing:
I figure that, long after the strip is forgotten, those decals are my ticket to immortality.
On the state of comics today:
Personally, I like paper and ink better than glowing pixels, but to each his own. Obviously the role of comics is changing very fast. Obviously the role of comics is changing very fast. On the one hand, I don’t think comics have ever been more widely accepted or taken as seriously as they are now. On the other hand, the mass media is disintegrating, and audiences are atomizing. I suspect comics will have less widespread cultural impact and make a lot less money. I’m old enough to find all this unsettling, but the world moves on.
You can check out a selection of Calvin Peeing decals here. It speaks to Calvin and Hobbes’ cultural impact that there’s such a wide variety of depictions. Calvin means something different to everyone. I think my personal favorite is the Calvin with a cowboy hat peeing on “City Boys.” I really hope there’s a discount if you buy that with some Truck Nutz™.