Bill Watterson’s Return to Comics

Stephan Pastis:

So 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.

Now if you had asked me the odds of Bill Watterson ever saying that line to me, I’d say it had about the same likelihood as Jimi Hendrix telling me he had a new guitar riff. And yes, I’m aware Hendrix is dead.

So I wrote back to Bill.

“Dear Bill,

I will do whatever you want, including setting my hair on fire.”

So he wrote back and explained his idea.

He said he knew that in my strip, I frequently make fun of my own art skills. And that he thought it would be funny to have me get hit on the head or something and suddenly be able to draw. Then he’d step in and draw my comic strip for a few days.

That’s right.

The cartoonist who last drew Calvin and Hobbes riding their sled into history would return to the comics page.

To draw Pearls Before Swine.

If you’re a Calvin and Hobbes fan, you must, must, must visit the link to see the three strips Watterson drew. The final panel of the second strip is CLASSIC (when do I ever use all caps?) C&H construction. My favorite comic strip after C&H was Zits (I was roughly the same age as the protagonist, Jeremy, at the time) and I used to fantasize that “Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman” was actually Bill Watterson publishing under a pseudonym (because after all, I used to exclaim, Jeremy is exactly the age Calvin would be at this point in history!) I wouldn’t be surprised to find that out that most C&H fans came up with some kind of theory along these lines—any way to keep Watterson’s work alive.

But this? This is way better.

/via John Siracusa