You’ve watched every movie in your Netflix queue. You have plumbed the depths of your Pandora radio stations. You’ve thoroughly tested the capabilities of your custom-built road bike. It’s time now, Mr. Watterson, to return to the publishing world.
Judd Apatow has said that comedians are just people in search of a philosophy. That makes sense, because they make fun of everything. Maybe that search for meaning is part of why you dropped out of public life for the past 15 years. You went off the grid. Cartoonists have heard rumors of a mysterious moustachioed man at Buddhist temples, hiking the Andes, riding a hot air balloon over the North Pole. Did you find what you were looking for? I sincerely hope so.
If you had simply stopped publishing, that may have been the final answer. Bill Watterson, the J.D. Salinger for Generation X, threatening trespassers with his shotgun. But you have popped up every now and again, which makes the long pauses all the more infuriating. Your heartfelt review of the Charles Schulz biography, the short and funny interview you did for the Plain Dealer earlier this year. It seems like maybe you’re not done – that you’ve still got something to say, and the skill with which to say it differently than anyone else.
So do it already. It could be the comic strip equivalent to The Dark Knight Returns. It could be a sci-fi farce. It could be a series of paintings, or a piano concerto, or an ice sculpture. My point is, a talent that strong shouldn’t be denied. Michael Jordan tried to retire like seventeen times, but he knew he was put on Earth to
sell shoes play basketball. Don’t be the guy who one-ups Michael Jordan by only retiring once.
You could draw a comic strip or a graphic novel about anything you choose. You were an editorial cartoonist without talking about politics, a philosopher without talking about religion. You got to all the heavy stuff in life without weighing your comics down, an amazing feat. I credit you with getting me into watercolors. And though I haven’t used a brush to draw comics for quite a while, I’m thinking of trying again.
Mr. Watterson: show us how it’s done, again.