Then, later, in English.
Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, huge inspiration to this here blogger, first cartoonist to win the Tour de France, received the prestigious Grand Prix at one of the biggest comics festivals in the world.
It seems as less of a surprise than it would have been a few years ago. Lately it seems ol Bill’s work is getting more of the attention it deserves. In 2005 we got The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, a hardbound three volume set that collects the run of the strip in its entirety. Better still, it included a preface by the author. Clocking in at about 20 pages, it was the most autobiography I’d ever seen from Watterson.
In 2009, Looking for Calvin and Hobbes popped up as a sort of meta-article on the elusive cartoonist. Although Nevin Martell interviewed just about everyone associated with Watterson, he was unable to speak with the man himself. On the record, at least.
Last year came Dear Mr. Watterson, a documentary on the lasting legacy of Calvin and Hobbes. This was not another biography of the man but a love letter to his work. I am proud to have been included in such a nice tribute to my favorite work of art.
With all these publications, Bill Watterson has been thrust once again into the spotlight. Let us hope he is not too angry at us for loving him so much. I doubt he is too bothered by it, as he has voluntarily taken part in two projects of late: one, a book called The Art of Richard Thompson, will feature an interview between Watterson and Thompson. In March, an exhibit of both Thompson and Watterson’s art will go up at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at The Ohio State University.
Everyone wants to know: will Bill Watterson attend Angouleme next year? According to his editor Lee Salem (a superstar of the comics scene himself), “I’ll try to talk him into it.” I don’t know about you, but if I was in Ohio in late January a trip to France would sound pretty darn good.
Literally hundreds of cartoonists descended on the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center last weekend. This imposing portrait of the Marriott Brothers hung near the ballroom like a stained glass portrait of Jesus and Mary in a cathedral.
I still had a few Dear Mr. Watterson postcards, which were a great conversation starter. It was a great joy telling people that there is a movie about Bill Watterson coming out soon. Everybody loves Calvin and Hobbes. If you happen upon this post during your nightly Googling of your name, Mr. Watterson, take note: you would be welcome at SPX any year. If noted misanthropes Seth and Chris Ware made it out, you can too.
By far the coolest thing to happen was my inclusion in the Library of Congress. Three of my Falling Rock comic strip collections (Great Wave of Falling Rock, Scenic Byways, and Falling Rock National Park 2012) will live forever in the LoC until the Psychlos have driven us from our cities and strip-mined our planet for precious gold.
I was seated at table A1. This, I thought, must have meaning. While I searched for this elusive meaning, I stared across the aisle at Jeff Smith, who signed approximately 5,482 books during the course of the weekend.
A large part of my success at SPX is due to one man: Nick Offerman. In addition to being the genius actor who portrays Ron Swanson on the genius show Parks and Recreation, he built his own canoe and filmed an instructional video so any of us non-Offermans can join him on the lake. BYO Scotch.
I was given a very cool foldy comic about the age-old question of chicken/egg. Which came first? You’ll have to decide.
The day after SPX I made my way into our nation’s capitol, where I saw but was unable to ride one of the Wright brothers’ custom-made bicycles. I think it says something that the guys who built the first airplane were also bike mechanics.
Thanks to the SPX team who put together another great show. A big thanks to my comic book buddies, including (but not limited to) Kenan & Cate, Neil, Tyrell, Jason, Cara, Kevin, Alec, Greg, as well as the new friends I made. Your energy and bone-deep enthusiasm literally took my breath away. Literally, it took my breath. I can’t wait to have a similar yet refreshingly unique experience at the Bethesda Marriott next year.
This is my Julie & Julia moment. Falling Rock National Park has made its big screen debut. If you are able to see the new full-length documentary Dear Mr. Watterson, do so! Falling Rock shows up among a number of comics that have been influenced by the venerable creator of Calvin and Hobbes.
Those of you who know me, either through this blog or in person, know what a huge influence Bill Waaterson’s work has on everything I draw. Calvin and Hobbes was not the first comic strip I ever read, but it was the one that changed my life. Garfield got me into reading comics, and Calvin and Hobbes made me realize I should be MAKING comics.
Although I have not yet seen Dear Mr. Watterson, I am anxiously awaiting the time when it moves from the festival circuit, where it has been making the rounds, to a theatrical release. If any of you dear readers have seen it, let me know! I’m curious how Falling Rock looks on the big screen.