This is not a cheap ploy to increase my web traffic. Bill Watterson is not involved in anything untoward. Stripped refers to comic strips, as in newspaper funnies, as in the only part of the paper I read as a kid.
Yesterday I received an email from the makers of a film I backed on Kickstarter. Stripped is a documentary about comic strips and the anonymous elves who make them. The two filmmakers, Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder, interviewed over 70 of those elves (“cartoonists”), Bill Watterson included. Bill must’ve liked talking to Dave and Fred, because he agreed to draw the poster art.
Should we begin calling Bill Watterson formerly reclusive? In the past few years we’ve heard more and more from him.
Let me begin by saying, I love the poster. It’s nice to see Watterson draw something that isn’t Calvin and Hobbes. There are so few examples of his art before the comic strip (many of them cataloged here), and even fewer post-Calvin. The drawing is obviously his – the style is so familiar. It is full of life, with details that make you want to linger in the theater lobby (or, in my case, the iPad screen). Is it the best poster that I’ve ever seen? Yes, I think so.
Hyperbole aside, this poster is kind of a tease. If Bill is doing these little one-off projects, does this mean there’s more to come? I hate to think after verifying that he’s still very capable of wielding a brush that he’ll re-submerge in Ohio for another twenty years. He clearly cares about comics, and I imagine he has more to say.
I’ll make this plea once more, in case Bill scours the internet late at night in search of himself: Please come back. You don’t have to do Calvin and Hobbes. Write a graphic novel about dueling stamp collectors. Write a sci-fi cookbook. Make a foldy comic! The format and characters don’t matter to me. Reading new material from a master does.
I haven’t seen Stripped yet – it will be released soon on iTunes – so you can expect a lengthy and highly digressive review on this here blog just as soon as I do.