Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Wow, has it really been 15 years...

...since Bill Watterson put down his pen? It seems like only yesterday. "Calvin and Hobbes" has always been my favorite comic strip and I hated to see it go, but there's a fair point made here:

If I had rolled along with the strip's popularity and repeated myself for another five, 10 or 20 years, the people now "grieving" for "Calvin and Hobbes" would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I'd be agreeing with them.
And Jay G voices my own sentiments here:
I have a lot of respect for Watterson for not riding the strip to the lucrative world of licensed merchandising - yes, all of those various and sundry Calvin or Calvin and Hobbes T-shirts, bumper stickers, truck decals, etc. are all counterfeit and rip off Mr. Watterson. Turning C&H into yet another Garfield would have cheapened it significantly, as pressure mounted to mass-produce C&H merchandise and come up with hilarious saying after hilarious saying to sell more shirts/commemorative plates/feminine products/etc.

Could have been worse. "Calvin & Hobbes," God forbid, could have reached "Family Circus" levels of banality. I'd like to think Bill Watterson's creative well was deeper than that, but thank God we never found out. He did go out leaving the audience wanting more, and as bad as I hated it I can understand and respect that. Like JayG I always had a lot of respect for BW for refusing to let C&H be used for merchandise. More than that, I always thought the stickers showing Calvin taking a leak on various and sundry company logos or what-have-you were a huge insult to the spirit of the strip. And I always wondered how many of the people who bought those stickers knew that they were counterfeit and unauthorized and that Watterson wasn't making a dime off them. With this in mind, I always think it ironic when I see, for example, a sticker that has Calvin with a Bible smiling and point to the sky, Calvin praying in front of a cross, etc. I wonder how many of the people with those stickers know that the folks making them are violating the commandment that says "thou shalt not STEAL"...

(h/t Borepatch & Kahr40)