Calvin and Hobbes creator, Bill Watterson revealed new artwork for the first time in 19 years for a documentary about comics called Stripped.
“Aside from supplying a few sentences to the documentary, I’m not involved with the film, so Dave’s request to draw the poster came completely out of the blue,” Watterson tells Comic Riffs early Wednesday afternoon. “It sounded like fun, and maybe something people wouldn’t expect, so I decided to give it a try. Dave sent me a rough cut of the film and I dusted the cobwebs off my ink bottle.”
Watterson drew an image that never would have passed during his “Calvin and Hobbes” days: An adult springing to full-color life in all his dorsal nudity.
“Given the movie’s title and the fact that there are few things funnier than human nudity, the idea popped into my head largely intact,” Watterson told The Post. “The film is a big valentine to comics, so I tried to do something really cartoon-y. I had thought of having it colored with off-registered printing dots like newspaper comics, but Dave asked if I’d paint it instead, and I think he made the right call.”
“Stripped,” by Dave Kellett and filmmaker Frederick Schroeder, features more than 60 cartoonists who talk about the state of the comic-strip industry.
On the Stripped website it explains that over 90 interviews were conducted, including the first-ever audio interview withBill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes), as well as Jim Davis (Garfield), Cathy Guisewite(Cathy), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), Mike & Jerry (Penny Arcade), Matt Inman (The Oatmeal), Jeff Keane (The Family Circus), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics), Lynn Johnston (FBOFW), Zach Weiner (SMBC), Scott Kurtz (PvP), Scott McCloud(Understanding Comics), Richard Thompson (Cul de Sac), Jeph Jacques(Questionable Content), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant) and more. Stripped sits down with these creators to talk about how cartooning works, why it’s so loved, and how they’re navigating this dicey period between print and digital options…when neither path works perfectly.
The film also explores the question of “where the art form goes as newspapers die.”
“In the right hands, a comic strip attains a beauty and an elegance that really I would put against any other art,” Mr. Watterson says in his interview.
Mr. Schroeder said, “It seemed like he really wanted to express some thoughts about comics and cartooning, where they had been and where they are going.” The retired cartoonist was so pleased with the documentary that he also supplied the artwork for the poster of the film.
Stripped is a feature documentary on the world’s best cartoonists. A love-letter to comic strips, the film brings together Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes), Jim Davis (Garfield), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy) and 70 others: Talking about the art form they love…and where it goes as newspapers die.
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