Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The book on comics

Saw the documentary "Dear Mr. Watterson," about the comic strip "Calvin & Hobbes" by Bill Watterson. Berke Breathed, the creator of "Bloom County," talks about Watterson in the film, and shows a cartoon Watterson drew on a letter to him with a caricature depicting Breathed giving in to the merchandising machine.

When these comics were both being published in their original runs, I was a bigger fan of "Bloom County," because it seemed edgy to me. What the documentary explained, that I didn't realize at the time, is that Watterson was the real revolutionary because he never allowed his work to be merchandised in the form of toys, lunchboxes or anything else. Watterson wanted the strip to stand on its own merits, for all time. That stance appears to have gained "Calvin & Hobbes" a deep and abiding appreciation from fans to this day.