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All I know for sure is it's not the guy that draws Ziggy.
June 5, 2014 12:58 PM   Subscribe


 
I've been following this with great interest. If it isn't you-know-who it's certainly someone who has studied him extensively. But really, my money's on you-know-who.
posted by tommasz at 1:01 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


!! I thought today's art was a purposeful homage, but it never occurred to me that it might actually be Watterson!
posted by skycrashesdown at 1:02 PM on June 5 [7 favorites]


!!! That would be cool.
posted by zarq at 1:02 PM on June 5


"I could do better if I had more space."

I think it is you-know-who.
posted by curuinor at 1:03 PM on June 5 [33 favorites]


OHMYGOD
posted by redsparkler at 1:04 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


Pearls Before Swine is my favorite after Monty (nee Robotman).
posted by josher71 at 1:05 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


That Martian panel has gotta be you-know-who. The other panel that Ben Towle was iffy on is also definitely you-know-who, based on my totally scientific recollection of what Moe's mixed-case dialog panels were like in you-know-what.

you know?
posted by infinitewindow at 1:05 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


I don't think its him.

firstly because I can't see PbS being remotely high on a list of all the strips to come out of retirement for.

secondly, I just don't think the shoes look right. Too solid.
posted by rebent at 1:06 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


There's got to be a fun story behind this, so looking forward to the reveal.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:08 PM on June 5


Guesting for Pearls Before Swine makes no sense.

But if it is him, woah. That's surreal.
posted by postcommunism at 1:08 PM on June 5


I mean, it's been 19 years, the shoes might have changed. Splashes, I think, is the true signature, and spaceships: and the spaceships are right. Let's look for ultrarealistic dinosaurs.
posted by curuinor at 1:09 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Rat's look in the second panel of Thursday's strip is verrrry Wattersonian
posted by edgeways at 1:09 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


rebent: firstly because I can't see PbS being remotely high on a list of all the strips to come out of retirement for.

Yeah, unless there is some behind the scenes personal connection, I'm inclined to agree with this.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:10 PM on June 5


Guesting for Pearls Before Swine makes no sense.

Can you explain more?
posted by josher71 at 1:10 PM on June 5


HEAVY ONSET OF AMAZEMENT ONSETTING.
posted by I-baLL at 1:10 PM on June 5


I'm sure it's all for a Very Good Reason, which will soon be revealed. In the meantime, it's either Watterson, or it's very deliberately intended to imply that it's Watterson. Those hints are way too relevant.
posted by redsparkler at 1:12 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


oh please oh please oh please
posted by a fair but frozen maid at 1:13 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Wow! He has been doing some charitable-auction stype stuff in recent times, maybe this is a way to make some strips that can bring in bucks for some good cause if they're auctioned off?
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:14 PM on June 5


Supposing it is... if I had to guess, I'd say they got to know each other through Richard Thompson, the guy who used to draw Cul de Sac. When he developed Parkinsons, several cartoonists (including Watterson and Pastis) joined the "Team Cul de Sac" effort to raise money for research, which led to Watterson's first public art in years (previously).
posted by rouftop at 1:14 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


> Can you explain more?

Same as what rebent said. It's not a really distinctive strip, far as I figure, and just an odd choice.
posted by postcommunism at 1:14 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Same as what rebent said. It's not a really distinctive or outstanding strip, far as I figure, and just an odd choice.

Ah. I disagree totally and think it's the best strip around. It makes perfect sense to me. Tomato/Tomahto, I suppose.
posted by josher71 at 1:15 PM on June 5 [9 favorites]


The case might be made that it's the strip with the largest gap between how funny it is and how good the art is, because the art isn't good, but it is quite funny.
posted by curuinor at 1:16 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


I'm not one for irrational exuberance, but Watterson did the poster art for the documentary Stripped, which Pastis is also involved in, so there's a connection there.

More than anything, I just want Bill Watterson to be happy.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:17 PM on June 5 [31 favorites]


The case might be made that it's the strip with the largest gap between how funny it is and how good the art is

I would have said XKCD.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:18 PM on June 5 [18 favorites]


I know Stephan Pastis was in the Bill Watterson documentary and if I wasn't so exhausted I'd have a better memory of what he said about Watterson, but ultimately,

\o/
posted by Sophie1 at 1:18 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Pastis is also by far the most aggressively meta dude on the newspaper comics page at this point; PbS may not be particularly ambitious aesthetically, but it has been more about the comics page and self-awareness than anything else in that sector. References, cameos, staged spats, riffs on the comics-reading community, etc.

I don't know any details, but it would not remotely surprise me if Pastis and Watterson are on good terms and Watterson likes the cut of Pastis' metamedia jib enough to just say what the hell, let's fuck with people a bit.
posted by cortex at 1:20 PM on June 5 [21 favorites]


> I disagree totally and think it's the best strip around.

tbh it's not super on my radar; I mostly know it as the strip with the funny-voiced crocodiles. If Watterson's really doing the art now I'll have to take a second look.
posted by postcommunism at 1:20 PM on June 5


`libby` is `Bill` backwards.

bill --> llib --> libby
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 1:21 PM on June 5 [33 favorites]


Pearls Before Swine ranks a bit lower on my personal comic list than Cul De Sac, Frazz, Get Fuzzy, and Bizarro, but it still ranks. And to be fair, the Watterson style ends up being a way better juxtaposition to PBS than it would be on any of the other strips (Frazz in particular.).
posted by redsparkler at 1:21 PM on June 5


and they trembled before her fury: "`libby` is `Bill` backwards."

28 IF, baby, 28 IF
posted by chavenet at 1:23 PM on June 5 [10 favorites]


BEST CONSPIRACY THEORY EVER
posted by redsparkler at 1:27 PM on June 5


`libby` is `Bill` backwards.

bill --> llib --> libby


...and an anagram for "Bill Watterson" is "A bets Win Troll."
I think it's clear what's happening here. Study it out, people!
posted by Floydd at 1:28 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


If it's not Watterson it's somebody who's very deliberately pretending to be Watterson. Which would be nigh unto a capital crime in the cartooning world.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:28 PM on June 5


Somebody who hasn't drawn a comic strip in 19 years?

Oooh, ooh is it Jim Davis?
posted by entropicamericana at 1:29 PM on June 5 [96 favorites]


I think it is you-know-who.

Voldemort?
posted by kjs3 at 1:30 PM on June 5 [23 favorites]


If it's not Watterson it's somebody who's very deliberately pretending to be Watterson. Which would be nigh unto a capital crime in the cartooning world.
KILL HIM ANYWAY!

[30 seconds later]
...oh god what have we done?
posted by Ryvar at 1:30 PM on June 5


"No, we'll always be a talking head strip."

=>

from The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book:

I most often use it [Calvin's wagon] when Calvin gets longwinded or philosophical. I think the action leads a silly counterpoint to the text, and it's a lot more interesting to draw than talking heads.

"So do you think the kind of stuff we talk about will change now that we have a real artist?"

=>

One recurring theme of Watterson's thought was the differentiation between "high" and "low" art: it remains on his radar even in the Richard Thompson interview.
posted by curuinor at 1:31 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


Ehh, "talking heads" is a pretty widely-used phrase, I don't think that by itself is much of an indicator.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:36 PM on June 5


Pastis has certainly done art from other comic strips in Pearls Before Swine before. Here are a bunch of Family Circii swapped strip/art with Darby Conley's Get Fuzzy. Scroll down about 2/3 here to see several more.

He really likes Scott Adams.
posted by maryr at 1:36 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


Huh, I hadn't noticed this and I read the comics page every morning.
Guess my 'skip the bad comics' reading pattern is on complete autopilot now.

(Lucky it wasn't a gorilla...)
posted by madajb at 1:36 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Oh! Lookie here. Hm. It's all Rat's idea.
posted by maryr at 1:36 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


Poor Hobbes.
posted by maryr at 1:38 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


Kalvinology
posted by blue_beetle at 1:38 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Context: Libby lives across the street from Mr. Patis, and is looking to interview a cartoonist. (To which Mr. Patis says, "Sure, Libby. Happy to help." Her reply: "Great. Do you know a cartoonist?") And it goes on from there, with the next strip opening with the heading text "Stephen gets owned by the second-grader across the street, which leads to Stephen handing the strip over to Libby.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:39 PM on June 5


...I have fallen down a Pastis GIS rabbit hole.

Send help. Or maybe just snacks.
posted by maryr at 1:39 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Doesn't look like Watterson to me. Looks like a half-decent imitation, but the figures don't look as alive and expressive, and many details look off, and more two-dimensional than Watterson would typically draw them.
posted by martinrebas at 1:41 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


My money's also on "homage" as Watterson's style is the recognized Platonic ideal.
posted by whuppy at 1:46 PM on June 5


We're overthinking this.

Clearly this is being drawn by Zombie Charles Schulz.
posted by delfin at 1:47 PM on June 5 [6 favorites]


I played "let me see if I can guess" before clicking through... and I won! Hooray!
posted by infini at 1:49 PM on June 5


Seriously, I think Pastis would get on well here.
posted by maryr at 1:50 PM on June 5 [6 favorites]


I suspect people have mythologized Watterson a bit.
Yes absolutely he could draw the hell out of a comic, but not every comic he drew was a work of sublime genus, and he could also draw a wide variety of styles. Is this Watterson drawing the panel/s? I don't know. But as much as I dearly loved C&H lets not pretend that he was more than he was.
I woudn't be shocked if it was Watterson, nor would I be if it was a number of people each taking a crack at it.
posted by edgeways at 1:52 PM on June 5 [5 favorites]


I'd bet cash money on it being Watterson.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:54 PM on June 5


Some comic artists are surprisingly adept at mimicking the styles of other cartoonists. Not all of those work for MAD magazine.
posted by Flexagon at 1:54 PM on June 5


My money is on it being a host of different retired artists. The second link is certainly Watterson, the other looks to be entirely different.
posted by mediocre at 1:57 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


> bill --> llib --> libby

Orange-haired Calvin is six years old. Orange-haired Libby is in second grade. As much a clue as non-clue, but the precocious-little-kid-pwns-the-adults motif would definitely indicate a trend towards something.

And, yeah, Pastis and Watterson probably know each other. At farthest remove they're a phone call away from each other, since Richard Thompson (who's also brilliant) is apparently friends with both, what I inferred from this interview.

I also like the idea of the middle panel in each strip being drawn by different artists. Maybe they have fun riffing off each other's styles.
posted by ardgedee at 1:59 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


The hat on the ground in Wednesday's looks pretty distinctive. I'm just not sure what it is distinctive of.

Also, what mediocre just said.
posted by ckape at 2:00 PM on June 5


As for how Watterson-ish the drawings are... shit, it's been almost two decades since he last drew a Calvin & Hobbes strip. His own drawing style has likely drifted since then. I'd bet if he rebooted C&H it wouldn't look like it did, either.
posted by ardgedee at 2:02 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Calvin had blond hair.
posted by drezdn at 2:03 PM on June 5


> Calvin had blond hair.

I thought it was blonde too and sometimes it is, but it seems to depend on which Sunday strip you're looking at.
posted by ardgedee at 2:04 PM on June 5


In a recent interview, Watterson said Pearls Before Swine was one of his favorite current strips. So I wouldn't be surprised if it really was him.
posted by zsazsa at 2:11 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


The only thing that could be better than it being Bill Watterson would be it being Richard Thompson pretending to be Watterson as a way of announcing to the world that his Parkinson's surgery was so much of a success that he's coming back to cartooning. And right above that on the awesomeness latter would be news that all the Republicans have realized they've always been wrong about everything ever and promising to fix whatever they broke.
posted by JHarris at 2:12 PM on June 5 [23 favorites]


(Because, any of you who've never seen Cul De Sac really really needs to see Cul De Sac.)
posted by JHarris at 2:14 PM on June 5 [8 favorites]


I suspect people have mythologized Watterson a bit.
Well, trying my hardest to be objective, I have to agree, so bring on the most devastating criticism you've got:
not every comic he drew was a work of sublime genus
Harsh, but fair.
posted by roystgnr at 2:15 PM on June 5 [31 favorites]


And the strip would be renamed to Pearls before Swine that fly
posted by wheelieman at 2:16 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


roystgnr: heh
posted by edgeways at 2:16 PM on June 5


Oops, scratch that. In the interview I posted above, it was Cul de Sac's creator Richard Thompson, not Watterson, who said Pearls Before Swine was a favorite. But I swear I read something a while ago saying that Watterson considered it a favorite as well. I'll keep digging.
posted by zsazsa at 2:27 PM on June 5


I don't really think it's him. It doesn't have his hand, unless he finally switched to a digital tablet or vector art program, which if I'm recalling correctly he was almost religiously if not fanatically against digital illustration.

It just doesn't look like his work. It just doesn't have the same motion and life. It does look like someone's take on his hand and style, but I really don't feel that it is his.

I could be wrong, and it could be Watterson masking his own style, but it's well known that he's incredibly good at aping and imitating other cartoonist's styles. For pete's sake he could pull off Schulz and Trudeau well enough to pass.
posted by loquacious at 2:32 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


It's gotta be him, mainly going off of just the lettering. Besides, imitating Watterson so obviously would risk pissing him off, which I think a syndicated cartoonist would have to be crazy to do.

As for why PBS, he's probably a fan of the snarky humor (which I enjoyed at first but got weary of over time).
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:33 PM on June 5


By the token of similarity, the first one looks a bit Berke Breathed to me. Maybe they're both guesting!
posted by rhizome at 2:35 PM on June 5


I could be totally wrong about it not being him, though, but, but my gut says no.
posted by loquacious at 2:36 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Bill Watterson is a pretty cool get, but Bil Keane would be way more impressive.
posted by Anoplura at 2:40 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


edgeways: I woudn't be shocked if it was Watterson, nor would I be if it was a number of people each taking a crack at it.

What the hell sort of fervid bean-platey threads could we have if everyone on Metafilter started taking that sort of reasonable tone?? C'mon, man, think before you post! Sheesh...
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:49 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Is this somehow related to Steve Perry coming out of retirement to sing with the Eels?
posted by lagomorphius at 2:52 PM on June 5 [6 favorites]


By the token of similarity, the first one looks a bit Berke Breathed to me. Maybe they're both guesting!

They were friends back when Bloom County and C&H were both ongoing concerns. I could see the joke being "that's right it was legendary cartoonist...BERKE BREATHED!" That way you could do the implied Watterson thing without pissing him off.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:08 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


CHARLES SCHULTZ ZOMBIE WANTS BRAINS
posted by NedKoppel at 3:12 PM on June 5


Lucy keeps pulling the brains away at the last second.
posted by ckape at 3:17 PM on June 5 [25 favorites]


What the hell sort of fervid bean-platey threads could we have if everyone on Metafilter started taking that sort of reasonable tone?? C'mon, man, think before you post! Sheesh...

hmmm .... ok.


THIS IS WATTERSON!11!!! HOW THE EVERLASTING HOLY HELL DOES NOT EVERYONE SEE THAT? IT'S AS PLAIN AS OBAMA IS A MUSUM11!!

**CUTS OFF HAND**

better?
posted by edgeways at 3:19 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


Nope, I think this demands a MeTa callout. ...Ehh, maybe I'll wait until we find out who the guest cartoonist(s) is/are.

Cutting off your hand was a nice touch, though.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:06 PM on June 5


"I could do better if I had more space."

I think it is you-know-who.


Yea, I dare you to read that and not hear Hobbes voice in your head.
posted by echocollate at 4:39 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Haven't there been multiple homages over the years in Pearls? I think this is a really good homage with nods to certain things that those in the know would certainly get.

I would love to be wrong, though.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:50 PM on June 5


Is there an established way of showing respect for Bill Watterson? Something like saying "Captain" if you ever meet Nathan Fillion?

Respecting his privacy, I suppose. I'm not sure he'd want to read this thread. He seems to be an intensely private man, and if what he wants from me is peace, quiet and distance I feel I owe him that.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:08 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


Pearls can be funny, but I felt a meanness at its core that eventually drove me away.

I wish Watterson were doing a guest spot in a still-running Cul De Sac, but you don't always get what you want.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:16 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


But you get what you need.

Which is apparently Dagwood. Sigh.
posted by maryr at 6:08 PM on June 5


On the OTHER hand, many cartoonists who began not entirely sure of which end of the brush to hold onto woke up one morning and discovered they could now actually draw as well as they could think.

Breathed, Trudeau, Larson and, yes, Watterson all fill that bill. It may be as simple as Pastis suddenly "getting it."
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:39 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


More than anything, I just want Bill Watterson to be happy.

I want him to be as happy as he made me during the crappiest of times.
Bill Watterson inspired, delighted and gave inspiration in an often gray world.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 6:48 PM on June 5 [10 favorites]


It's the born-again chap who does B.C.
posted by Renoroc at 7:13 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure it's Watterson. If it's not-- if it's pastiche-- then it's the best goddam C&H pastiche I've ever seen, and I've seen every single one of those miserable Calvin-marries-Susie-and-Hobbes-is-simplified-in-concept DeviantArt atrocities there is.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:19 PM on June 5 [8 favorites]


I don't know... from what I've seen of Watterson's work, the main character is usually looking sly and pissing on something, such as the word "Ford" or "Chevy".
posted by Greg Nog at 7:49 PM on June 5 [29 favorites]


Well sure but I'm not talking about his gallery work
posted by shakespeherian at 7:59 PM on June 5 [15 favorites]


The spot-on exclamation points above Rat's head has me thinking it's gotta be Watterson.

This might even get me back into reading Pearls Before Swine regularly. I used to be an avid follower, but for the last couple of years every strip I've seen seems to be "hey look, a stupid pun! and now one of the characters is going to aim a 'why I oughta' at the in-strip Stephan Pastis character! Hilarious!"
posted by duffell at 8:17 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


We'll probably have more to go off of by week's end, but I still think it's him. In the first spot from Wednesday, there's nothing overt to suggest it might be him. If it were Pastis bringing in a guest artist to mimic Watterson, with his approval, you'd think there'd actually be more direct C&H references.

In the second, there's a few, with the (self-deprecating?) "more space" and "talking head" references, and the scene with spaceships/robots/explosions. More direct, but still not obvious to only casual fans.

Tomorrow, I dunno, a dinosaur? The details that stick out to me are the comic strips falling to the ground, and the cityscape. It all feels more like some rock god coming out of retirement to sing and play on a song with some other band at a concert, than some elaborate prank to get us comics nerds in a tizzy.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 8:26 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


hey look, a stupid pun!

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:42 PM on June 5 [5 favorites]


It's the born-again chap who does B.C.

Just FYI, Johnny Hart is deceased. The strip is now written by two of his grandsons.
posted by dhartung at 11:36 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Johnny Hart is deceased. The strip is now written by two of his grandsons.

And they have taken major steps away from grandpa's heavily religious approach. Even this year's Easter Sunday comic was far more low-key than the old B.C. would've been. Of course, we're still left with cavemen co-existing with dinosaurs... and talking animals, including ants.

Meanwhile, Pearls' Friday strip provides me few clues - I don't recall Watterson ever drawing a 'bikini babe' or 'buff dude', but the dude's bare feet look somewhat Wattersonian, and the calves... he even showed some calf definition on the flabby naked guy in the Stripped poster. But if I'm dissecting the style of cartoon thighs, then this is getting way too bean-platey.

Meanwhile, Patsis has said "we’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out."
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:38 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


One other thing (as I am scanning GoComics.com): in the clip-art based New Adventures of Queen Victoria, as King George is participating in a library's 'book cull' with a rifle and hunting cap, a sudden cameo appearance by Pearls' Rat. Related? Unlikely, but if Pab Sungenis is somehow involved, I will have to start bragging more about when I was blogging about comics and got to write an 'Afterword' for one of the NAoQV books ("The Real Housewives of Windsor" - I started with "What did we learn tonight?" blatantly stealing from Craig Ferguson).
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:54 AM on June 6


Well, that was certainly an unexpected turn. (Betty and Veronica?)

Still, it makes more sense for Watterson to do off-the-wall non-Calvin stuff in a guest spot, than Pastis bringing in a guy who not only learned to mimic Watterson's nuanced style (and handwriting), but to also extrapolate that into drawing things we'd never really seen him do (the cartoon animals, and certainly today's stuff).

Incidentally, I came across news from December about Leonardo Dicaprio and Warner Bros working on a Watterson biopic, from a completed spec scrip. Hopefully it's abandoned, but it seems odd that you'd admire him enough to make a Hollywood production about him, but not care about his wish for privacy, which he's so famous for. And it's not like we're talking about someone in the public eye, considering most people don't even know what he looks like.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:33 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


~Somebody who hasn't drawn a comic strip in 19 years?
~Oooh, ooh is it Jim Davis?


That would be closer to 29 years.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:17 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Just wait until it turns out to be Jack Elrod.
posted by drezdn at 4:47 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


That lettering. I can't imagine anybody good enough to mimic Watterson's lettering that precisely. Practically gave me flashbacks, that Friday strip did.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:05 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


What if it was Jack Chick?
posted by josher71 at 7:59 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


I'm focusing on the line weight and the swirls, as well as the little mechanical details (the lower part of the chair, the legs of the board). It's as if he's trying to suppress his style with the big things but there are little things here and there that betray him.

Though, come to think of it, I believe he did C&H with a brush, and these seem like done with a nib pen. Maybe that's why the style doesn't look quiiite the same?
posted by infinitelives at 9:06 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I dunno, the Friday strip made me think more of Berke Breathed.
posted by ardgedee at 2:57 PM on June 6


it's the guy who does brewster rockit
posted by infinitewindow at 8:00 PM on June 6


Confirmed!!! And it was Watterson's idea!
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:58 PM on June 6 [28 favorites]


Ho-lee SHIT!!!!! That's great!
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:26 PM on June 6


I'll be damned. I was like 80% sure it wasn't him.
posted by COBRA! at 9:32 PM on June 6


Never meet your heroes... except of course when you write them an email and they respond in a way you'd never imagine and do something awesome with you. Then you should.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:38 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


That is just damned awesome.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:49 PM on June 6


WaPo has more.
posted by rouftop at 9:52 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


This is another step in his slow, gradual re-emergence, which began with his painting of a "Cul De Sac" character for the Richard Thompson/Parkinsons Disease charity collection of cartoonists in 2011. And "Team Cul De Sac" has just announced that his three "Pearls" collaborations will be auctioned off, again to benefit the Michael J. Fox Parkinsons Foundation.

Now, Bill Watterson's and Richard Thompson's art are being featured in a joint show at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University through August 3rd... and the likelihood of Watterson making a public appearance there before the show closes just keeps going up...
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:05 PM on June 6


Best quote: "I feel like a street urchin telling Michelangelo that David’s hands are too big."
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:11 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


Watterson was my biggest hero growing up, and I'm not sure I'd wanna meet him, knowing how he doesn't suffer fools gladly. I wonder how much sleep Pastis got during that collaboration... It's not like he merely walked on the moon; he's Neil Armstrong.

And I wonder if this has scratched an itch for Watterson, and he'll go relatively dormant again for a while. Seems like standalone books, like Larson did, would be a perfect medium for him. No artistic restraints, no deadlines.

And what I wouldn't give to see that Martian robot invasion in (2D) animated form.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:16 PM on June 6




Hah, from the comments:

Just got to re-open old wounds don’t you, Pastis.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:33 PM on June 6


Please come back to us Bill Watterson. Planet Earth needs you now more than ever. Mutts is not enough.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:02 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


loquacious: "I don't really think it's him. It doesn't have his hand ... It just doesn't look like his work. It just doesn't have the same motion and life."

Oops! Back to the classics: go read the whole C&H collection in penance! Not that that's a punishment or nothin', but ...
posted by barnacles at 2:01 AM on June 7


Now I wonder about this illustration that I saw on mlkshk recently...
posted by infini at 3:03 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


PS. That story about how this whole thing happened was really very well done. I'm glad this thread exists and that link was shared.
posted by infini at 3:03 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


> I named her “Libby,” which I then shorted to “Lib.” (Hint, hint: It’s almost “Bill” backwards.)

and they trembled before her fury called it.
posted by ardgedee at 3:06 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


So it really was him. Bill Watterson poked his head out just to say, "Hey, guys. I'm doing all right." That makes me very glad.

And while I was skeptical, the biggest clue was Libby's line about "if I had more space." To anyone familiar with Watterson's battles with the syndicates, that was a bright, shining arrow pointing in only one direction.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:25 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Not really, other newspaper comics have complained about shrinking space too. Doonesbury and Bloom County addressed it directly and I vaguely recall even Peanuts had alluded to it.
posted by ardgedee at 3:53 AM on June 7


I actually choked up a little at that last strip. Fantastic. Like a little wave hello from across a crowd, from an old, dear friend you haven't heard from in years.
posted by zarq at 4:14 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Bloom County and Outland also incorporated many, many of B. Breathed's complaints about the shrinking of the funny pages over the years.
posted by zarq at 4:15 AM on June 7




That was great fun, but I think if (like me) you nursed a faint hope that this meant Watterson was considering a return to the comics, the today's strip pretty much closes the door on that. At least that's how I read it.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:50 AM on June 7


Stephen Pastis was in Baltimore last night and asked for bar recommendations on facebook. I enthusiastically told him to come to the bar I work at, but no dice.
posted by josher71 at 6:54 AM on June 7


This is the third time Watterson has released new art in the last year or two, after seventeen years of no public output at all. If he's becoming more amenable to any sort of arrangement where he draws things and I get to look at them, I don't care that much about whether they're in comic form as such.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:09 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


If it's a hoax perpetrated by Stephan Patsis, its rather brilliant. Bill Watterson has made it abundantly clear that he values his privacy above all else and seems to favor the quiet life. If it is Pastis or a collaborator imitating the style, Watterson would have to come out in public to denounce it. Either way Pastis wins: getting more eyeballs on the strip or drawing the retired master out into the open.
posted by dr_dank at 9:54 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Dr. Dank, that's a dementedly brilliant conspiracy theory.

Perhaps you can help them all out by registering a twitter handle like "realBillWatterson" and denying everything...
posted by Mad_Carew at 10:06 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


So I wrote back to Bill.

“Dear Bill,

I will do whatever you want, including setting my hair on fire.”


Sounds about right.
posted by scalefree at 10:12 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


The WaPo article seems to be based on a face-to-face interview, (un)fortunately. The writer even describes his current beard.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:44 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


> If it's a hoax perpetrated by Stephan Patsis, its rather brilliant.

Unlikely to be a hoax since one of the goals of this cameo was to have new original Bill Watterson artwork for the charity auction for the Team Cul de Sac fundraiser that Watterson already publicly supports. This would also be why, as Patsis recounts, it involved shipping the actual art boards of the comic back and forth rather than building a finished product out of scans of each of their contributions. Auction winners would have a good cause of accusing fraud if it turned out Pastis faked some artwork that sold in the high thousands.

I don't think Watterson himself meant to be calculating about it in this way, but doing guest panels like this brings a lot more worthy hype to the charity auction than simply contributing a painting would, since there's an added half-week's worth of public attention whipped up by the guessing game about the comics.
posted by ardgedee at 11:24 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


MeTa
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:56 PM on June 7


What if it was Jack Chick?
CALVIN! Get in here right this minute, young man! And leave that talking tiger doll demon outside!
posted by Flunkie at 1:08 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Cool.
posted by homunculus at 2:03 PM on June 7


From the Pearls Before Swine creator's blog: Bill Watterson really exists? And he sends email? And he’s communicating with me?
posted by 256 at 3:06 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]




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