The Most Legendary Cartoonist Alive Briefly Came Out Of Retirement And No One Even Noticed

Even if they have never read it, most people in America have heard of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip series.

Launched in the mid-80s, the strip was at its height published in more than 2,400 newspapers, reaching an audience of hundreds of millions. As of 2010, sales of Calvin and Hobbes books had neared 45 million.

But its creator, Bill Watterson, as is as mysterious as his comic strip is popular. The only known photo of him was taken nearly 30 years ago. According to lore, he wouldn’t even take a phone call from Steven Spielberg. He abruptly retired in 1995, and according to Stephan Pastis, creator of the “Pearls Before Swine” strip, not even other cartoonists interact with him.

But in a new post on his blog, Pastis reveals he’s gotten the one-up on his colleagues: Watterson, it turns out, was the author of the three recent “Pearls” strips.

Let me tell you. Just getting an email from Bill Watterson is one of the most mind-blowing, surreal experiences I have ever had. Bill Watterson really exists? And he sends email? And he’s communicating with me?

But he was. And he had a great sense of humour about the strip I had done, and was very funny, and oh yeah….

…He had a comic strip idea he wanted to run by me.

To strips would focus on a little girl, “Libby” (“Lib” is close to “Bill” backwards), who wants to take over the strip from Pastis’ “Pearls” avatar because she thinks his work isn’t good enough. You can see the results here, here, and here.

“Pearls” appears in 650 papers nationwide.

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