The regular Bill Watterson interview slot (next one due 2030) ……. and Watchmen 2????

Published On February 6, 2010 | By Richard Bruton | Comics

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Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes, and famous recluse, breaks a 20 year silence with an interview for the  Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“By the end of 10 years, I’d said pretty much everything I had come there to say. It’s always better to leave the party early. 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.

I think some of the reason “Calvin and Hobbes” still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it. I’ve never regretted stopping when I did.”

Yes, completely agree with that. There’s a continued magic in Calvin And Hobbes that passes through the generations of the Bruton family. I’ve passed it to Molly, I hope she’ll pass it on to her children in time. There’s so little Calvin & Hobbes to read. And it’s magical.

However, there are members of the comic community who don’t seem to share that feeling. DC Comics Dan Didio for one.

Rich Johnson ran the Watchmen 2 story this week, pointing out that it’s one of Dan Didio’s pet projects to get more comic product out of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. For years Paul Levitz saw to it personally that Watchmen was allowed to stand alone and untouched, even after Moore had his big falling out with both DC and Levitz.

But Paul Levitz isn’t with DC anymore and, according to Rich, this means there’s the possibility of more Watchmen – sequels, prequels, Watch-babies, crossovers with Green Lantern (and consequently the possibility to make more crappy plastic rings to go with another DC Comic). The possibilities are endless.

Still, let’s not forget that just because Rich says it’s a possibility doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. And, like so many have said, the only good result from it will be many more incredibly entertaining interviews with Alan Moore where he stays just shy of exploding with contempt for his former employers.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

4 Responses to The regular Bill Watterson interview slot (next one due 2030) ……. and Watchmen 2????

  1. Kenny says:

    I pretty much disagree with both of the consensus opinions here. I have no problem with Watterson giving up his strip – totally up to him, but let’s not fool ourselves that it in fact did make way for livelier and fresher talent. With the possible exception of McGruder for a while and perhaps Thompson today we simply didn’t get that – or in fact even close. Even uninspired C&H would likely outshine most anything being produced now and may have allowed a little longer legs for a medium slipping away. Likewise with Watchmen I’m not sure i see it as any more a bible than Stan and Steve’s first 38 Spidey’s, Kirby’s New World’s, Franquin’s Spirou etc. All have had other authors come to the material and produce some excellent work. Personally I’d have no problem Neil Gaiman taking us through the fantasies in Rorschach’s head or Ellis or Ennis take us through The Comedians Life or Jim Starlin or Steve Engelhart exploring Dr. Manhatten. Sometimes we suscribe to a feeling that is protective when there isn’t any need to – it’s fear and nostalgia. For every Godfather 3 there is probably a Godfather 2.

  2. Richard says:

    With the first point – I don’t read it that way at all. I don’t think he actually makes the point anywhere that his retirement has resulted in fresher talent coming through, merely that if he hadn’t have retired then we’d be complaining that he was stale and lacking originality.

    As for the Watchmen thing I disagree, although I do realise this one’s more opinion, and each to their own. Personally I like my stories with a beginning, middle and end and part of the appeal of Watchmen is that it’s all there, everything that was ever needed, within the pages of the one book. I don’t believe stories like this need diluting with prequels, sequels and the rest. It’s not fear or nostalgia, just a feeling that it would be pointless.

  3. Joe says:

    Regarding possible Watchmen sequels or prequels or right angle to reality whatever they want to call it, I’m not convinced its a good idea. Even when the original creators do it the results can be disappointing – look at Miller’s Dark Knight sequel. And it isn’t going to be both original creators in this case, is it? This doesn’t mean that someone else who is very talented and understanding of the work couldn’t do something interesting though, as Kenny points out maybe someone like Gaiman, although given his long friendship with Neil I couldn’t see him agreeing to do that, plus basically DC can’t match the advances he gets from publishers for his novels or studios for screen work, so its doubly unlikely.

    I agree with Richard that the original is perfectly balanced in terms of being self contained with proper beginning, middle and end and to be honest I don’t think you can properly compare it against Spider-Man: Watchmen was a single tale, Spider-Man is open ended and continually ongoing; in story telling structure it has more in common with the soap opera open ended narrative in that respect, designed to continually change to new characters and creators for as long as it has legs. That’s the normal mode for many mainstream comics works, especially superhero titles and there’s nothing wrong with it, it keeps beloved characters with us and allows them to be refreshed regularly. But the fact that is the normal mode of production means the occassional mainstream self contained work seems all the more special.

    Part of me would like to see a few more tales spun from that one-off world but another thinks it simply wouldn’t be the same and would largely be a money making franchise to milk (although as a retailer I think of the sales potential and that’s not something to sneeze at). I don’t think it would dilute the original though – Alan is fond of referring to the Chandler when asked if film versions ruin his original, he points to the books on his shelves and explains they are still there, still the same, anything that comes after by someone else is its own thing and doesn’t affect the original book.

  4. Further Watchmen comics would be a really bad idea. However, I’ve a bad feeling that it’s actually going to happen.