What's up with Bill "Calvin and Hobbes" Watterson these days?

Does anyone know what Bill Watterson, the creator of the great comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes”, has been doing since the strip ended several years ago? Is he retired? “C&H” was not a heavily merchandised comic strip, so could he be living off the money made drawing the strip and the book royalties? Are there any new projects in the works?


Thanks for the link, toadspittle. It’s funny, I thought of this while straightening out a bookshelf yesterday, and I didn’t think to search for the question before asking. Who knew someone would have the same question so recently? Maybe Mr. Watterson should take note.

Sounds like he’s living comfortably post-Calvin. Still, I doubt he was earning “Peanuts” or “Garfield” type income during his strip’s run. What do syndicated cartoonists earn for their work?

Not only was C&H not heavily merchandised, it was not even lightly merchandised. Watterson refused to do it. Some of his speeches talked about this, but the best description (IMHO) of his anti-merchandising rationale is in the C&H 10th anniversary book. It’s the only C&H book containing any verbiage directly from Watterson (other than “To Melissa”).

Uh, all the verbiage in all the books is directly from Watterson -

Oh. Ok. I understand.

My good friend has not one, but two signed Bill Waterson prints. A frameable quality reproduction of his last Sunday strip “Let’s go exploring!” and a repro of one of his watercolors. They’re amazing. As a cartoonist myself, these are holy grail-ish in nature.

Interesting note: I’m told at Universal Press, who used to syndicate the strip, there is a hallway featuring wall sized photographs of the leading artists of thier most popular strips. Most are typical glamour shots.

Watterson, being the very private person he is, opted to draw his self portrait. The drawing is of him recoiling from the viewer, covering his face as seen in countless photos of celebrities fleeing the camera.

Supposedly the company I work for once sent Watterson a plush doll of Hobbes, trying to solicit his business. Legend has it that the doll was returned, head removed, without so much as a note.

As to his income, he was/is doing very, very well.
Was he making Peanuts/ Garfield income? Probably not, due to his refusal to merchandise the characters.
But rest assured, with the vast syndication and enormous book sales, he is a millionaire many times over.

As much as I’d hate to disturb his solitude, I’d give my left arm for a chance to speak to him.

Bill Watterson, the JD Salinger of the comics world.

As would I. And I probably could if I pushed it - we were classmates as children, as were our parents. But I won’t do it, because it’s an intrusion I don’t wish to foist upon him.

I once had a weekly comic strip published, I did it for the sheer enjoyment and neither wanted or expected massive remuneration for my effort. A friend checked into what I could make if I ever went as far to get my strip syndicated and she told me that a syndicated cartoonist could make $400,000 / yr.

I quit drawing my strip after I moved back to Alberta from B.C. and have been pleasantly surprised to find people here who read my strip on a regular basis when they lived in B.C.
I would love to meet Mr. Watterson as Calvin and Hobbes was and is one of my all time favourite strips. Pure genius.

Since there’s already a discussion of this in another thread, and this one is turning into touchy-feely MPSIMS stuff (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I’m closing this one, so as to keep all of the discussion in the smae place.