calvin and hobbes comic strip

Calvin & Hobbes is one of the most beloved comics of all time.
Image: Keith Rowley via Flickr CC

It’s been nearly two decades since Bill Watterson, the legendary creator of Calvin & Hobbes, has released any public artwork. That all changed however when the reclusive artist came out of his supposed retirement to create the poster art for a new documentary called STRIPPED. A self-described “love letter to comic strips,” STRIPPED is a film that explores the relationship that world-renowned illustrators have with their work as comic strips continue to disappear from newspapers.

bill watterson new illustration

Bill Watterson’s newest public illustration.

In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Watterson explained that he thought STRIPPED creator Dave Kellett’s idea for him to create the film’s artwork sounded fun and unexpected. The latter is certainly true, as the public had all but stopped hoping that the illustrator would eventually get back to drawing.

Explains Watterson, “Dave sent me a rough cut of the film and I dusted the cobwebs off my ink bottle. […] Given the movie’s title and the fact that there are few things funnier than human nudity, the idea popped into my head largely intact,” of the cartoon that he created for STRIPPED. “The film is a big valentine to comics, so I tried to do something really cartoon-y. I had thought of having it colored with off-registered printing dots like newspaper comics, but Dave asked if I’d paint it instead, and I think he made the right call.”

STRIPPED contains more than seventy interviews featuring the world’s best comics who talk about their art, and what will happen to comics as newspapers become a thing of the past. If there was ever a reason to come out of retirement, creating the artwork for a massive initiative to bring together the best cartoonists in the world is surely it. The Washington Post calls Bill Watterson’s newest cartoon “an adult springing to full-color life in all his dorsal nudity.” Fans of the beloved illustrator call it a welcome return to the world of comics.

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Featured Image: PC – My Shots@Photography  via Flickr CC