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Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 10. März 2015


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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 160 Seiten
  • Verlag: Andrews McMeel Publishing (10. März 2015)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1449460364
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449460365
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 27,9 x 1,5 x 21,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 11.804 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

Mehr über den Autor

Der Autor und Zeichner Bill Watterson (eigentlich William B. Watterson II.) kam am 5. Juli 1958 in Washington D. C. zur Welt. Als er sechs Jahre alt geworden war verschlug es die Familie allerdings nach Ohio. Dort schloss Watterson 1980 erfolgreich sein Studium der Politikwissenschaften ab, verheirat ist er mittlerweile mit seiner Frau Melissa. Er lebt recht zurückgezogen, scheute stets die Öffentlichkeit und hasste es, im Mittelpunkt zu stehen oder als »Berühmtheit« angesehen zu werden. Seit Ende der 80er Jahre gibt der beliebte Künstler nun schon keine Interviews mehr. So ist auch nicht allzu viel über ihn selbst als Menschen bekannt:

Nur fünf Jahre nach seinem Studienabschluss veröffentlichte Watterson dann die Kultserie »Calvin und Hobbes«. Zehn Jahre lang zeichnete er die Abenteuer des kleinen Jungen und dessen Kuscheltiger, bis er am 31.12.1995 auf eigenen Willen hin den letzten Strip um den kleinen Chaoten und dessen Stofftiger veröffentlichte. Gegen Ende seiner Schaffenszeit wurde sein Comicstrip weltweit in mehr als 2.300 verschiedenen Zeitungen abgedruckt und die Verkäufe der einzelnen Sammelalben liegen heute bei rund 30 Millionen...

Als Bill Watterson in jungen Kindertagen seinen ersten Comic las stand für ihn bereits fest, dass er nichts anderes tun wollte. Bereits in der Highschool zeichnete er an seinen eigenen Werken, veröffentlichte sie später auch in der Studentenzeitung seines Colleges in Gambier. Nach einem sehr kurzlebigen Engagement als politischer Cartoonist bewarb sich Watterson schließlich mit seinen Eigenkreationen bei verschiedenen amerikanischen Pressesyndikaten – wurde jedoch wieder und wieder abgelehnt.

In einem seiner Strips hatte er damals Calvin und Hobbes als Nebenfiguren eingebaut: Calvin stellte den jüngeren Bruder des Hauptcharakters dar und Hobbes sein Lieblingsstofftier. Diese Nebenhandlung fand eines jener Syndikate wesentlich spannender als den eigentlichen Comic von damals und schlug vor, aus diesen beiden Figuren eine eigene Serie zu entwickeln. Ironischerweise lehnte jenes Syndikat »Calvin und Hobbes« später ab. »Universal Press Syndicate« dagegen schnappte sich den Strip –ein Glücksgriff, wie sich herausstellen sollte.

Der Erfolg ließ nicht sonderlich lange auf sich warten, heute zählt »Calvin und Hobbes« zu den berühmtesten Zeitungscomics weltweit. Doch trotz des umwerfenden Erfolgs lehnte Watterson es stets ab, dass Merchandise-Produkte seiner Figuren in Umlauf kamen. So wurden nie Tassen, T-Shirts, Bettwäsche oder ähnliche Produkte produziert, da der Zeichner der Meinung war, ein solches Angebot würde den Wert seiner eigentlichen Arbeit mindern.

Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"America's Most Profound Comic Strip" (Christopher Caldwell, The Wall Street Journal)

"Bill Watterson talks: This is why you must read the new ‘Exploring Calvin and Hobbes’ book ... For any true fan of cartooning, it is a must-read, a must-buy, a must-pick-up ...

"Bill Watterson has delivered a gift, a trip down memory lane that is populated densely on each side with personal and professional insights — some grippingly specific, some that ring universal, many that resonate as both." (Michael Cavna, The Washington Post)

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Bill Watterson is the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, one of the most popular and well-regarded cartoon strips of the twentieth century. Calvin and Hobbes appeared in newspapers from November 1985 until Watterson's retirement in 1995.

Online:

gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/

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Von Denis Vukosav TOP 1000 REZENSENT am 11. März 2015
Format: Taschenbuch
Bill Watterson, an US author of comic ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ became known not only because of his popular comic, but also because of way he stopped working on ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ – back in 1995 he sent a short letter to newspaper informing his fans that he felt he had achieved all he could in the comic medium.

Since then, Watterson was almost invisible to public; he avoided contact with media and fans, until finally a year ago he published his first cartoon after the abrupt end of ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ - a poster for the documentary Stripped. For this reason, the release of this book for me as a sincere fan of author’s work was very interesting and long-awaited day.

Basically, ‘Exploring Calvin and Hobbes’ is an exhibition catalogue, as it is written on front cover, in which on 160 pages are listed all the important information about the Watterson life and professional career - starting from those who influenced his work, overview of his early works, tools he used when producing his known comic, overview of his characters, overview of the ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ seasons, variations he used on a single theme or idea, and most importantly long and original interview Jenny Robb made with Watterson last year fans awaited for decades.

It would be insufficient to only say that this book should definitely be read and enjoyed, it is a highly interesting work that will be especially appreciated by the artists because of ideas that can be found inside, while techniques and explanations of the author will help all those who themselves want to go his way or simply want to learn about the background of his exceptional work of art.
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47 von 50 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Incredible Interview and Commentary by Watterson 12. März 2015
Von j douglas sanders - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
(originally posted at jdouglassanders.blogspot.com)

I have had Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue on preorder ever since I first heard about it.  It arrived on the release day, Tuesday, March 10 (thanks Amazon Prime!) and, of course, I read it immediately! It is a pretty quick read, but, for me anyway, this will be a book I will end up rereading and using more in the long run as reference and inspiration.

Let me just go ahead and say this:  If you even think you want this book or have the slightest interest in "Calvin and Hobbes" or the daily comic strip format whatsoever-  Stop reading this and buy the book right now.  It is that good and it is that important to comic strip history.

If you're still here, I'll outline what to expect from the book and one thing I wish the publisher had done.

The book

The book itself is printed on really nice, thick, glossy paper.  It is 152 pages long not including an 8 page preface.  The book retails for $19.99 but you can probably get it cheaper here at Amazon (I did).

The book is a little smaller than the landscape format treasuries.  It is the same width as the Sunday Pages book but not quite as tall.

The book is beautiful.  Artwork ornaments almost every page, even in the interview.  Some of the artwork is full color.  The majority is reprinted original artwork.  This original artwork is mostly black ink on paper.  If you look closely, you can make out penciling, correction, paste ups of copyright info strips, and other such "behind the scenes" things.  

Looking at Watterson's originals, I am reminded of Schulz's work where there's actually not a lot to see beyond the actual comic.  As Schulz, Watterson is a tremendous artistic talent in the daily strip field and there doesn't seem to be a lot of revealing correction or revision going on.  I think this is indicative of the amount of planning and writing both artists put in before ink every touched the comic board.  Still, the bits of process you can divine from these reproductions is fascinating.

The presentation of the material is as if you are there, touring the Watterson exhibit at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.  The text reads as a museum exhibit plaque might, describing the piece of artwork you are looking at on the page.  Having the book seems to be the next best thing to actually seeing the exhibit when it was on display at the museum.

The interview

Face it.  This is why you bought the book.  

You've read every Calvin and Hobbes strip a hundred times, own every treasury, the complete hardcover set, the complete soft cover set, the 10th anniversary book, the book devoted to the Sunday strips, and you've read every scrap of information you can find on the net about Watterson and his creation.

Ok, maybe that's just me.

But the interview is why you're getting the book.  Watterson speaks!

The rest of the book is great, but after the interview, it is bonus material. 

Anyway, in case you didn't know, the book starts with a wonderful interview between Jenny Robb and Bill Watterson that goes on until page 35.  It is a basic Q and A type setup with Watterson's artwork throughout.  Very nice.  

If you are a C&H completist or enthusiast, some of the information will be rehash-  Mr. Watterson's career path that led him to C&H, how the camping strips are based on real life experiences, Calvin's dad was based on Watterson's father, the way Watterson challenged (and changed) the Sunday strip format.  

But, even for the enthusiast, there is a lot of new information presented here.  Mr. Watterson comes across very well.  Not at all the bitter hermit his "reputation" might suggest.  He seems very down to earth and humble, almost to the point of being dismissive of his own talent.  

He describes a lot of the process that went into creating C&H. He describes how he juggled the unique demands of writing/drawing a daily comic strip, how he handled the balance of daily gags with longer story arcs, and one particular account of how he lost his lead on his deadline (and how he got it back).  I personally love Watterson's comments on anti-plot. Great information for those interested in creative process.

Toward the end, Watterson gives (hopefully) a definitive answer to why he ceased the strip and an optimistically (for me anyway) vague answer to whether he would consider doing another comic strip.  And, of course, you can't have any form of media featuring Bill Watterson without the obligatory discussion of merchandising.

Some of the most fascinating parts of the interview involve Watterson's discussion on his attitude toward the future of the daily comic strip format and what has happened during the fragmentation of our pop culture.  
During the technology portion of the interview, I also had a great mental image of Calvin's dad (as an analog for Bill Watterson) fumbling with an iPad while trying to read his online newspaper.  You'll know what I'm talking about when you read it!

After the interview, the remainder of the book is divided into chapters focusing on different topics.  The first 3 are a chronological look at the development of Watterson as an artist (Influences, Early Work, and Getting Syndicated).

Influences
In Influences, Bill Watterson describes influences on his comic work.  Each book page is devoted to an artist and has a sample piece of artwork from the artist, as well as commentary by Watterson.  Artists featured here start with the oft mentioned influences of Schulz, Kelly, and Herriman. But this group is also extended to include Alex Raymond, Trudeau, Berke Breathed, Oliphant, Borgman, and Ralph Steadman.

The influence artwork is presented in the same manner as Watterson's own:  Ink on paper original submissions.  

The strips are well represented, especially the Walt Kelly strip.  It is evident much of the Calvin/Hobbes dynamic was pioneered in Pogo.  In fact, replace Pogo and Albert with Calvin and Hobbes and you could almost keep the same dialogue, save the swamp-speak.  

That is to take nothing away from Watterson's work.  He refined the premise and took it to a sublime level of perfection.

It is also nice to see influences acknowledged by Watterson that go beyond his big 3 (Peanuts, Pogo, and Krazy Kat).    

Early Work
Influences is followed by Early Work.  A few political cartoons followed by a couple Watterson's early strip submissions to syndicates.  The last couple strips end up being about a sort of Proto-Calvin named Marvin, only with bangs covering his eyes.

The pieces are all here, its just time to get them into place.  You can see the teddy bear with the almost-Hobbes-face in a talking animal strip Watterson pitched.  There's little blond boy with a tiger named "Hobbes" in the next strip.  Marvin, our missing link to Calvin, battles Mrs. Wormwood in the next strip, complete with Spaceman Spiff-esque imaginings. 

It is as if all these ideas perfect stormed into a cohesive strip.  Maybe that's just part of the magic of Watterson's work.

Getting Submitted
Getting Syndicated is a page of the original C&H submission follow by a page of the first 3 C&H dailies. Even in the submission strips, you can see the Calvin we would all read for the next 10 years.  He may have a little different hairstyle, but it's him alright.  

This section is followed by a two page spread featuring the art supplies Watterson used drawing the strip.

Tools
I have to admit, I love to read about the tools artists use.  Whether it be drawing or photography or writing or whatever, I like to talk tools.  It is easy to fall back on the old cliche of "it is the artist, not the brush", but an artist's choice of tools can give precious insight into their process and their choice can drastically impact their final results.

One especially interesting piece is the mechanical pencil Watterson's father bought him as a child that was used to pencil all of the Calvin and Hobbes strips.  That is how far this book takes you into not just the world of C&H, but the creation of it as well.

The remainder of the book is a look at different facets of the strip, devoting a chapter to each topic.  The following is a quick overview.

Characters
If you've read Calvin and Hobbes, you know there's not a lot of characters to discuss.  It's basically Calvin, Hobbes, Calvin and Hobbes (the book lists them together as a character), Calvin's parents, and then the "supporting cast" (Susie, Rosalyn, Moe, and Mrs. Wormwood).  

This section illustrates the power of the simplified approach Watterson took to his strip.  While Peanuts is an excellent strip, one weakness often cited is the confusing, sometimes weak, sometimes redundant cast of characters.  Of course Schulz had 50 years of strips to fill, but Peanuts sometimes felt as if it lost its way the farther the strip strayed from Charlie Brown and the elder Van Pelts.  

Watterson had the same basic cast, give or take (Uncle Max?), for 10 years.  His material stands very strong to this day despite/because the limited array of characters Watterson employed.

Seasons
The seasons depicted in C&H may as well be another character.  Watterson made the change of seasons in Calvin's world and iconic touchstone of the strip.  The rainy freshness of spring, the unbridled release of summer, the leaves and school sessions of autumn, the snowmen and sled rides of winter-  it's all here.

Devices
This section covers recurring actions and motifs in Calvin's life.  The most obvious and well known is the first listed-  Attack of the Tiger.  (Hobbes pounced Calvin so regularly, in one strip the joke is Hobbes didn't.)  These vary from a simple one panel gag to a 16 panel slow motion reenactment.

Then 8 pages are devoted to Calvin's spacefaring alter ego, Spaceman Spiff.  Four full Sunday strips are featured.  Also, there is an examination of landscapes of the American Southwest and their influence on the vistas Watterson created for Spaceman Spiff.

Finally, a two page spread about dinosaurs gives the reader a look at Watterson's magnificent command of tyrannosaur anatomy.  I love how he can so realistically illustrate a dinosaur doing such absurd things.  Brilliant.

Storytelling
Calvin and Hobbes has many memorable story arcs.  Storytelling is one of many areas where C&H excelled.  Many of these arcs capture the wonder of childhood fantasy (the transmogrifier, the duplicator, time travel, the snow goons, etc.)  Many of my favorite arcs are the more serious and touching ones-  the baby racoon, when Calvin's home is broken into, the Calvinball game with Rosalyn, when Hobbes is lost.

It would be impossible to address even just a few of the most memorable ones in a book like this, so reprinted here are 11 dailies covering the transmogrifier story.  This gives a nice feel of how Watterson executed a storyline.  The transmogrifier is iconically Calvin, so this is a fitting representation for this chapter.

Social Commentary
Watterson was never afraid to address social issues with Calvin and Hobbes.  I must admit, I sometimes find Watterson's commentary a little preachy and heavy-handed-  not all of the time, but sometimes.  I don't dislike these types of strips by any means, but they can seem forced next to some of Watterson's more effortless work (see "The Meaning of Life" below).

  The strips reprinted here touch on the environment, animal treatment, talk radio, and television.  The interplay between Calvin's blind self absorption and Hobbes's dry clarity is classic.   I enjoy the parodied fanaticism Calvin has for his bizarre interests (i.e. Calvin's "Chewing" magazine) and Watterson's comments on advertising and consumerism, but those aren't included here.  This book is not meant to be a comprehensive collection, though, and the chosen strips give a nice look at how social biting the strip could be, all while keeping the cast in character.

The Meaning of Life
Calvin and Hobbes could be silly and playful but it could also be just as touching and profound.  These strips strike a chord and Watterson is truly in his element here. These strips are a huge part of what elevates the strip from a momentary diversion to fine art.

Color
This is a short chapter featuring Watterson's mastery of watercolors.  Beautiful reproductions, but I am sure these were incredible to see at the actual exhibit.

Sundays
The chapter devoted to Sunday strips is divided into two sections-  1985-1991 and 1992-1995.  Why?  During his 1991  sabbatical, Watterson proposed changes to the format of Sunday strips.  

The pre-1992 format called for strict formatting to allow editors the option of trimming the strip to their paper's needs.  This rendered the first row of Sunday panels to be basically "throwaway" panels.  Since not all papers printed the entire strip, the first row needed to be an independent gag.  
Instead of being able to use the larger Sunday format to its maximum potential, Watterson felt the art and storytelling was compromised by this set of business decisions. 

Watterson flourished in the freedom of this new format. The difference is amazing as you compare the old format and new format Sundays with the flip of a page.

The One Thing I Wish the Publisher Had Done
MAKE THE BOOK BIGGER.  

I understand Exploring is not meant to be the definitive version of Calvin and Hobbes for casual reading.  However, it would be my preference for original art to be reproduced at actual size (think IDW's Artist's Editions).  So, I wish they had made this book larger.  That way, it would be much closer to mirroring the experience of actually being at the exhibit.

Or, better yet, release two versions.  The smaller paperback version we have now and a huge $200-$250 edition with the artwork reprinted at ACTUAL SIZE.  It is at actual size you can really see artifacts of the artist's process.  Think of how invaluable that would be.  Most people will never own an original Watterson strip to study.  I have the The Rocketeer reproduced at actual size and the difference is huge.  

Don't let that deter you from buying this book, though.  This book is the book Calvin fans have been waiting for and it does not disappoint.

  

  
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An Amazing Gift to True Calvin and Hobbes Fans 10. April 2015
Von Spencer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
When the latest Calvin and Hobbes book appeared on my front porch, there is little chance the postman recognized he was delivering a piece of my childhood in a hand addressed manila envelope. That is, however, exactly what happened.

For those of you who don’t know, Calvin and Hobbes, is an American cultural landmark. It is a comic strip that ran from 1985 until 1995 in papers across the country and around the world. Unlike many current comics, Calvin and Hobbes was always humorous and often side-splittingly hilarious.

Some comics currently in print have continued for decades, often recycling jokes, offering overly complicated plots with a multitude of extraneous characters, and losing the crispness and energy that once made them great. Thankfully Bill Watterson, the man behind Calvin and Hobbes, knew when to walk away and stopped drawing the strip after a decade.

Bill Watterson is a somewhat enigmatic artist. He did very few extended interviews while the strip was in print. Since he retired from drawing Calvin and Hobbes he has largely been out of public view. Many creative people are ready to write an autobiography to cash in on their celebrity as soon as they’ve had success, often providing tedious details of their creative processes. Watterson, on the other hand, has left his many fans largely in the dark.

This new book from Andrews McMeel Publishing is a breakthrough for the hungry Calvin and Hobbes fan. Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue begins with an extended interview with the man who curated a recent exhibit of Calvin and Hobbes strips at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. In this interview, Watterson discusses his childhood, how he became interested in cartooning, his various attempts to break into the industry, and how the production of Calvin and Hobbes took place for its decade-long run.

The second section contains ink on paper samples of some of the cartoonists and illustrators that influenced Watterson. These samples were chosen and annotated by Watterson himself. Next, there are samples of Watterson’s early efforts at editorial cartooning and submissions to syndicates that never made it to press. Finally, the collection includes many pages of samples of published cartoons from the strip’s epic run. These are original, ink on paper drawings that sometimes have whiteout, pencil marks, and even scotch tape visible. The final portion of the collections was selected by Jenny Robb, who is an associate professor at Ohio State University and a curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. They reflect her choice of some of the best and most representative strips that Watterson created.

To say that this book is a delight is an understatement. The pages are visually appealing, the layout creative, and the arrangement of the material tells the story well. The interview is engaging and highlights some of the information any true fan of Calvin and Hobbes should want to know. This is a pearl of great price, to say the least.

Exploring Calvin and Hobbes is not the best entry point for people new to the strip. Starting here would be like trying to read the appendices to The Lord of the Rings before reading the book itself. Every true fan will read the appendices, but only after they have carefully digested the main body of work. The same applies for Watterson’s oeuvre.

However, for those that have read most or all of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, especially those who remember poring over the graphic delights offered by the strip during its newspaper run, this is a true gift. It is worth the time and well worth the money if you have the good fortune to be able to buy this volume.

Note: A gratis copy of this book was received from the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. This review has also been posted at Ethics and Culture.
13 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Should definitely be read and enjoyed 10. März 2015
Von Denis Vukosav - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Bill Watterson, an US author of comic ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ became known not only because of his popular comic, but also because of way he stopped working on ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ – back in 1995 he sent a short letter to newspaper informing his fans that he felt he had achieved all he could in the comic medium.

Since then, Watterson was almost invisible to public; he avoided contact with media and fans, until finally a year ago he published his first cartoon after the abrupt end of ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ - a poster for the documentary Stripped. For this reason, the release of this book for me as a sincere fan of author’s work was very interesting and long-awaited day.

Basically, ‘Exploring Calvin and Hobbes’ is an exhibition catalogue, as it is written on front cover, in which on 160 pages are listed all the important information about the Watterson life and professional career - starting from those who influenced his work, overview of his early works, tools he used when producing his known comic, overview of his characters, overview of the ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ seasons, variations he used on a single theme or idea, and most importantly long and original interview Jenny Robb made with Watterson last year fans awaited for decades.

It would be insufficient to only say that this book should definitely be read and enjoyed, it is a highly interesting work that will be especially appreciated by the artists because of ideas that can be found inside, while techniques and explanations of the author will help all those who themselves want to go his way or simply want to learn about the background of his exceptional work of art.

In this sense it is not only beautiful companion book for the extensive ‘Exploring Calvin and Hobbes’ exhibition at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library last year and this year hosted at Angouleme (France), but also the opportunity to once again see how great author Watterson is, hoping that world of comics and art did not lost him forever.
16 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE! 10. März 2015
Von the GreatReads! - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
American cartoonist Bill Watterson’s creation Calvin and Hobbes continues to be one of the most endearing comic strip characters who amused, entertained and enlightened families worldwide. Calvin is an adventurous, intelligent and articulated six-year-old while his companion Hobbes is caustic and mischievous. While their stories are true to their characters, what is strange about them is how Bill Watterson named them after John Calvin, a theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a philosopher.

For fans of Calvin and Hobbes, Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue will come as a delightful surprise, especially for those who have made Calvin and Hobbes a part of their families. While some may argue that these two comic strip characters are for small kids, they have never failed to amaze and surprise me with their wit and wisdom. May be, there is a child somewhere in my soul which makes me want to shout out their names every time I come across them. If there is a small child somewhere inside your big body, Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue will surprise and delight you.
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Some Insight Into What Made My Favorite Comic Strip 14. März 2015
Von Michael J Balistreri - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
First I should probably explain that this book is a companion piece to an exhibition at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library in Columbus, OH. I've never been to the exhibit or the museum, but the book seems to do an admirable job of recreating the experience. Of course it can't quite capture what it's like to see hand drawn artwork in person, but this is about as good as you are going to get without making the trip out there.

So what exactly is in the book? First there is an intro from the curator of the exhibit which gives some nice insight into how this all came together. That is followed by a lengthy, thought provoking interview with Bill Watterson where he candidly discusses his entire life, focusing on his career in cartooning. For big Calvin and Hobbes fans this is huge, as he has remained virtually silent for the past 20 years since the strip ended. Until last year when he made a surprise appearance in Pearls Before Swine and drew the poster for the comic documentary Stripped the man had virtually disappeared from all public life. He didn't even make an appearance in the 2013 documentary about Calvin and Hobbes, Dear Mr. Watterson.

This sudden disappearance after ending the comic strip during the height of its popularity in 1995, combined with Watterson's extreme resistance to merchandise has left his fans clamoring for something more for nearly two decades. So this interview is a pretty big deal.

Calvin and Hobbes had a huge impact on me as a child, and is probably the main reason why I ever tried making my own comics. So I take what Bill Watterson has to say very much to heart. And it is very revealing. I could have read a full length book of just him being interviewed and found every part of it fascinating.

It is a good length and he hits on all the major points a fan would hope him to. Next we get a collection of the comics that influenced Watterson. These were all selected by Watterson and contain some brief thoughts from him on why they had an impact. The bulk of these comics are photos of the original drawings, so there is a lot more detail than what you would get reading them in a newspaper.

After that is some of Watterson's early work. We get to see some of his political cartoons, a rejected animal comic strip he submitted to newspapers, and unpublished early Calvin and Hobbes strips that were used to get the publishing deal. I had never seen any of these before and found them very interesting. Particularly seeing how there were hints of what was to come even in some of his early stuff. It was also really cool to see how the characters originally had different looks that he changed after he got the publishing deal.

Next we get a couple pages about the tools that were used to make the comics. This is brief, but interesting and gives a glimpse into the process used to create Watterson's trademark style. I know it made me want to pick up the same tools and do some old school ink on Bristol board drawing to see what I could come up with.

The remainder of the book is photos of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. These are all original drawings, so many of them have pencil marks, white out, various shades of black ink, and definable brush strokes. So a lot more detail than what was printed in the newspaper and previous book collections. If you enjoy original art and getting a better idea of the artist's process, than you'll love this.

The comics are grouped together in various thematic categories which include Characters, Seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter), Devices, Storytelling, Social Commentary, The Meaning of Life, Colors and Sundays. The beginning of each section has a paragraph or two describing that theme and how it was used in the comic.

If you already own all the book collections and are a big fan you will likely be familiar with all the comics included. But the main appeal is seeing them in their original state. Seeing them grouped together this way does allow you to look at them with a bit of a different perspective then you've probably read them in the past.

Then the book just kind of abruptly ends, with no sort of conclusion or closing thoughts. It is a pretty quick read, but I think it will hold up well as something I'll reread. It is all presented very nicely with the clinical quality of a museum.

If you are a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes and want to learn more about the man who made it, this book is a must have.
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