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Here’s a huge and very pleasant surprise: Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes, who retired that strip in 1995 and has not published a cartoon in the years since, has drawn a movie poster.

The image is for the documentary Stripped, which is about the art and business of newspaper comic strips. Dozens of people were interviewed for the film by directors Dave Kellett and Frederick Schroeder, including Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics, Zot!), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy), Zach Weiner (SMBC), Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Jim Davis (Garfield), and Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant).

Bill Watterson agreed to be interviewed for the film, and is heard but not seen. He liked the film and filmmakers enough to draw the movie poster, which you can see in full below.

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Watterson talked to the Washington Post about doing the art:

Aside from supplying a few sentences to the documentary, I’m not involved with the film, so Dave’s request to draw the poster came completely out of the blue. It sounded like fun, and maybe something people wouldn’t expect, so I decided to give it a try. 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. 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.

Here’s the trailer for the film — the full version is available now for preorder on iTunes. More info can be found at the film’s website, www.strippedfilm.com.

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