Calvin and Hobbes

While Calvin and Hobbes have touched the lives of millions of people the world over, their creator Bill Watterson has historically preferred to keep to himself. But for whatever reason, he recently decided to open up to Mental Floss for a rare interview.

The story, which covers everything from the rise of digital comics to that legend about his burning a box of Hobbes toys, is a must-read for anyone who grew up loving this rambunctious little boy and his tiger pal. Among one of the interesting tidbits to come out of it is a definitive statement that there will be no Calvin & Hobbes movie, ever. Hit the jump to find out why.

The mere fact that there’s no Calvin & Hobbes movie in the works right now, when seemingly every other popular property of the era has an adaptation in development, already suggests that Watterson isn’t much interested in handing his characters over to Hollywood. But he’s never publicly shot down the idea until now.

The visual sophistication of Pixar blows me away, but I have zero interest in animating Calvin and Hobbes. If you’ve ever compared a film to a novel it’s based on, you know the novel gets bludgeoned. It’s inevitable, because different media have different strengths and needs, and when you make a movie, the movie’s needs get served. As a comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes works exactly the way I intended it to. There’s no upside for me in adapting it.

That statement will no doubt disappoint some of his fans, but he makes a good point. No matter how great a Calvin & Hobbes movie might be, it’ll inevitably be a little bit different from the comic strips. Calvin & Hobbes works beautifully on the page, and there’s no need to fuss with it further.

That said, Watterson doesn’t seem to have a problem with fans riffing on his creations.

Every artist learns through imitation, but I rather doubt the aim of these things is artistic development. I assume they’re either homages or satiric riffs, and are not intended to be taken too seriously as works in their own right. Otherwise I should be talking to a copyright lawyer.

He even seems to take those peeing-Calvin stickers in stride.

I figure that, long after the strip is forgotten, those decals are my ticket to immortality.

As if the world is going to forget Calvin & Hobbes anytime soon.

The full interview will be printed in the December issue of Mental Floss Magazine. For now, check out the excerpt at MentalFloss.com. And keep an eye out for the unrelated documentary Dear Mr. Watterson, coming November 15.

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