I really love the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes by the amazing Bill Watterson.
And in the spirit of being mad about an art form that is more than a little bit in danger, in its traditional form at least, thanks to the decline of print media, I am more than a little in love with Stephan Pastis’s Pearls Before Swine.
So imagine my surprise and delight when The Huffington Post revealed that Bill Watterson had come out of retirement for only the second time since 1995 – the first was for the masterful documentary about the place of comic strips in arapidly evolving digital world Stripped – to draw for Pearls Before Swine.
Seriously imagine it … I can wait … right, all done? Good let’s move on …
According to an entry on Stephan Pastis’s blog, which ran after the series of comic strips, designed to benefit Parkinson’s charity Team Cul de Sac (raising funds for its recently diagnosed cartoonist Richard Thompson) appeared in newspapers, no one was more surprised than Pastis himself to not only correspond with the famously reclusive Watterson but to then have him agree to co-author a series of three comic strips.
Surprising or not the results have been nothing less than one of the most amazing experiences of Pastis’s life:
“And so we worked through the technological problems via email.
And unlike every other technological problem I’ve ever had, it was not frustrating.
It was the highlight of my career.”
And by all accounts, well the one official one that appeared in The Washington Post, Watterson enjoyed the experience too:
“I had expected to just mess around with his characters while they did their usual things, but Stephan kept setting up these situations that required more challenging drawings . . . so I had to work a lot harder than I had planned to! It was a lot of fun.”
And so as a result we have three panels containing Watterson’s undiminished artistic talent, Pastis’s wicked self-deprecating wit, and a fundraiser for no one other as the series of panels are auctioned off to benefit a vital cause.
It’s the best of all possible comic strip worlds and a “SQUEEE!” moment for anyone with even the faintest passing interest in the marvellous art form that is the comic strip.