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Dear Mr. Watterson Trailer: The Calvin and Hobbes Documentary Has Finally Arrived

By TK | Trailers | July 17, 2013 | Comments ()


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Of the handful of cultural phenomena from my childhood, few have had as much resonance — or are remembered with as much affection — as Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, which I still believe to be the greatest comic strip in history. The simple tales of a boy and his stuffed tiger that came to life and provided him with friendship and love and endless adventure were absolutely perfect representations of all the wonders of childhood. I loved Calvin and Hobbes, and was devastated when Watterson effectively retired, mostly due to a frustration and anger at the industry.

Watterson has been a notable recluse, refusing to do interviews, refusing to allow his characters to be licensed, absolutely refusing to allow any sort of commercialization of Calvin and Hobbes. And while their absence is a hole in my heart, my respect for that kind of dedication and artistic integrity is huge. But I miss the strip. It touched on so many themes, of love and curiosity and fear and sadness and coming-of-age and innocence. Just look back on the series of strips when the family’s house was robbed, and you’ll see how amazing Watterson’s ability to connect with his audience was. The entire series — Calvin forgetting Hobbes during a family trip, their horror at coming home to a broken-into house, and his absolute devastation at the thought that something might have happened to his best friend (not to mention the glorious and hilarious and sweet reunion) — was just so deftly written and illustrated that it almost, just like Hobbes himself, felt real.

The documentary is likely to be a mixed bag. It comes to us via a Kickstarter campaign, directed by Joel Allen Schroeder. It does not feature Watterson in any capacity, which is as disappointing as it is predictable. However, it features dozens of likely fascinating interviews with everyone from Berke Breathed to Bill Amend to Seth Green, as well as Lee Salim, who was his editor for the entire run of Calvin and Hobbes. It should prove bittersweet and riveting, and I cannot wait. Here’s the trailer:

I have a one year-old now, and I’m looking forward to the day when I can share the world of Calvin and Hobbes with him. And I look forward to Dear Mr. Watterson to hopefully let me re-live them a little, as well as teach us a bit more about the man behind them.

Dear Mr. Watterson will be released in theaters on November 15th, 2013.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Archie Leach

    Whenever Calvin & Hobbes comes around I instantly think of Opus killing the mime with the olive loaf.

  • foca9

    As long as I can remember, I've cut out Calvin & Hobbes comic strips from my local (Norwegian) newspaper, until they discontinued it a couple of years ago. Still have them. Possibly the most valuable thing I own.

  • trixie

    I still have my stuffed tiger, who is of course named Hobbes. Now, I'm going to go re-read ALL the books, with my Hobbes by my side.

  • Salieri2

    Also, if you haven't seen "Hobbes and Bacon," do; it's a nice tribute.

    http://imgur.com/tUzAL

  • Salieri2
  • llp

    I am so, so excited. My six year old is a voracious reader and has read my entire Calvin and Hobbes collection three times.

  • Peep_Jerky

    I'm late to the thread, but there's another Kickstarted film about comics coming out soon (the Kickstarter is over now) that, while it isn't exclusively about Calvin and Hobbes, DOES have an interview with Watterson. It's called Stripped: http://www.kickstarter.com/pro...

  • PerpetualIntern

    I didn't know how much I needed Calvin and Hobbes today until I saw the cover photo. Sometimes you just need Calvin and Hobbes.

  • Sirilicious

    It seems like some people talk about C&H as being very influential in their childhood. I only got to know them well into my teens and to me it seems that kids wouldn't get half of the point.

    To those people, did you especially enjoy the parts where Calvin thought things were unfair? Do you now read a lot of different stuff in it, like the layers that some people mentioned?

  • PaddyDog

    You have a one-year old? You kept that quiet.

  • Dennis Albert Ramirez

    oh the many, many paragraphs I wish i could write about how Calvin and Hobbes means to me that I can't cause I'm at work.

    Calvin is really one of the only fictional characters I've ever truly identified with. As much as I liked other things like Thundercats, Transformers and all that growing up, I never felt like "That character is me" save for Calvin. I had my own stuffed animal I treated as real when no one else was around (a little T-Rex, imaginatively named Rex), a huge fascination with dinosaurs that always outpaced the standard 5 you learn growing up (i was always in the library, reading Bakker's The Dinosaur Heresies at age 8) and I'd like to think I had a healthy imagination.

    I remember my favorite times were when a new collection of the strips had come out, which my dad always bought for me as soon as they'd hit stores, which we bonded over (i also identified Calvin's dad as similar to my own).
    Like TK, I too think this is the greatest comic strip ever made, without hyperbole. Especially after reading how hard Mr. Watterson fought to have control over the layouts of his sunday comics, the little editorial jabs he'd get at his publishing syndicate over disagreements (like the strip where after waking up to a world without color, Calvin's dad says his problem is that only sees things in terms of black and white, to which Calvin vents "Sometimes that's the way things are!" comes to mind), doing his best to keep the integrity of the strip despite what I'm sure were very lucrative opportunities to commercialize it and everything else has given me the utmost respect for him as an artist.

    I truly, truly miss this strip, but I also truly, truly am glad Mr. Watterson stopped it when he did. And what better sendoff to the long and intricate masterpiece than the final strip: It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy...let's go exploring!

    Still chokes me up.

  • Repo

    Indeed, Well said, sir. I have the hardback collections on the shelf in my living room and you've reminded me I'm far past due to re-visit them.

  • Semilitterate

    I also have the Complete C & H in hardcover. I have two married with children sons who grew up with Calvin and the great philosopher Hobbes. The books seem to make the rounds about annually, but I am always aware of where they are should I get a C & H Jones.

  • TK

    Aw man, that final strip kills me every single time.

  • Bert_McGurt

    The front page of the Saturday comics of the local paper used to feature two comics, and two comics only: Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side. It was a glorious time to be a ten-year-old.

  • sk1dz

    This was one of my favorites (I think it still is), but I was surprised when my developed an attachment to this strip, even bringing some of his collected material to her classroom.

  • Julie Chase

    I have a lot of nostalgia for a lot of things, but top three of all time are the Muppets, Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, and Calvin and Hobbes. I can be stressing about any of my adult issues-work, pressure to start a family, anything, and if I read about Spaceman Spiff I am instantly 8 years old again.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I used Calvin and Hobbes to teach English vocabulary to adult ESL students The one below was particularly good for this and includes the word "impenetrable". When asked to use it in an example sentence, a very charming Argentinian said, "the virgin is impenetrable" which meant I had to correct him with "No, the virgin is unpenetrated". God, I miss teaching.

  • Some Guy

    Depending on her resolve to remain one, a virgin is both unpenetrated and impenetrable.

  • Salieri2

    My father, who thinks himself a wag, has been known to make light of my mother's fertility challenges by telling us kids she was impregnable and that we were unbearable. He found this much more hilarious than did she. Or I. Fortunately, The Princess Bride wasn't out yet and "inconceivable" didn't occur to him.

    He's pretty lucky to be alive.

  • No Pithy Name

    My wife and I have a miracle baby and I am SO going to use this. Where do I send the royalty checks?

  • Salieri2

    I hereby release it for fair usage. Into the wild web with ye, borderline-offensive fertility joke. Go forth and test the limits of spousal patience across the English-punning globe.

  • Sirilicious

    If only. I say that both jokingly and wistfully.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Bravo! [doffs cap]

  • Quatermain

    When I was younger, my brothers and I made snow goons in our front yard one winter. People would drive by, and they'd slow down, and they'd look. The local paper sent a stringer out to take pictures, one of which actually ended up in that section of the paper that every newspaper has and that calls itself 'Lifestyles' or 'Out 'n About' or something similar.

  • Melody

    All the best life lessons I learned from a six year old boy and his stuffed tiger.

    I have the box set and it is one of my prize possessions.

  • emmalita

    A friend adopted two kids from Russia. The Calvin and Hobbes Anthology was one of the ways they bonded.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    A friend of mine is painting his infant son's room with a Calvin and Hobbes theme. It's magical and I'd like to do the same to my room, despite the repercussions from my landlord.

  • Julie Chase

    This has always been my plan if I have kids. Calvin and Hobbes nursery.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    what repercussions as long as you repaint before you leave? (or if you are in NYC, they are supposed to repaint your apartment every 3 years anyway)

  • tamatha_uhmelmahaye

    Now I just want to go home and reread all the books from the beginning.

  • JJ

    One of the best things is going back and re-reading because I always get new layers I never understood when I was a kid.

    Like the Kurgan said, it's better to burn out than to fade away.

  • Love these boys. I still miss Bloom County...

  • foolsage

    Amend and Breathed are incredible artists. Watterson is a fucking MASTER.

    I own pretty much everything those three guys have done in the medium of comics. I admit that my love of Bloom County was tainted a little by my disappointment in Outland and later Opus.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Opus. All of my love of penguins stems from Opus.

  • I'm thirty and if someone touches my Opus christmas tree ornament they will get hurt.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I have (had?) an Opus reindeer with ornaments dangling from the horns.

  • Snath

    Calvin & Hobbes was a huge influence on me, creatively, developmentally, and emotionally.

    In fact, I use it in my parenting. My favorite story is when Calvin breaks his dad's new binoculars, and is freaking out about it. He finally tells his dad, who predictably explodes at him. Then Calvin says something that still sticks with me: "I have an idea, Dad. Let's pretend I already feel terrible about it, and that you don't need to rub it in any more."

    His dad is suitably moved, and that is exactly the kind of dad-move I remember for my own kids. Accidents are accidents, and my kids probably feel a whole lot worse than I do.

  • Julie Chase

    That's one of my favorite comics.

  • InternetMagpie

    I think about that all the time, Eric.

  • TK, I introduced them ('cuz they're real) to my 9-year-old last year (8 then, I guess). You have many giggles to look forward to, some of them not your own.

  • BWeaves

    My husband is still a Calvin and Hobbes fan, and mourns the passing of the comic strip almost daily.

    My co-irkers and I did a Christmas tableau in our office featuring Calvin and Hobbes style snow goons. We were always a bit sick when it came to decorating, and snow goons were just perfect.

  • Four Eyes

    One of the reasons I wished my country was temperate- an army of snow goons!

  • Sirilicious

    some winter soon i will make an army of guinea pig sized snow goonies in front of my appartment building.

  • lowercase_see

    As long as we get snowmen zombies and a transmorgifier, I'm good.

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