US artist Bill Watterson seems to be making forays back into the world of comic art, some 20 years after he ended his world-famous and much-loved newspaper strip Calvin & Hobbes about a boy and his talking tiger.
Watterson has contributed the movie poster for the Kickstarter-funded Stripped, available for pre-order now on iTunes – a feature-length documentary on comic strips that will interest comic creators worldwide: how they’re created, and the people behind them.
In the film poster by Watterson, a figure which bears an uncanny resemblance to an adult Calvin literally leaps out of his clothing with surprise at the death of newspapers — a wonderful visual gag with clothes comically sailing through the air — while his tablet-toting dog wonders what the fuss is about.
The film features the first-ever recorded interview with Bill Watterson and sits down with over 60 of the world’s best cartoonists to talk about comic strips, where the art form’s going, and what happens to it as newspapers die and digital takes off.
Featured interviews include: Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), Jim Davis (Garfield), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy), Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), Matt Inman (The Oatmeal), 2014 Lakes International Comic Art Festival guest Scott McCloud and Patrick McDonnell (Mutts).
The history and future of newspaper comic strips is put under the microscope (over 160 US newspapers have closed in recent years, threatening the livelihoods of many cartoonists as editorial budgets are squeezed in response and strips dropped). Some creators ponder the death of the form while others, such as Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (of web comic Penny Arcade fame) argue the internet is the way of the future.
“This is the way people consume things,” says Mike Krahulik. “People don’t read newspapers any more.”
Comic historian R.C. Harvey counters that the economics of the web – where dollars have been replaced by cents in terms of income for artists – does not bode well.
Set to original music by Stefan Lessard of Dave Matthews Band, the film is a must-see for comics fans. Here’s a trailer…