Check the back of your sofas, you’re going to need every bit of small change to own this classic comic strip art!
Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson is a very private person. He’s a hard man to find, as is any original artwork featuring his beloved creations: the angst-ridden, wisecracking, shrewd six-year-old and the stuffed tiger who, from 1985 until 1995, served as his best friend and foil.
For that reason, among so many others, Heritage Auctions is thrilled and honoured to offer original artwork for a strip from 1987 in the 8th – 12th September Comics and Comic Art Signature Auction – and it’s no surprise that bidding is already over the $23,000 mark, and counting…
“Offering a Watterson Calvin and Hobbes original is always a special treat since Heritage has only offered 10 originals in 20 years,” says Heritage Auctions comic grader Xavier E. Chavez. “Most never left the artist’s vault and were only given to family and friends, making collectors fight for any work that comes to market. This winter-themed strip was gifted to the consignor commemorating the birth of their own ‘little Calvin,’ as it reads on the inscription.”
At the time of this artwork’s creation, the series was only two years old. Run alongside such beloved, long-running strips as Family Circus, Ziggy and Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes quickly attained legendary status. Indeed, by 1986 Watterson was already a Reuben Award-winner, courtesy the National Cartoonists Society. In short order, the adventures of the titular characters appeared in more than2,400 newspapers across the globe.
Watterson’s daily comic strip, partially inspired by his upbringing in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, resonated heavily with kids who didn’t have friends like Charlie Brown or a large family like the Keane family. Mixing the angst of growing up with a wild (and sometimes demented) imagination, the strip remains a favorite of several generations.
In this four-panel strip, Calvin and Hobbes build “the strongest snow fort ever made!” Discussing its structural integrity, the final panel reveals its inconvenient location: blocking in Calvin’s father’s car and making his dad scream, “WHERE’S THAT KID?!”
This is classic Calvin and Hobbes material, showcasing a child’s desire to be creative, while also challenging the pressures and demands of being an adult. Calvin saw what was ahead of him with age, and he rebelled against it every step of the way. Whether he was causing trouble for his parents, his babysitter Rosalyn or his classmate Susie, his antics made millions grin, laugh and pause with each strip. Because, as Calvin once said, “Life’s a lot more fun when you aren’t responsible for your actions.”
And given how reclusive and elusive Watterson is, another of his famously quoted lines comes to mind as this incredibly rare strip heads to market for the first time: “The best presents don’t come in boxes.” Sometimes, they come in auctions.
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.