A tip o' the hat to Earthbound Misfit for discovering this. Bill Watterson, the cartoonist behind the immortal Calvin and Hobbes, began his cartooning career long before the latter strip first appeared in 1985. A collection of his earlier work is available online. It makes for very entertaining viewing for those of us who fell in love with a little boy and his tiger, and through them with their creator.
I've always admired Bill Watterson for his artistic integrity. It took real courage and dedication to his art to walk away from one of the most successful cartoon strips in history, fifteen years ago, and begin anew. He pointed out in an interview earlier this year:
It's always better to leave the party early. If I had rolled along with the strip's popularity and repeated myself for another five, 10 or 20 years, the people now "grieving" for "Calvin and Hobbes" would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I'd be agreeing with them.
I think some of the reason "Calvin and Hobbes" still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it.
I've never regretted stopping when I did.
He's also consistently refused to permit merchandising of his characters, to my great relief. I think one of the worst aspects of American-style capitalism is the relentless drive to make money out of any and every aspect of anything. Thankfully, Mr. Watterson never succumbed to that: and perhaps precisely because of that, his strip remains as popular as ever.
Let's remember Calvin and Hobbes with real pleasure as, in their last cartoon, they ride off on their sled to explore an ever-new world. Thanks, Mr. Watterson, for the smiles, the memories, and the fun.