eople come out of retirement all the time for one reason or another. How many times did Barbra Streisand do it? But, it’s a lot rarer for people like reclusive “Calvin and Hobbes” creator Bill Watterson, who has rarely been seen since he stopped drawing the adventures of the kid and his invisible tiger friend 19 years ago. (Holy cow, has it been that long?!?!) However, Watterson’s work (he’s still a huge recluse himself) is showing up again in as unlikely place as any: an indie documentary poster.
In an article by the Washington Post, it’s detailed that Watterson, after agreeing to a brief audio-only interview for Frederick Schroeder and Dave Kellett’s film Stripped about the decline of the newspaper comic strip due to the decline of newspapers in general, was surprised to be asked to do the movie’s original poster art.
Watterson says in the article: “It sounded like fun, and maybe something people wouldn’t expect, so I decided to give it a try. Dave sent me a rough cut of the film and I dusted the cobwebs off my ink bottle.” He said, of the poster’s rather risque nakedness, “Given the movie’s title and the fact that there are few things funnier than human nudity, the idea popped into my head largely intact,” Watterson tells The Post. “The film is a big valentine to comics, so I tried to do something really cartoon-y. I had thought of having it colored with off-registered printing dots like newspaper comics, but Dave asked if I’d paint it instead, and I think he made the right call.”
This is the second public art offering for Watterson since his retirement in 1995, the first being an oil painting of the character of Petey Otterloop from Richard Thompson’s strip, “Cul de Sac,” in 2011. The painting was done for a fundraising project for Parkinson’s research done in honor of Thompson (whose widely acclaimed strip ended due to his difficulties drawing as his Parkinson’s symptoms interfered) and Watterson, being a big fan of the strip and its creator, decided to give it a go. (You can read more about this piece in another Washington Post article.)
As for Stripped, it comes out on DVD April 2nd.