Thursday, February 4, 2010

Worn-Out Welcomes

There's not much surprising in this interview with Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson, ostensibly the first since 1989. Watterson made his intentions clear in the 10th Anniversary Collection that he wanted his creation to maintain its integrity, which would have been hard to do if it had been licensed onto every manner of stuffed animal, cartoon, lunchbox, etc. etc. (He didn't name names, but it's patently obvious that he had the odious Garfield in mind.) For that same reason he decided to quit while he was ahead:

This isn't as hard to understand as people try to make it. By the end of 10 years, I'd said pretty much everything I had come there to say.

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.

Those who wish Watterson had kept going would be well-advised to compare the last ten years' output of The Simpsons to their mid-1990s heyday. Are we really glad it's still around?

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