I’m not a morning person. AT ALL. But one of the few things I liked to do in the mornings before going to school in my teenage years was to read through the comics section of the newspaper over breakfast before setting off for the day. Calvin and Hobbes was one of my favorites, and I still remember clipping out the last strip that ever ran before Bill Watterson retired.
So when my friend asked me if I could make a little Hobbes for her husband as a Christmas gift, it was pretty much an immediate “HOLY CRAP, HOBBES, YES!” After doing a bit of research and using some elbow grease, a little mischievous tiger was released.
He nosed through my things…
Raided my pantry…
That was my girl scout cookie stash, you jerk!
Hung around in random places…
And just made a big mess in general.
It’s a magical world out there, and he definitely did his share of exploration before landing in the hands of my friend’s hubby on Christmas day.
Bill Watterson was (and still is) adamant about not commercializing his work. He felt that it cheapened the value of his characters and took away the spirit behind his work, which is why no Calvin and Hobbes toys were ever produced. He could have become rich from merchandising, but he felt that the integrity of his work mattered beyond any money he could have made from T-shirts and mugs:
“Characters lose their believability as they start endorsing major companies and lend their faces to bedsheets and boxer shorts. The appealing innocence and sincerity of cartoon characters is corrupted when they use those qualities to peddle products. One starts to question whether characters say things because they mean it or because their sentiments sell T-shirts and greeting cards. Licensing has made some cartoonists extremely wealthy, but at a considerable loss to the precious little world they created.”
I feel like a lot of us could learn a thing or two from Mr. Watterson’s philosophy. Keep your heart in your work, and most of all, keep exploring.