February 1st, 2010
03:15 PM ET
On December 31, 1995, the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes" ended. Comics fans have been in mourning ever since.
But Bill Watterson, who created the strip, "never regretted stopping," he told his hometown Cleveland Plain Dealer in a rare interview that appeared Monday.
"It's always better to leave the party early," he told the paper's John Campanelli. "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."
"Calvin and Hobbes," the strip about a mischievous 6-year-old boy and his stuffed tiger (which comes alive only for him), ran for 10 years in syndication. At its height, it was one of the most popular - and lauded - comic strips in the world.
But Watterson, who rarely gave interviews, kept tight control of his creation, so that the only "Calvin and Hobbes" product was the strip itself and its published collections - no coffee mugs, bumper stickers or television commercials. (Those "Calvin" stickers you see on the backs of pickup trucks are counterfeit.)
He took two breaks during the run of the strip and finally ended it with a Sunday strip in which Calvin exclaimed to Hobbes, "Let's go exploring!"
The strip, much honored during its run, is receiving another tribute in July, when the U.S. Postal Service releases a "Calvin and Hobbes" stamp.
Campanelli asked Watterson how he feels about the fans' connection to him, and how he deals "with knowing that [the attention] is going to follow you the rest of your days."
"Ah, the life of a newspaper cartoonist - how I miss the groupies, drugs and trashed hotel rooms!" Watterson responded.
More seriously, he added, "I just go about my quiet life and do my best to ignore the rest. I'm proud of the strip, enormously grateful for its success, and truly flattered that people still read it, but I wrote 'Calvin and Hobbes' in my 30s, and I'm many miles from there."
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