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Words of Wisdom

Bill Watterson on Ending ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and Going Out on Top

“It’s always better to leave the party early,” said Bill Watterson, author of the beloved comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes.” Watterson famously chose to end “Calvin and Hobbes” in 1995 after only 10 years of syndication.

Bill Watterson (b. 1958) is an American cartoonist and author of the beloved “Calvin and Hobbes” strip which ran from 1985-1995. Watterson is seen by some as an enigmatic character, by others as a well-respected artist who never compromised his values. He is known for ending his strip after only 10 years of syndication at a time when many believed him to be in his prime. He is also notable for his unique and rigid policy against the commercialization of his characters. Watterson refuses to allow Calvin and Hobbes to appear on merchandise, his belief being that doing so will cheapen the characters. Since his decision to end the strip, Watterson has notably kept away from the public eye, but occasionally resurfaces in fun contexts

“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.”

You might see some similarities in this sentiment to the old adage: “It is better to burn out than to fade away.”

Source: Interview with John Campanelli of The Plain Dealer (2010)

Photo credit: ActuaLitté – Flickr


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