"Calvin and Hobbes" has been out of the comic pages for 15 years and the strip's creator, Bill Watterson, has avoided the spotlight for even longer than that. But Watterson came out of hiding for the first time since 1989 to do an e-mail interview with the ClevelandPlain Dealer -- and despite his strip's fame and long-lasting popularity, Watterson told the paper he is ready to move on.
Die-hard fans still mourn the loss of "Calvin and Hobbes," which ended in 1995 at the height of its popularity. In 2005, a $150-book about the popular strip was published and has since sold over 500,000 copies, while a curator at an Ohio museum that has some "Hobbes" strips on display said visitors still "grieve" for the spiky-haired boy and his tiger friend.
But Watterson said is not sentimental about the strip.
"By the end of 10 years, I'd said pretty much everything I had come there to say...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," Watterson said.
Watterson said he doesn't know why the strip got so famous but that he thinks it has more to do with readers' experience that with his own artistic genius.
"The only part I understand is what went into the creation of the strip. What readers take away from it is up to them. Once the strip is published, readers bring their own experiences to it, and the work takes on a life of its own," Watterson said.
Watterson said he is more concerned with looking to the future than the past -- and that he hopes fans will give him space to move on and explore other artistic opportunities.
"Calvin and Hobbes" was honored with a postage stamp by the U.S. Postal Service in December 2009. The stamp will be issued this July.