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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My own personal debt to Calvin and Hobbes

The warm-up topic today on Drawbridge was "Calvin and Hobbes"

Back before I broke into the biz, even more than I wanted to draw picture books or graphic novels, I had wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist. I was cured of that ambition when all of my favorite newspaper cartoonists quit at about the same time-- in a way a lucky break for me, I suppose, considering the state of the funny pages today (assuming I had made it, of course).

Far and away my biggest influence was Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes, to my mind, the most perfect example of a comic strip ever created. Years after his retirement, when I published my first picture book, Kapow! I remember being concerned that my book would be perceived as too derivative of Wattersons' work. To the best of my knowledge, at least, nobody has felt that way but myself, though many have noted the debt my work owed to Watterson. Here is my character American Eagle (cannibalized from my own attempt at a syndicated Daily strip) surveying his spiritual forefather, Calvin as Spaceman Spiff.

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