Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes strip is 28 years old this week, and the impact and influence of Watterson’s cartoon about a boy and his stuffed tiger continue to touch the hearts and spark the imaginative bone in kids of all ages. No comic strip since then has not been touched or inspired by Calvin and Hobbes in some way. Fans of the strip span the globe, and one director Kickstarted a documentary about the impact of Calvin and Hobbes on these fans. Joel Allen Schroeder joins Earth Prime Time today to discuss Dear Mr. Watterson: An Exploration of Calvin and Hobbes.
The movie is touring the country and is available on demand starting November 15.
DIGBOSTON: Thanks for joining us, Joel. Care to tell us why you decided to make this movie?
Joel Allen Schroeder: Yeah, I was a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes. I was probably introduced to the strip at 7, 8, 9 years old and years later, in my late 20s I decided the strip still meant a lot to me and I had a crazy idea to make a documentary about it. It fascinated me that something could mean so much to me as an 8 year old and that it could really truly mean a lot to me as an adult. There are not a lot of things like that.
That’s amazing. And, as you go through in the movie, it did appeal to lots of different people all over the world. People our age, and older too. What is it about Calvin and Hobbes—the baseline that appeals to everybody?
I think Watterson’s artwork is something that really draws people in. It is so well drawn that in particular, the Sunday strips will draw people in. And then as you start to know Calvin and Hobbes as characters, there is so much humanity and depth there.
Calvin’s imagination makes this world. The strip is not just the walls of his home. It extends outside, to space, the jungles, to the distant past.
There is just so much there. At the bottom of it, there are wonderful characters that are easy to identify with.
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