Bill Watterson

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William B. "Bill" Watterson II (born July 5, 1958 in Washington, DC ) is an American comic artist , who was best known for his comic strip Calvin and Hobbes published from 1985 to 1995 .


At the age of six, Bill Watterson and his parents moved to Chagrin Falls , Ohio . From 1976 to 1980 he attended Kenyon College in Gambier .

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science , reportedly thanks to a friend who had access to the college's central computer . He started drawing comics in high school . He learned German at school. Many of his high school comics were written in German and were drawn by him for his German teacher. In college , he drew some cartoons for the college newspaper.

After graduating, he found a job as a cartoonist with the daily Cincinnatis , which he lost after a few months.

The attempt to incorporate his own comic strips into press syndicates failed. Calvin and Hobbes were initially just minor characters who appeared in the comic strips. One of the syndicates suggested drawing a comic about these characters. Ironically, the same syndicate turned down the Calvin and Hobbes strip. The Universal Press Syndicate alone took the risk and published its comic strips.

The Calvin and Hobbes era

Between 1985 and 1995 Calvin and Hobbes appeared in 2,300 newspapers. Calvin's father looks very much like Bill Watterson's father at the appropriate age. To date, more than 23 million Calvin and Hobbes books have been sold.

The last comic strip appeared on December 31, 1995. In his farewell letter to the newspaper editors he wrote the following:

“It is a decision that I did not make easy for myself and I do not announce my resignation without pain, but recently I have started to be more and more interested in other things. In view of the constraints that the tight deadlines and the small drawing fields have imposed on me, I think that I did my best. I want to have more time for myself in the future and have to make fewer artistic compromises. I haven't thought about future projects yet, but I will continue to work with Universal Press Syndicate. "

Contrary to the usual marketing policy for comic strips, Watterson always resisted the marketing of his characters (e.g. on mugs, T-shirts, etc.). He also prevented marketing as a television series.

In November 2012, one of his Calvin & Hobbes cartoons fetched $ 203,150 at auction at Heritage Auctions (Dallas). This makes the hand-painted original from 1986 the size of an A4 sheet of paper the most expensive cartoon ever to be auctioned off.


Today Bill Watterson lives in seclusion with his wife and daughter in Cleveland Heights (Ohio). He has not given any interviews since the late 1980s until early 2010. His favorite comics are Charles M. Schulz ' Peanuts and the strips Krazy Kat (published 1913-1944) and Pogo (published 1948-1975). He participated in the editions of the strip Pearls before Swine by the artist Stephan Pastis from June 4-6 , 2014.

Honors / Awards (selection)


  • Linda Holmen, Mary Santella-Johnson, Bill Watterson: Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes . Cover and supplementary art by Jan Roebken. Playground Pub, Fargo, ND 1993, ISBN 1-878849-15-8 .
  • Nevin Martell: Looking for Calvin and Hobbes . The unusual story of Bill Watterson and his legendary comic strip. Carlsen Verlag, Hamburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-551-78377-6 .

Web links


  1. Spiegel online Kultur November 20, 2012: Auction in Dallas - "Calvin & Hobbes" comic achieves record price , accessed on November 22, 2012.
  2. Pastis' blog entry about the collaboration with Watterson
  3. Jutta Harms: A run-down rock star mouse in a pair of panties. The largest European comic festival took place in Angoulême, France - the Berlin scene also presented itself for the first time. In: Berliner Zeitung . P. 24 (features), number 29, February 4, 2014.