Dear Mr. Watterson

Synopsis: Of American newspaper comic strips, few great ones have been so short-lived, and yet so enduring in the public, than "Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Watterson. This film explores the strip, its special artistic qualities and its extraordinary lasting appeal decades after its conclusion. Furthermore, the film explores the impact of Bill Watterson, a cartoonist with high artistic ideals and firm principles who defied the business conventions of a declining medium. Although he forwent a merchandising fortune for his strip, various associates and colleagues speak about how Watterson created a legacy that would be an inspiration for years to come.
Genre: Documentary
Production: Gravitas Ventures
Rotten Tomatoes:
89 min

A comic strip, to me is a

story. It could be a brief story.

It's like having the opportunity

to get a peek into people,

characters, lives.

And they can make you laugh,

they can make you cry,

just have an impact on you.

For that time that you read it,

it's a world unto itself.

My mom was always

trying to get me to read.

And I wasn't really into books

with words, so to speak.

My dad brought home a couple

of Calvin and Hobbes books.

And he showed me some

comic strips of Calvin and Hobbes.

And I was like, whoa.

- And I can remember

opening it up.

I turn the page and --

Hobbes wanted me to have this,

and from that point on,

it's been me, Calvin, and Hobbes.

I met Calvin and Hobbes

in the paper, I think,

the way most people did.

Looking through the comics

and Calvin and Hobbes was

always one that stood out.

My grandmother is a huge fan

of Calvin and Hobbes.

My first and only crime,

I shoplifted this book.

- And I found this book of

Complete Calvin and Hobbes.

It was in English,

but I said, I don't care.

I'm going to learn this language

just to understand this book.

I was babysitting, and a couple

of the kids that I babysat,

they had some books.

All the books got passed to me,

and ended up in my room for a while,

and we would be trading them

back and forth.

I hadn't seen a strip before,

but I saw the book in a bookstore.

And it was on sale.

It was like $3

or something like that.

So I was like, alright,

I'll look at it.

Fold it open, and the first thing

I saw was the snowmen.

And I burst out laughing

and proceeded to get trouble

in English class.

I remember just reading that thing

over and over and over.

Even now, as I re-read them

and I continue to re-read them,

I discover so many layers now.

And it's never boring or old.

It's just like a living thing,

and I just discover it

and appreciate it more.

Calvin is like the kid

you want to be, you know.

Even if you're a 300-pound

black kid, I mean,

you still want to be Calvin.

- I did want to be Calvin.

I felt like I was Calvin.

We were both six years old

in 1985.

We liked tigers, space,

playing in the snow,

had fathers who loved

building character.

And I took pride in the fact

that my first hairstyle

was quite Calvin-esque.

But the truth is that I don't

really remember

when I first met Calvin and Hobbes.

I'd like to think I was

a reader from day one,

but I know that isn't possible.

My hometown newspaper didn't

even start carrying the strip

until spring of 1988.

The earliest memory that

I can stamp with a date

would be third grade

in Mrs. Smith's classroom,

when I saw a Calvin and Hobbes


in the Scholastic book catalog.

But if I examine my books,

I find that the only one

with a Scholastic logo is

Scientific Progress Goes Boink,

with a copyright of 1991.

If I didn't discover Calvin and Hobbes

until that late in life,

I'm secretly embarrassed.

And I would also blame my parents.

That little boy seemed

kind of naughty,

and I didn't know if I wanted

my son interested

in a naughty comic character.

- Apparently, no thanks to my mom,

Calvin and Hobbes were

just always there.

And I don't really remember

life without them.

I may have fallen in love

with Calvin and Hobbes as a kid,

but it's one of those rare things

that still holds great significance

to me as an adult.

I really can't think of anything else

from my childhood that has retained

so much value.

I don't claim to be an expert

on comics.

I'm not even close.

I never read comic books.

I haven't read the newspaper

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Dear Mr. Watterson" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 27 Nov. 2020. <>.

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