Not that it’s any of my business, but I am concerned about Bill Watterson. The brilliant creator of “Calvin and Hobbes” has now been in retirement for almost eight years, living VERY quietly in Chagrin Falls, supposedly painting landscapes and then burning them, refusing interviews, autographs, communication with the outside world.
I went to high school with Bill, knew him well enough to chat amiably (he illustrated two stories I wrote for the school literary mag), knew his now-wife better from playing in the marching band together, and was very excited and gratified by his success.
I understand taking a break from the circus, I understand shunning the starmaking machinery, I understand burn-out, I understand preferring the quiet life of low responsibility, hassle, and noise. But dude, don’t let it turn pathological, don’t let the insularity become its own rationale, don’t be resentful of the interest and attention, don’t be a hermit, buddy!
The Cleveland Scene weekly has a feature on him this week, but there is nothing new to report, and I found the whole exercise rather dispiriting, although the writer, James Renner, makes a perceptive comparison between Watterson and J.D. Salinger. Man, I hope he isn’t that far gone.
Bill, life is too short, come out to play at least once in a while, acknowledge your gift and the joy it has brought to millions, see it as a privilege rather than a burden, lighten the hell up! You’re not John Lennon, you’re a fucking cartoonist. Don’t make us worry about you anymore, okay?