New York Magazine: how did WSJ track down Bill Watterson

Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson’s review of the Schulz and Peanuts biography that appeared in the Wall Street Journal had New York Magazine wondering how the newspaper tracked down the reclusively retired cartoonist. Long story short – they went through the syndicate. The magazine references an article over at the Cleveland Scene who, in 2003, went out looking for Bill with no success. That article has a few tidbits of information that might not be generally known.

6 thoughts on “New York Magazine: how did WSJ track down Bill Watterson

  1. It’s funny to read these “Where’s Watterson” stories. Before I became the editorial cartoonist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, I got my start following Watterson as the Editorial Cartoonist for a chain of suburban weeklies called Sun Newspapers. There were about 18 of them…for a brief time my cartoons appeared in about 3 and Wattersons were in the rest because the editor of the three papers I was in didn’t care for Wattersons Editorial cartoons. Soon after I started, Calvin started to take off and Watterson stopped doing editorial cartoons for Sun Newspapers and I got the offer to run in all 18 papers. So Wattersons good fortune turned out to be my big break to get into the profession. I’d sent him a note thru Sun papers at the time, but never heard from him. Years later when I’m with the Plain Dealer, a young student from a Cleveland suburb comes for a visit and when were talking about comic strips she tells me how, every now and then, she sees Watterson working out in his yard,raking leaves…no big deal. This was right around the time one of these “Where’s Watterson” stories were running. So I thought that was pretty funny. I just heard Eric Clapton talk about how he lives in Columbus with his young wife and loves how everyone leaves him alone and treats him like just one of the guys as he tools around in his American muscle car. He’s probably cruising with Watterson or has a Calvin sticker on the back window
    Jeff Darcy

  2. We had touched on this in the earlier topic thread when news of Bill Watterson’s review was posted here on TDC. For many here the Where’s Watterson question isn’t one of physical locality. It’s more of a question of why isn’t one of the most prolific cartoonists of our time contributing his great experience and knowledge of the art form to others in the industry? With all the worry and talk about the industry changing and the doomsday scenarios being played out about the state of newspapers and the competition the internet provides (blah blah blah), I’d think we would need a Bill Watterson now more than ever.

  3. Garey,
    I understand that and agree…It’s really driven home when you see young kids who weren’t even born when the strip ran, discover it and get hooked. Even today when I go to grade schools and ask kids if they read the comics and ask for favorites I always hear kids calling out his strip. I just thought it was funny that at the same time stories were running about Wattersons residence I had this young girl waltz in and say “Just saw him out in the yard the other day”

  4. You know it’s funny you say that. My nephew LOVES Calvin and Hobbes. He is 13 (Actually now rounding the corner to 14) and recently discovered the strip in a book that his Language Arts teacher had in his classroom. For him, he thought it was the greatest new strip he ever read and he asked if I ever heard of it, which prompted quite a laugh from me.

    Perhaps in light of this Watterson’s presence hasn’t gone missing. Perhaps he chooses to let his work speak FOR him on all levels of the art form as new generations discover and explore his strip.

    Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part in wanting a more proactive Bill Watterson.

    I wonder if he reads TDC?

  5. I can’t remember whether we covered the subject on this site, or the Wisen, but I previously said I wouldn’t want Watterson to come back, I sincerely doubt if he has it any more, even if he wanted to resurrect C&H. There was a time for Watterson and C&H, but that time is gone.

    I can sympathise totally with how people who love cartoons feel, especially those who think that there’s no chance of a strip in the future making the splash that C&H did. I agree with that view.

  6. “thereâ??s no chance of a strip in the future making the splash that C&H did”

    What? Of course there is. That’s just plain crazy. C & H was a great strip, one of the best strips to ever grace the comics pages. But to say that no strip could ever muster up that kind of adoration is pretty ridiculous, I’d say. Now you’re putting it too high on the pedestal.

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