Bill Watterson, Richard Thompson talk cartooning, influences, exhibit

This weekend is the opening of the Bill Watterson and Richard Thompson exhibit at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Head curator Jenny Robb talks to Bill and curator Caitlin McGurk interviewed Richard about their art, influences, and the current state of comics. Excerpts below. Be sure to read the full interviews. And by all means, if you’re anywhere near Ohio this weekend – go to the exhibit.

Jenny talking to Bill:

JR: Richard Thompson?s work will be on display along with yours. What makes him a standout to you?

BW: Very few cartoonists do so much, so well. Richard is a wonderful writer and one of the rare ones who can write truly unique, hilarious characters. He?s drawn incisive caricatures, lavish illustrations, and one of the most beautiful comic strips I?ve ever seen. And just when you think it couldn?t be better, sometimes he paints the stuff. Richard has the extra-deluxe, jumbo-size skill set. It?s an inspiring body of work.

Caitlin talking to Richard:

CM: I understand that you and Bill Watterson have a close friendship. Can you tell us about the history between the two of you, and your thoughts on his work?

RT: I guess you could say that the whole world has a close friendship with Calvin and Hobbes (I know I do). I?d known Rich West, one of Bill?s closest friends, for years. Unknown to me, he sent Bill some of my old work and Bill liked it. God knows I admire his work and comic genius immensely, so getting approbation from him made my head swell noticeably. It was like receiving an ?atta boy? from Jesus Christ.