William Boyd "Bill" Watterson II (born July 5, 1958) is an American cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, which was syndicated from 1985 to 1995. Watterson stopped drawing Calvin and Hobbes at the end of 1995 with a short statement to newspaper editors and his readers that he felt he had achieved all he could in the medium.
Watterson is known for his negative views on licensing and comic syndication, his efforts to expand and elevate the newspaper comic as an art-form, and his move back into private life after he stopped drawing Calvin and Hobbes. Watterson was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, whose suburban Midwestern United States setting was part of the inspiration for his work.
Tropes in his work:
- Creator Backlash: One of the reasons Watterson discontinued the strip in 1995 was pressure from publishers to commercialize his work, something which he felt would cheapen the characters by devaluing their personalities, or worse, that Universal Press would license Calvin and Hobbes without his permission or even hire a new artist to draw the strip, so he published the last Calvin and Hobbes strip on 12/31/1995, with a farewell message. In spite of his efforts to retain creative control, numerous unauthorized forms of merchandise deluged the market, including the infamous "Peeing Calvin" decals. Famously, no crackdowns have been made on these because they are not official merchandise and therefore would mean no loss of profit.
- Creator's Pest: Watterson regretted creating the short-lived character of Uncle Max for the strip, feeling it was a failed attempt to bring something new out of Calvin, but it just went nowhere because he had no real chemistry with Calvin, and it was awkward with him not being able to call Calvin's parents by their names. After a brief story arc with him, Max was put on a plane and permanently vanished from the comic.
- Signature Style: His comic strip combines the wondrous elements of childhood imagination and the curiosity of that time period but mixes it with sophisticated humor and political conversations.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: His brilliant comic strip may be leaning slightly more towards the idealistic end. Watterson himself has a more cynical yet respectable perspective on licensing and syndication.