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Now that Watterson no longer writes Calvin - what to do?

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Caricature of Bill Watterson


With Bill Watterson no longer publishing - you might find a kindred spirit in Walt Kelly

I learned to read over 60 years ago. It was in the 50s - and at Christmas Santa left a book of cartoons in my stocking. The title was 'Pogo'. The next year it was 'I Go Pogo' - or perhaps 'Pogo Papers', I don't remember, but they came at Christmas while the supply lasted. I'm sure my parents were just stuffing my stocking, but it was one of the more significant things that happed to me. (Raising kids is a highly nonlinear process.) Walt Kelly was the cartoonist. Over the those years, Kelly not only entertained me, he shaped my sense of humor. 30 years later, along comes Bill Watterson and I put Calvin and Hobbes into my son's Christmas stocking. I imagine that Bill Watterson has had much the same effect on people, two generations later, that Kelly did.

Perhaps it's because I read him in my formative years, (but I think it is because it is so) I consider Walt Kelly the most inventive cartoonist that lived. He could be straightforward, clever, subtle and blunt in the same cartoon. Like Watterson - you can enjoy Kelly at any age. And Kelly developed a lot of characters as well many caricatures. No one has ever matched Kelly. Only a few (less than 5) have merited comparison. Watterson is one of those. While he was too late to shape my sense of humor - he has certainly appealed to it. And that tells me that he and Kelly are kindred spirits.

I was just reading through 'Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book' - published almost 20 years ago. And that made me think of Walt Kelly, and wish I could be 8 years old again, seeing Pogo for the first time. Actually, the first time I saw Calvin and Hobbes - well more like about the 10th strip I read - I thought of Kelly. I can offer no higher praise.

So what? Just this. After you have read through Calvin and Hobbes for the second time (like I have), and you are thinking - what next? - go find the old Pogo books. Like Calvin and Hobbes, they are timeless. And if you are new to Pogo, you may find yourself thinking that Walt Kelly and Bill Watterson are kindred spirits.


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