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Bill Watterson, creator of the popular Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, has recently quashed all talk of a possible film adaptation – saying, “as a comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes works exactly the way I intended it to. There's no upside for me in adapting it.”
Finally. An artist thinking with his head and not his pocketbook. Having ended the strip in 1995, one might have thought Watterson would be eager to have his characters jump into the digital age. Not so, says Watterson, all the while acknowledging Pixar’s “visual sophistication.”
For trumpeting the graphic medium as the ultimate arena for his creation, Watterson should be commended. Too often, it seems the true intent of comics nowadays are simply to act as storyboards for the silver screen. Most times, however, the results pale to the magic of the original tale – so why bother tarnishing the source material?
Not every work of art need be all-things (or all media) to all people. Does every song become a painting? Does every television show become a sculpture? Of course not. So why is it that Hollywood has become so lazy as to simply mine each and every comic property in the hopes of landing the next franchise?
Here’s to Watterson for having the conviction to just say no. You want to enjoy Calvin and Hobbes? Pick up a collection at your local bookstore. Here, the adventure of a boy and his tiger remains pure and timeless – no CGI required. Let this sleeping tiger lie.