|Drawing by Bill Watterson|
Despite the fact that he had put away his brushes twenty years ago, Bill Watterson, "daddy" of Calvin & Hobbes, was named Grand Prix of the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2014. But his fans and organizers were under no illusions about his participation in the next edition -that he is supposed to preside- for the 56 year old cartoonist had hardly appeared in public since 1995.
But we must assume that he was not insensible to the homage that was granted him since he has, against all odds, agreed to design the poster for the 2015 edition.
Do you appreciate having been appointed Grand Prix of the Angoulême festival?
To be honest, the world of festivals and their rewards is far removed from my daily concerns. But I'm always flattered to hear that people continue to enjoy my work!
You will preside the next edition. Will you travel to France?
No. My participation will be limited to drawing the official poster -which is done, and to send some of my cartoons in order to feed an exhibition devoted to my work.
You haven't drawn in a long time. Why did you agree to create the official poster?
I thought it was an interesting challenge ... and it really has been!
What did you want to express in this poster?
First I wanted to evoque my own work, so I drew a panel about reading comic strips found in the Sunday newspapers supplements... then I found it amusing to present it inside a newspaper, as if it was one of those strips. To make the whole more universal, I deleted all dialogue, avoiding any language barrier. Telling a story only in pictures is one of the great strengths -and great pleasure - offered by comics. In this sense, I hope I've managed to express both my work and comics in general. And to pay tribute to what makes this medium so pleasant to read.
Calvin and Hobbes have made you a celebrity. Why do they not appear on the poster?
I've never used my characters to promote anything other than my own work, and here, the goal is to promote comics as a whole.
An interview with Michael Cavna in Comic Riffs.