One of our favourite upcoming new books for the fall is Nevin Martell's biography of Bill Watterson, the man behind Calvin and Hobbes. "Biography" can be a slippery word, of course. This book does indeed chronicle Watterson's life and career but it necessarily stops short and turns into something else - a detective story, of sorts, and a rumination on why some artists shun the limelight with such admirable determination.
If you want to read a PDF of the book's prologue, Nevin will happily oblige. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The book will be published in October. Here's the copy about it:
For ten years, between 1985 and 1995, Calvin and Hobbes was one the world's most beloved comic strips. And then, on the last day of 1995, the strip ended. Its mercurial and reclusive creator, Bill Watterson, not only finished the strip but withdrew entirely from public life. There is no merchandising associated with Calvin and Hobbes: no movie franchise; no plush toys; no coffee mugs; no t-shirts (except a handful of illegal ones). There is only the strip itself, and the books in which it has been compiled - including The Complete Calvin and Hobbes: the heaviest book ever to hit the New York Times bestseller list.
In Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip, writer Nevin Martell traces the life and career of the extraordinary, influential, and intensely private man behind Calvin and Hobbes. With input from a wide range of artists and writers (including Dave Barry, Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Lethem, and Brad Bird) as well as some of Watterson's closest friends and professional colleagues, this is as close as we're ever likely to get to one of America's most ingenious and intriguing figures - and a fascinating detective story, at the same time.
Only 3,160 Calvin and Hobbes strips were ever produced, but Watterson has left behind an impressive legacy. Calvin and Hobbes references litter the pop culture landscape and his fans are as varied as they are numerable. Looking for Calvin and Hobbes is an affectionate and revealing book about uncovering the story behind this most uncommon trio – a man, a boy, and his tiger.