“Repetition Is The Death Of Magic”: CALVIN & HOBBES Creator Proves He’s Great

Why Bill Watterson never wants an animated CALVIN & HOBBES movie.

Calvin and Hobbes was one of the great American comic strips, and then it ended. Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, resisted all attempts to merchandize the strip and to adapt it into a cartoon. For that he is a hero - not everything needs to become a cross-media brand with multiple monetization opportunities. Sometimes things are good as they are.

Watterson has been a bit reclusive in the years since ending his strip, but he has spoken with Mental Floss and reiterated his feelings on an animated Calvin and Hobbes, even if Pixar were to do it:

The visual sophistication of Pixar blows me away, but I have zero interest in animating Calvin and Hobbes. If you’ve ever compared a film to a novel it’s based on, you know the novel gets bludgeoned. It’s inevitable, because different media have different strengths and needs, and when you make a movie, the movie’s needs get served. As a comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes works exactly the way I intended it to. There’s no upside for me in adapting it.

That's great to read. I love that attitude. And I love his attitude about continuing the strip, or in any way returning to Calvin and Hobbes:

You can’t really blame people for preferring more of what they already know and like. The trade-off, of course, is that predictability is boring. Repetition is the death of magic.

YES. While I'd love to see more work from Watterson, I have no desire to see more Calvin and Hobbes if he feels finished with it. I don't need sequels and reboots of everything. There's comfort in revisiting great things, but there's WONDER in discovering new great things.

Watterson has been steadfast against licensing his characters, but that hasn't stopped a mini industry of Calvin peeing on things stickers (also an industry of Calvin worshipping the cross, one of the weirdest pop culture apporpriations ever), and Watterson has made his peace with that:

I figure that, long after the strip is forgotten, those decals are my ticket to immortality.

How weird is it that in the 21st century an artist who doesn't seek to commercialize his work is seen as the odd man out? Don't mind me - I'm old enough to remember when it was supremely uncool for rock bands to put their songs in commercials.