From Alan Gardner’s DailyCartoonist.com: TrackingBoard.com is reporting that Warner Bros has picked up a biopic script by Dan Dollar about Bill Watterson. Called “A Boy and His Tiger,” it chronicles Watterson’s early efforts to become a cartoonist, dealing with the popularity of the strip, and then his struggles with the syndicate to keep Calvin and Hobbes exclusively in the strip rather than to branch out to merchandising, which Watterson has always said would destroy the “life” of the characters who, for him, lived only in the strip. Gardner notes that studios option scripts all the time and nothing comes of the options. Although Watterson has given an interview recently (posted in its entirety in the Usual Place, RCHarvey.com, Rants & Raves, Opus 317), I doubt that he would be any kind of participant in the proposed movie.

Watterson was distinguished by his absence in the feature-length documentary, “Dear Mr. Watterson,” (trailer below) which examines the appeal and impact of Watterson’s strip. In the film, comic strip cartoonists speak to how they were personally influenced by Calvin and Hobbes. Says Sam Price-Waldman at theatlantic.com: “The film is a fascinating exploration into the artistic and philosophical harmony of the strip, narrated by filmmaker Joel Allen Schroeder.”

But without Watterson, how how good can it be?

The aforementioned interview was snagged by Mental Floss, the magazine of lasting trivia (“where knowledge junkies get their fix,” as it says on the cover). An article based upon the interview appears in the magazine’s December issue. While informative, the article doesn’t quote the entire interview, but the e-mail exchange between writer Jake Rossen and Watterson was published online by the magazine. (And at the Usual Place, as noted above.)

The magazine article includes some pictures and fascinating statistics ($737,000 was the amount Watterson’s syndicate was awarded in a judgment against a bootleg T-shirt manufacturer). To get the magazine; you can subscribe at http: // secure.palmcoastd.com/pcd/eSv, and if don’t like the magazine, you can cancel without paying. In effect, you get a free issue.

Poynter.org reports that Mental Floss Editor-in-Chief Mangesh Hattikudur says he has “no idea” why Watterson, a Pynchon-esque recluse, chose to give an interview to Jake Rossen. Rossen somehow got Watterson’s email address, Hattikudur tells Poynter in an email. “We have a few theories: it might be because we have ties to Ohio, and a town near where he grew up (we used to operate our little shop out of Chagrin Falls; his signed comics often show up in a book store around there). Or it might be because of how Jake approached him—in a very journalistic [rather than] a fawning fan way. We weren’t totally sure it was him — even though we put two fact-checkers on the case — until his syndicate had to go to him for approval to use Calvin and Hobbes as the main art on our cover. (He’s very protective about licensing). He gave us permission immediately.”

The magazine has “put other writers on the case before,” but none had Rossen’s luck, Hattikudur wrote. “It really stunned us when he pulled the interview.”

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference THE EVER-ABSENT WATTERSON:


The comments to this entry are closed.