Christie: Well, let's talk about your peers for a bit.
Watterson: You're gonna get me in trouble.
Christie: No, no; you can say anything you want.
Watterson: Yeah, that's what's going to get me into trouble.
Christie: What about Gary Larson?
Watterson: I really like the lunacy of The Far Side. It's a one-panel strip so it's a slightly different animal than a four-panel strip like mine. I don't really compare one-panel strips to four-panels strips because there are different opportunities with each. Larson's working with one picture and a handful of words, and given that, I think he's one of the most inventive guys in comics. The four-panel strip has more potential for storyline and character involvement than just a single panel. But I do enjoy his stuff a lot.
Christie: What about Jim Davis?
Watterson: Uh…Garfield is…(long pause)…consistent.
This is probably about the only interview Bill Watterson did. I'm a big fan of both Calvin and Hobbes and of Bill Watterson.
And even though I met Jim Davis (April 20, 1981 at 2:30 pm in Lauderdale Lakes Mall, which doesn't exist anymore), I can say for certain that Garfield is … consistent (although the earlier strips were much better than what is going on nowadays).
Update on Wednesday, October 18th, 2006
I found another interview!
Hoade and I have been at the Lauderdale Lakes Mall all day, waiting to meet Jim Davis of Garfield. It was a big thing for the both of us, and fortunately for us, it was also the last day of Easter Vacation that year.
We were aspiring cartoonists back then, Hoade and I. He with his Bachelor's Pad (and what did a 12 year old know of bachelors?) and I with my Mr. Featherhead (subconsciencely stealing from Shoe according to Hoade; I still think otherwise). We bought our Garfield books with us that day (there were only three out in 1981) and a few strips to show Mr. Davis.
At 2:00 pm, we headed to the bookstore and waiting paitently in line with about two dozen other people; we were the only kids there, waiting our chance to meet with greatness. And at 2:30 pm, we were in front of the signing table, shoving our books and strips into Jim Davis' face. He was gracious enough to sign all of them and if we chatted, I've long forgotten what we chatted about.
The Miami Herald Morgue
This search feature includes recent articles and special archived subjects on our web site. If you would like to search for older articles dating back to 1982, visit the NewsLibrary. Searching the NewsLibrary is free but there is a fee to retrieve an article. [I guess this means I can't link to the article]
But while there, we met a reporter from the Miami Herald. She (and alas, I've forgotten her name) was impressed with the two kids waiting to meet Jim Davis that she wanted to do a human interest story on us. So the following Saturday, my maternal grandfather drove us all the way down to Miami for the interview. We even submitted both our strips.
Of course they printed Hoade's. It was the funnier of the two by far (nothing like a 12 year old drawing a strip of someone in their 20s beset with a huge hangover and hearing the grass growing outside). Mine never saw the light of day.
Ah well. I don't think I had the patience to draw a strip every day, even though I tried a few times afterwards.
After reading a thread about Berke Breathed's interview in the Onion on Slashdot, I got to thinking about newspaper comics, and I'm of the opinion that the newspaper comic is truely a 20th centure phenomenon and that they won't really survive all that long in the 21st century (although they may be about for the next decade or so).
Just as the first newspaper strips started out in the 1890s (as we know them now), the first online strips, made exclusively for Internet distribution, appeared in the early 1990s, starting with Dr. Fun on September 23, 1993. While I wasn't around for the start of the newspaper comics, I was around for the start of online comics and I do remember downloading (via FTP when it first started, although it was also available on USENET (I don't recall which group though) as well. And now, eight years later (nearly), there are possibly more online comics than there are newspaper based comics.
The innovative strips are now being done on the web. And like the old joke goes, the good news is there are no editors; the bad news is there are no editors. Nor is there a syndication that will reject a strip because it's dull, racey, or not the current fad, or the next Garfield or any other number of excuses. Nor are there space or format restrictions (although most still follow the daily three or four panel format found in newspapers). It's an open field, ripe for exploration (and Scott McCloud is pretty much shouting this out to anyone that cares to listen).