by Eric Sandy
Cartoonist Bill Watterson's role in the upcoming documentary Stripped is an interesting and unexpected one. Even more delightful, though, is the artwork he's released as the documentary's poster.
His style, of course, is immediately recognizable and warming.
In 2003, former Scene staff writer James Renner penned a story about Watterson's life post-syndication here in Chagrin Falls. He focuses on some of the licensing (or lack thereof) madness that befell the strip's creator in the years following retirement. (You know those inane Calvin send-ups, right? Stickers on cars or T-shirts that feature the philosophical child taking a leak on, say, Michigan University's logo or some horseshit? Those are illegitimate encroachments on Watterson's creation and they will forever infuriate him.)
The mustached man steps out of the Popcorn Shop in Chagrin Falls, clutching a cup of frozen yogurt. His eyes scan passersby. He's looking for that stare of recognition, that sideways glance of familiarity. But no one seems to track him as he walks back toward his car. He climbs in and sets the rest of his frozen dessert onto the passenger seat, next to the oil paints he bought at the art store earlier. A hint of a smile appears. Another successful day of anonymity.
Then the man notices the large 4X4 truck parked in front of him. There it is — that mocking decal, stuck on the back window. It's Calvin, urinating on a Ford logo, grinning with gleeful malice.
The man's smile disappears. "My boy," he mutters ruefully. "Oh, my boy."