Big news came this week for the Calvin and Hobbes Kickstarter funded documentary Dear Mr. Watterson. After an impressive showing at film festivals around the country, Joel Schroeder’s love letter to the comic’s legacy has been picked up for distribution and will be in North American theaters starting November 15th.
The Kickstarter campaign for the film that took Schroeder six years to finish raised over $120,000 from more than 2000 backers, surpassing its original goal in three weeks instead of three months. It’s safe to say that even though the strip’s been retired for almost twenty years, the fan base is alive and kicking.
The strip’s notoriously elusive writer, Bill Watterson, will not appear in the film. Instead, it will feature interviews from fans and Watterson’s contemporaries like Stephan Pastis of Pearls Before Swine, Jef Mallett of Frazz, Keith Knight of The K Chronicles, Jan Eliot of Stone Soup, and Bill Amend of Fox Trot, and Berke Breathed of Bloom County, Outland and Opus.
The film’s guiding question is what makes Calvin and Hobbes so significant to us, making the fans as much of a subject of the film as Watterson himself.
The original score for the film was done by the DC area band We Were Pirates, whose work has floated around on outlets like NPR’s This American Life and MTV’s The Real World.
It’s impossible to analyze the comic’s legacy without a look at Watterson’s stalwart refusal to relinquish any of its rights. Would our view of Calvin and Hobbes be any different if there were a stuffed Hobbes on every toy shelf and an animated series in syndication?
Check out the Dear Mr. Watterson trailer:
If you want to catch another Kickstarter title that Watterson did in fact lend his voice to, have a look at Stripped, an interesting take on our love for the doomed newspaper comic strip industry set to release on DVD in December.