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Well and truly transmogrified! - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Well and truly transmogrified!

I rarely pick up a daily newspaper anymore. If I'm eating lunch someplace where they have courtesy copies, I'll read one, but I rarely go out of my way to read for the sake of reading one (in the office, for instance, where we get the daily paper but I hardly ever look). Sunday is different, because we get the local fishwrap delivered- not because we want it, but because the Buffalo News made the odd but understandable decision to charge less for Sunday-only paper subscribers to access their paywalled site than they do for non-paper subscribers. (It's to maintain their advertising rates, which are based on physical rather than virtual circulation.)

About the only thing not readily readable online is the paper's comics section. Yeah, you can view a "digital replica" of the physical paper, but it's hard to navigate; or, you can view most comics online through various sites. Problem is, for the most part, 2014 comics suck.  The Sunday News comics section is firmly stuck in the late 1960s, with reruns of Peanuts, ridiculously unfunny features like "Moose Miller" and "Funky Winkerbean," and, I kid you not, the continuing story of Prince Valiant on the back page which is stuck seven centuries earlier.  I scan the six-page section in about three minutes, from Blondie to Beakman, and there's rarely anything to talk about with family or co-workers that day or any day.

Until this week.


Thursday morning, I left the house early, had time for an actual breakfast out, and accompanied it with that morning's paper.  Didn't even bother to check the comics section, because the daily offerings are even duller, generally- "Doonesbury" is in daily reruns now, and the allocated space is so tiny you can barely appreciate the artwork or the text.  But that morning's paper contained the second of three Historic Things which I only learned about this morning:

Bill Watterson came back.

That link tells the tale, in the voice and amazing experience of Stephen Pastis, the artist behind the comic "Pearls Before Swine." I'm vaguely familiar with it; it's cute, but it's nothing I'd seek out.  Weeks ago, Stephan, his semi-autobiographical protagonist riffed on the Watterson legacy, in this strip:

One thing led to another, and Pastis heard back from Bigfoot himself. He liked it, hey Stevie! And he wanted to run a strip idea by the PBS creator!

So I wrote back to Bill.

“Dear Bill,

I will do whatever you want, including setting my hair on fire.”

In time, the two developed the concept, and Pastis drew the beginnings and ends of three daily strips, leaving Watterson to fill in the middle, as only he could.  The conceit for the storyline was that "Stephan" had been smacked down by a seven-year old reader named Libby (shortened to Lib, sort-of short for Bill), who said his drawing sucked. Libby then entered the continuity as the "artist" of the three days' strips.

You can see them, in glorious color and size, by clicking to display:

June 4th

June 5th (the one wot I bought)

June 6th

Then, this morning, came the Big Reveal in the form of the blog post above. One of Watterson's conditions was that it not be announced until all three had run. It's rather fun reading the comments on each, which went from snarky to near-reverential once they knew what was going on.

So Dear Mr. Watterson has surfaced, however briefly. Only time will tell whether this will prime the pump for future creativity, or if all we'll be left with is an unauthorized decal of Libby pissing on a Prius logo.

1 comment or Leave a comment
warriorsavant From: warriorsavant Date: June 8th, 2014 12:54 pm (UTC) (Link)


Didn't know about this, but agree with you on every point you make about comics in general and Calvin & Hobbes in particular. Like many people (essentially every single person who saw it), I am still awestruck by the final cartoon.
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