Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes Pop Up in French Exhibition

Illustration of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes from “The Indispensible Calvin and Hobbes”, (1992). Courtesy of © Bill Watterson - Bill Watterson Deposit Collection, The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

The 2015 Festival Internationale de la Bande Dessinée (Angoulême’s International Comic Art Festival), which runs through through February 1, will have an American comic presence this year with an exhibition dedicated to the art of “Calvin and Hobbes” creator Bill Watterson.

The Exhibition, titled “Bill Watterson–À la Recherche de Calvin et Hobbes” (The Quest for Calvin and Hobbes) exhibits nearly 200 works of original art from Watterson’s career, including examples of his early work with notes from Watterson himself. There are also examples of comic strips that influenced him, such as Waly Kelly’s “Pogo” and George Herriman‘s “Krazy Kat.”

Watterson, who won last year’s Grand Prix (the event’s highest award), designed this year’s logo and is participating as its acting president, though he will not be present. Curators Jenny Robb and Caitlin McGurk, who curated a recent exhibition of Watterson’s work at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library Museum, will be representing him in his place, reports The Washington Post.

“Although he will not be attending, the organizers of the festival wanted to showcase [Watterson’s] work with an exhibition. The timing was very good, because we had already been planning an exhibition of ‘Calvin and Hobbes,’ which debuted at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum last year,” said Robb. “We were delighted to work with the organizers of the festival to make it possible for the exhibit to travel to France.”

“We are being brought over as guests of the festival, essentially to represent Bill Watterson and the exhibit,” said McGurk. “Bill Watterson … does not do public appearances, so Jenny and I are assuming the role of being the next-best-thing.”

Watterson retired from cartooning in 1995, but recently he made a rare appearance contributing last July to the daily comic strip “Pearls Before Swine.” This was his first public work in twenty years.

Europe’s largest comic festival, the International Comic Art Festival will last four-days, through February 1.  Along with exhibitions of Watterson and comic book artist Jack Kirby, the event will also pay tribute to the artists of Charlie Hebdo.


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