Thursday, July 31, 2008

IT'S A MAGICAL WORLD by Bill Watterson

The Book: Bill Watterson, IT'S A MAGICAL WORLD: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection. Andrews and McMeel large-format paperback, 1996. Very good condition.
First read: 1996
Owned since: 1996

Endings are hard. Calvin and Hobbes ran for just over ten years -- from November 1985 to December 1995, with two breaks -- and it's hard to believe they've now been gone for longer than they lived on the comics page.

I admire Bill Watterson for many reasons, but the way he ended Calvin and Hobbes tops the list. He wrote a letter to his editors, saying he'd decided to stop the strip at the end of the year; his interests had shifted, and he wanted to work "at a more thoughtful pace, with fewer artistic compromises."

This book collects the last Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, ending with the one that appeared on December 31, 1995. Calvin and Hobbes venture out into a winter wonderland, with Hobbes carrying a toboggan:

Calvin: Wow, it really snowed last night! Isn't it wonderful?

Hobbes: Everything familiar has disappeared! The world looks brand-new!
Calvin: A new year ... a fresh, clean start!

Hobbes: It's like having a big white sheet of paper to draw on!
Calvin: A day full of possibilities!

Calvin: It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy ... let's go exploring!

The last panel is a big expanse of white, with Calvin and Hobbes riding the toboggan away from us, into the woods.

So I'm off exploring. No, I don't know what the next incarnation of the blog will be. I might announce it sometime during the month ahead, but I might not. August is overbooked even for me, and I'm going to have a hard time doing everything I've promised to do and being everywhere I've promised to be. I will probably post a few reading lists between now and September 1, and will post one over the weekend if I have time.

When I return on September 1, I'll be posting from Brooklyn, where I will be living until October 5. I'm going to be the Assistant Stage Manager for my friend Matt's musical, "She Can't Believe She Said That!", which will run as part of the New York Musical Festival from September 26 to October 5. Details and ticket information are here; come see us! (Important note to my clients: everyone associated with this production still has day jobs. I'm still working on your projects, and I'm still accepting new work.)

This year's blog has been deeply personal. I'm grateful to everyone who's stopped by to leave a comment, and especially to my friends who participated with guest posts. A good book is its own magical world, and thanks to everyone who's visited them with me.

10 comments:

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

It's been a tremendous year. Thanks so much for giving me something to look forward to every day, and I can't wait to see what you choose to do next. Now have fun exploring!

Tom

Ed Lamb said...

Another great year of posts. Thanks.

BTW: Bittersweetly coincidental that my word for verification is "endzd"

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that the stage managing will be an awfullot of fun. I am jealous.

R. "eeyore" B.

Larry said...

Though the eyes of a child, Calvin, Bill Watterson reminded us each day of the wonders and possibilities all around us.

Enjoy NYC. Hope the temperatures stay cool.

Laura said...

I will go back and read posts I've missed while you're away. This blog has been such a revelation. Can't wait to see what's next! xo

AnswerGirl said...

Thanks, everybody!

Archimedes Principle said...

You've enriched my appreciation of the deep and varied world of literature. Can't wait to see the next incarnation of your blog.
Best wishes
Peter

Sarah said...

You don't know me, but I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for the interesting year.

Caleb said...

Great stuff. Thanks for everything.

John Schramm said...

I can't believe it's been a year. Looking forward to the next incarnation. Hope you enjoy your travels.