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'Calvin' Creator Says: 'I'd Rather be Painting'

Ruth Perot of Fairhope, Ala., asks, "Whatever happened to Bill Watterson?"

Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, left the cartoonist trade in a highly publicized exit in 1995.

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The immensely popular strip about the oft-diabolical antics of six-year-old Calvin and his philosophizing tiger, Hobbes, appeared in 2,400 newspapers at the height of its popularity.

But Mr. Watterson wasn't enticed by fame or fortune. Even more so, he was discouraged by the shackles of newspaper deadlines and the shrivelling space allotted comic strips. Watterson said in a statement announcing his retirement, "I am eager to work at a more thoughtful pace, with fewer artistic compromises."

Never known for his chattiness, Watterson prefers to live a quiet life by declining interviews.

His publisher, Andrews and McMeel, says only that he's pursuing painting somewhere in the Midwest. And he has no plans for future cartoon work.

Watterson drew the strip for a decade and his 14 books are still in print. But if you're looking for a mug sporting a Calvin witticism, you won't find it. Watterson refuses to license his characters for merchandising - or pocket the millions in profit. Anything you might see is an illegal copy.

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