Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson has been, and remains, a very private person. He's a hard man to find, as is any original artwork featuring his beloved creations: the angst-ridden, wisecracking, shrewd 6-year-old and the stuffed tiger who, from 1985 until 1995, served as his best friend and foil.
For that reason, among so many others, Heritage Auctions
will offer original artwork for a strip from 1987 in the Sept. 8-12 Comics and Comic Art Signature Auction.
"Offering a Watterson Calvin and Hobbes original is always a special treat since Heritage has only offered 10 originals in 20 years," says Heritage Auctions comic grader Xavier E. Chavez. "Most never left the artist's vault and were only given to family and friends, making collectors fight for any example that comes to market. This winter-themed strip was gifted to the consignor commemorating the birth of their own 'little Calvin,' as it reads on the inscription."
At the time of this artwork's creation, the series was only 2 years old. Run alongside such beloved, long-running strips as Family Circus, Ziggy and Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes quickly attained legendary status. Indeed, by 1986 Watterson was already a Reuben Award-winner, courtesy the National Cartoonists Society. In short order, the adventures of the titular characters appeared in more than 2,400 newspapers across the globe.
Watterson's daily comic strip, partially inspired by his upbringing in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, resonated heavily with kids who didn't have friends like Charlie Brown or a large family like the Keane family. Mixing the angst of growing up with a wild (and sometimes demented) imagination, the strip remains a favorite of several generations.
In this four-panel strip, Calvin and Hobbes build "the strongest snow fort ever made!" Discussing its structural integrity, the final panel reveals its inconvenient location: blocking in Calvin's father's car and making his dad scream, "WHERE'S THAT KID?!"
This is classic Calvin and Hobbes material showcasing a child's desire to be creative, while also challenging the pressures and demands of being an adult. Calvin saw what was ahead of him with age, and he rebelled against it every step of the way. Whether he was causing trouble for his parents, his babysitter Rosalyn or his classmate Susie, his antics made millions grin, laugh and pause with each strip. Because, as Calvin once said, "Life's a lot more fun when you aren't responsible for your actions."
And given how reclusive and elusive Watterson is, another of his famously quoted lines comes to mind as this incredibly rare strip heads to market for the first time: "The best presents don't come in boxes." Sometimes, they come in auctions.