A boy looks at a comic strip on display during the third International Comics Festival in 2010. Bill Watterson, creator of "Calvin and Hobbes," released a new piece Wednesday. Reuters
Reclusive "Calvin and Hobbes" creator Bill Watterson drew a new 15-panel comic strip for the 2015 Angoulême International Comics Festival. Watterson, known widely as a private artist who never appears in public or gives interviews, designed the festival's poster. Organizers publishedan announcement in French calling the poster Watterson's first full comic strip since "Calvin and Hobbes" ended in 1995.
The poster, which promoted the festival set for Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, was released Wednesday. It followed a man who asked his mischievous dog to fetch the newspaper, got locked out of his house, lost his pants and ended up reading the comics in jail. "Watterson sets here, with pleasing humor and expression, what we know as a fundamental principle: Comics, beyond the contingencies and uncertainties of life, can be read anytime and anywhere, and nothing in the world can prevent it!" the post read, translated from French.
Watterson said he decided to draw the poster because he saw it as a challenge, the artist told 20 Minutes. He said he removed all the dialogue so it could be universally enjoyed without language barriers. "To tell a story in pictures is only one of the great strengths -- and the great pleasures -- comics offer," he said. "In this sense, I hope I have managed to express both my work and comics in general. And to pay tribute to what makes this medium so pleasant to read."
Watterson was named president of the international comics festival but didn't have plans to attend. "To be honest, the world of festivals and their reward is far removed from my daily concerns," Watterson told 20 Minutes. "But I'm always flattered to hear that you continue to enjoy my work!"
Watterson had designed posters before: This past February, he drew a poster for the documentary "Stripped." Watterson was also guest illustrator on "Pearls Before Swine" earlier this year.
Calvin and Hobbes didn't appear on Angoulême's poster because Watterson didn't want them used for promotional purposes.