If you’ve heard that Bill Watterson has started a new comic strip, you have been misinformed. Bill Watterson has, instead, created a single multi-panel comic strip to promote the Angoulême International Comics Festival, which is happening in France at the end of January. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t very exciting.
The story of the 15-panel strip is pretty standard Mack Sennett material. What is most notable about it is what has always been notable about Watterson’s work: the extremes of the action and the subtlety of the characterizations. The main character goes from hope to shock to blind rage — and that is just in the first five panels. And it goes on from there, peaking in the penultimate panel with the character stark raving mad.
Of course, this isn’t the first thing that Watterson has done. Eight months ago, he did the poster for the documentary Stripped about the transition of comic strips from newspapers to the internet. Watterson gives one of his rare interviews in the film. It looks rather good:
As for the poster, well, it’s good, but more like Berke Breathed than something distinctly Watterson:
I assume we will continue to see things trickle in from Watterson. He clearly loves doing it. And I certainly can’t blame him for not wanting to grind out a daily strip. Regardless, we will all take whatever we can get.