Spaceman Spiff won’t be hitting the big screen anytime soon. Neither will Stupendous Man, Tracer Bullet, or any other products of the precocious Calvin’s imagination.
In an email interview with Mental Floss, Bill Watterson, the famously reclusive mastermind behind the beloved comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, explained why he refuses to see his magnum opus adapted into an animated film.
“The visual sophistication of Pixar blows me away, but I have zero interest in animating Calvin and Hobbes,” he wrote. “If you’ve ever compared a film to a novel it’s based on, you know the novel gets bludgeoned. It’s inevitable, because different media have different strengths and needs, and when you make a movie, the movie’s needs get served. As a comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes works exactly the way I intended it to. There’s no upside for me in adapting it.”
Still, the cartoonist cleared the air about his reputation as a copyright control freak. When asked to verify a story about lighting an unsolicited box of Hobbes dolls on fire, Watterson responded, “No. It was only my head that burst into flames.” Plus, he says he has no problem with people animating the strip on YouTube, saying, “Every artist learns through imitation… I assume they’re either homages or satiric riffs, and are not intended to be taken too seriously as works in their own right.”
The full interview will be published in the magazine’s December issue, but the excerpt is available here.
And though fans won’t see the duo appear on screen, they can still catch a glimpse of the boy and his tiger in the upcoming documentary Dear Mr. Watterson, which will be released Nov. 15. Check out the trailer below: