Here's a Kickstarter story that everyone can enjoy: director Joel Allen Schroeder's modest request for funds for his Calvin & Hobbes documentary was a resounding success, and the finished result is almost upon us. With that in mind, a new trailer for Dear Mr Watterson has just arrived online, to give you a fuzzy glow on this dreary Monday morning.
It isn't, to be honest, terribly different to the previous clip from a few months ago, sharing the page-flicking beginning, the We Were Pirates music and the talking-heads format. But it's been fed through the cardboard box transmogrifier, changing some of the clips and quotes, while still doing the same job of sharing the infectious enthusiasm for Bill Watterson's comic strip of everyone involved.
If you're new here - and you've been seriously missing out if you are - Calvin and Hobbes was a syndicated newspaper comic strip, involving a boy and his tiger (real to Calvin; stuffed to everyone else), that ran from 1985 to 1995. In far too small a nutshell for the job, it basically deals with the awkward co-existence of real life and Calvin's fantasy inner world. It's beautifully drawn, meticulously observed, quietly philosphical and never not funny.
New bits in this trailer include some expanded material on Watterson's dogged refusal of what would no doubt have been an absolute fortune in merchandising opportunities, preferring to keep his creation unsullied by the market. The artist continues to eschew the spotlight and doesn't do interviews. Hence Schroeder's film is a celebration of the work rather than an attempt to track down its source. A project like that does exist, in Nevin Martell's book Looking For Calvin And Hobbes, but Schroeder didn't even get to Martell's starting point of writing a letter. The film's title, he admits, was where he left it. It seems likely that Watterson will get his message anyway.
Seth Green, Berke Breathed (Bloom County), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Jef Mallett (Frazz), Keith Knight (The K Chronicles), Jan Eliot (Stone Soup) and Bill Amend (Fox Trot) are among the interviewees sharing the love. Dear Mr Watterson gets a theatrical release in the States on November 15, and will be available on disc and online at around the same time.