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Metapost: Looking for the COTW

Your comments of the week momentarily, but first: a couple of items for your attention! First of all, here is an intriguing note from Nevin Martell, who has a book coming out called Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and his Revolutionary Comic Strip. Here’s an abridged version of the summary he sent me:

For ten years, between 1985 and 1995, Calvin and Hobbes was one the world’s most beloved comic strips. And then, on the last day of 1995, the strip ended. Its mercurial and reclusive creator, Bill Watterson, not only finished the strip but withdrew entirely from public life. There is no merchandising associated with Calvin and Hobbes: no movie franchise; no plush toys; no coffee mugs; no t-shirts (except a handful of illegal ones). There is only the strip itself, and the books in which it has been compiled — including The Complete Calvin and Hobbes: the heaviest book ever to hit the New York Times bestseller list.

In Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip, I trace the life and career of the extraordinary, influential, and intensely private man behind Calvin and Hobbes. With input from a wide range of artists and writers (including Dave Barry, Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Lethem, and Brad Bird) as well as some of Watterson’s closest friends and professional colleagues, this is as close as we’re ever likely to get to one of America’s most ingenious and intriguing figures — and a fascinating detective story, at the same time.

Your readers may also be interested to know that I interviewed almost 50 cartoonists for the project, including Berke Breathed (Bloom County/Opus/Outland), Jim Davis (Garfield), Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse), Nicholas Gurewitch (The Perry Bible Fellowship), Keith Knight (The Knight Life/K Chronicles), Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Michael Jantze (The Norm), Mark Parisi (Off The Mark), Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange), Dave Coverly (Speed Bump), Jan Eliot (Stone Soup), Jeff Smith (Bone), Brad Anderson (Marmaduke), Jef Mallett (Frazz), Mike Peters (Mother Goose & Grimm), Steve Troop (Mayberry Melonpool), Craig Thompson (Blankets), Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Patrick Oliphant, Jim Borgman (Zits), Mark Tatulli (Lio) and Jim Meddick (Monty).

The reason I am passing this on is because there is a free something in it for you — send Nevin an e-mail at and he’ll send you a PDF of his book’s first chapter! He promises to only use the e-mail addresses he so collects to keep folks updated on when the book is coming out and other information related specifically to that book.

Also of interest is this interview with Apartment 3-G scribe Margaret Shulock, in which, among other things, she wishes aloud that Margo could be allowed to curse in print.

And now … your COMMENT OF THE WEEK!

“How ironic would it be if, one day, we really did get a glimpse of Ziggy’s junk and discovered it to be … the most breathtakingly beautiful, marvelous genitalia ever seen. Then wouldn’t we all feel well ashamed, boy howdy.” –teddytoad

And the runners-up! Also funny!

“I’m pretty sure that Mary is taking her new working gal out for a stroll — how else to explain Delilah’s outfit? Her expression shows her realization of every madame’s worst fear: that her best talent may be lured out of the business by the first smooth operator to come along who parts his hair down the middle.” –Packherd

“I don’t think Charley’s arm is drawn behind his back. I think the artist just forgot to extend it past his side. He just didn’t care. Nor should he. Nor should he.” –sarah

“It’s all so very absurd, and slightly annoying, which makes it all so Mary Worth and the reason I can’t stop reading Mary every ding dong day.” –Nurse with a penis

“If I had to choose the best aspect of Mary Worth, it would be the strip’s attention to subtlety and nuance. Take today’s suitor for Delilah’s attentions. All he needs is a handlebar mustache and he’s ready to head to the railroad tracks.” –Darkefang

“There’s something unseemly about Charley’s leer and the ‘um’ before ‘irreconcilable differences.’ It’s as if his next words are going to be, ‘Yeah, Dana’s vajayjay couldn’t reconcile my enormous schlong! Am I right, or am I right? Aw, c’mon Mrs. Worth, relax, I’m just joking. Or am I? Call me Del! Laters!’” –Old School Allie Cat

“What is causing Gil’s eyes to pop out like that? BLAM! Did Mr. Pearse whip out something that got Gil’s attention? And what was it? A wad of cash? A multi-colored business proposal? A bright, shiny object? Or just his dong.” –Uncle Jeff

Neddy’s friend will be her lover, an improbably large-breasted Senegalese economics grad student. She will fit in seamlessly at the comic strip’s cocktail parties, able to wear revealing outfits and spout boring dialogue at the same time.” –Aviatrix

“I’m still trying to decide whether the placement of that stop sign is intentional. Has Crankshaft been circling the block for so long that the city council’s actually put up a sign to give him a hint?” –Brickers

“Did you know that if the local Rite Aid is out of your particular shade of Clairol, you can just break open a red Magic Marker and rub the spongy stuff inside directly on your hair?” –Joe Blevins

“It’s ironic that Gil Thorp is the first serial comic to come out and say, ‘The years do run together, don’t they,’ because it’s the only serial where the years DON’T run together. New sports seasons always bring new story lines like clockwork. You can use past Gil Thorp story lines like a calendar. When was my daughter born? I think it was when Coach Thorp was trying to convince Brent Raptor’s mom to let him go to college. Oh yeah, spring baseball season 2006! Now, Apt. 3G … there’s a strip that should state ‘The years do run together, don’t they?’ in a narration box at least once a week.” –Gordogato

“‘The county got a grant.’ ‘You mean money?’ ‘No, just … Grant. He can bat pretty well, though.’” –Chyron HR

These are mostly kids who have never played before, so it won’t matter that your coaching consists of sitting in a lawn chair drinking booze from a thermos! We tried to get Clambake, but he’s batting coach for the Red Sox this season.” –AirForbes

“Careful, Mary; if you pull at Delilah any harder, her button’s going to pop, and I won’t be answerable for the consequences” –Pozzo

“Going to Mary for advice = Going to Charley for intimacy. It will be hard, fast, repetitive, and uncomfortable, but with any luck, there will be a pool party when you’re done.” –buckyswife

“Incidentally, if anyone deserves to be kept on at Dithers & Company, it’s the janitorial staff, who have given that floor a flawless mirror finish of the sort you usually only see in professional ice rinks or advertisements for very expensive car wax. And, digressing a bit, there are in fact car wax advertisements that are much funnier than this so I’m not entirely sure why I’m still staring at it as if it might undergo some mysterious internal process and emit a small, fleeting humor particle to reward my patient observation.” –One-eyed Wolfdog

“I like the facial expressions that pass for ‘okay’ in the Funky universe.” –Carly

“I believe that of the torture methods used on prisoners of war, ‘sending you home to live out your miserable days in Westview until you get cancer and die’ has got to be the most effective.” –zooby

“Pluggers eschew all kinds of technology, preferring instead to glorify themselves in some kind of rural, pastoral aura. But then they turn around and gladly reap the benefits of advanced technology in the form of cutting-edge medications. Pluggers, you make me sick.” –Hogenmogen

“Many years ago, at my husband’s old job, one of his co-workers showed up one day in just his boxer shorts and undershirt. He had mental issues, and it appears he hadn’t taken his meds. So I don’t know if this makes that poor guy a plugger, for forgetting which meds to take, or Ziggy, for not wearing pants.” –Perky Bird

“The joke is actually on our anonymous prankster given that Ziggy’s suggestion was ‘please kill me.’” –Violet

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