The "Bigfoot" of cartooning is back — sort of.
Bill Watterson drew the syndicated and über-popular Calvin and Hobbes for 10 years before shutting it down in 1995. The strip followed the antics of Calvin, a 6-year-old boy, and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes.
Stephen Pastis, cartoonist for the strip Pearls Before Swine, published a blog post Sunday in which he reveals that Watterson participated in three Pearls strips published last week. They can be seen here, here and here.
Pastis writes that after he published a Pearls weeks ago in which a character claims to be Watterson to impress a female, he e-mailed the strip to Watterson and thanked him for his influence. Watterson wrote back expressing interest in working together, and collaboration began on the three strips.
Pastis' blog post makes no attempt to hide awe of Watterson: "Let me tell you. Just getting an email from Bill Watterson is one of the most mind-blowing, surreal experiences I have ever had. Bill Watterson really exists? And he sends email? And he's communicating with me?"
Pastis said Watterson struggled with the technology of contemporary cartoon publication.
"Unlike every other technological problem I've ever had, it was not frustrating," Patsis writes. "It was the highlight of my career."