Bill Watterson's 'Calvin & Hobbes' comic, about a six-year-old boy and his lively stuffed tiger, got published as a daily newspaper strip in the mid-1980s and became an instant success. Within a year, the syndicate for which Watterson worked presented him with licensing possibilities, which he stubbornly rejected. "My strip is about private realities, the magic of imagination, and the specialness of certain friendships. Who would believe in the innocence of a little kid and his tiger if they cashed in on their popularity to sell overpriced knickknacks that nobody needs?"
After a long fight, the licensing-rights were eventually returned to Watterson, which means that every Calvin & Hobbes T-shirt, coffee mug or other gadget that is on the market is illegal (and therefore probably even more coveted). Watterson also fought the syndicate on the matter of the strict regulations for the Sunday strip, which were loosened, and on sabbaticals, which has made it easier for cartoonists to take a time-out from their work when they get tired. After ten years of doing the strip, Watterson decided to quit.
'Calvin & Hobbes' was inspired by comics like 'Peanuts' (by Charles Schulz) and 'Pogo' (by Walt Kelly), and has become one of the all-time classics, having captured the hearts of millions of readers all over the globe. Having retired in 1995, Bill Watterson now lives a secluded life in his hometown in Chagrin Falls, Ohio with his artistic wife Melissa. He suddenly returned to the spotlight in 2014 when, unannounced, he participated in the artwork of a couple of strips from Steve Pastis' 'Pears Before Swine' strip.