J.D. Salinger may be dead, but similarly revered, similarly reclusive author Bill Watterson is not. The Cleveland Plain Dealer got an interview (via email, of course) with the Calvin & Hobbes cartoonist—the first he's granted in over 20 years—in connection with an upcoming book about the strip.

Leave me alone!
  • "Leave me alone!"

Nothing that revelatory here, but Watterson's a pretty likable, extremely humble guy. Excerpt:

With almost 15 years of separation and reflection, what do you think it was about "Calvin and Hobbes" that went beyond just capturing readers' attention, but their hearts as well?

The only part I understand is what went into the creation of the strip. What readers take away from it is up to them. Once the strip is published, readers bring their own experiences to it, and the work takes on a life of its own. Everyone responds differently to different parts.

I just tried to write honestly, and I tried to make this little world fun to look at, so people would take the time to read it. That was the full extent of my concern. You mix a bunch of ingredients, and once in a great while, chemistry happens. I can't explain why the strip caught on the way it did, and I don't think I could ever duplicate it. A lot of things have to go right all at once.

There's also a neat interview with the interviewer about about the first interview.

I guess now there's even less reason for this really twee-looking documentary about wanting to talk to Watterson to exist?