Bill Watterson may have given his Calvin and Hobbes book collections prestigious-sounding names like Indispensable and Authoritative as a joke, but in 2012 his cartoons are fetching fancy fine-art prices.
This past Wednesday, a 13″ x 10″ watercolor and ink illustration was auctioned. It featured Calvin and his best friend/stuffed tiger Hobbes taking a nap on a lazy summer day (probably before a water-balloon fight with neighbor, and arch nemesis, Susie Derkins).
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The nostalgic image sold for $107,550, the Washington Post reported. That’s more than $50,000 more what the low presale estimate was when it was first put up for sale by Heritage Auctions. The painting was previously owned by historian Rick Marschall, and his name along with the words “komic konnoisseur” are inscribed in the print.
Since Watterson almost never does interviews, we don’t know what he thinks of the sale. But we do know how much he treasured fine illustrations. In 2005, he answered a few questions from readers for an interview posted on his publisher’s website, in which he explained the value he put on a finished picture as opposed to early sketches.
“My pencil sketches were just minuscule notations of who was talking, so I have no particular reverence for them,” he wrote. “In my case, the finished pictures captured more of the visual impact I was after. In fact, I did as little preparatory pencil work for the finished strip as possible, so the inking would be a real drawing encounter, and not a sterile tracing of pencil lines. Ink is a wonderful medium all on its own.”