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'Calvin and Hobbes' Will Be Greatly Missed

November 24, 1995

I am as dismayed as any "Calvin and Hobbes" fan to see my favorite comic strip end ("When Cartoonists Go Kapow!" Nov. 16). Bill Watterson's social commentary, combined with brilliant artwork reminiscent of the late great Winsor McKay's "Little Nemo," is an entertainingly accurate reflection of our times.

I can understand Watterson's desire to pursue new interests. The cutbacks and downsizing of our current economic climate force many of us to compromise professional quality and integrity in pursuit of a paycheck.

The unsympathetic comments of 'toonists Mort Walker and Greg Evans smacked of sour grapes. The humor and artistic value of Walker's "Beetle Bailey" and Evans' "Luann" are lame. Perhaps if either Walker or Evans had even a touch of Watterson's clever wit and dazzling artistic vision, they too would feel compromised by the hectic pace of daily deadlines.

More power to Watterson in his new endeavors. I am looking forward to his "more thoughtful" work.

LISA BYRNS

Los Angeles

*

Like many others, I'm disappointed that "Calvin and Hobbes" will disappear from the daily comics. While there certainly are many more important issues to be writing letters about, it seems necessary to respond to comments that other cartoonists made about Bill Watterson's decision.

Most of the other traditional strips have fallen by the wayside. "Peanuts" is as familiar as an old friend, but I haven't laughed at it in years.

Lee Salem of United Press Syndicate is looking for a common denominator for the demise of comic strips. He's not reading them if he can't find it. "Doonesbury," "The Far Side," "Bloom County," "Outland" and "Calvin and Hobbes" have been the only strips to demand my attention in all the years of reading the comics.

The newspapers are looking for ways to keep these good strips from vanishing. How about this: Stop wasting ink on all the dried up, non-relevant, unartistic garbage and give the vacated inches to the well-drawn, humorous and most demanded comic strips available. Then maybe, just maybe, top-notch artists like Berke Breathed, Gary Larson and Bill Watterson will see that their work is valued and actually means something.

BRIAN DZYAK

Encino

*

The news that Bill Watterson will retire "Calvin and Hobbes" at year's end is perfectly wretched.

There is certainly genius in Watterson's art. Miss Wormwood and Calvin's parents, the dozens of marvelous monsters Spaceman Spiff encountered, Calvin and Hobbes celebrating snow, autumn, or deliciously dangerous wagon rides and the extraordinary range of emotion displayed by Hobbes' infinitely flexible fur face--all seemed at once too real and too fantastic, genuine art.

Still, Watterson's real genius resides in his challenging ideas and the wonderful wit with which he communicated them. In my own personal favorite, Calvin reduces the virtual destruction of contemporary communication to three words: "verbing weirds language." Hobbes responds, "Maybe we can make language a complete impediment to understanding." When the two of them leave us, that day will be far, far nearer.

When Bill Watterson isn't available toward the back of the newspaper next year, it's going to be difficult, if not impossible, to wade through the front.

DAVID HAMLIN

Los Angeles

*

You can't cut me off cold turkey. How am I going to start each day with a smile if I don't have the whimsical philosophy of life of Hobbes and his straight man Calvin?

Please, if Watterson won't reconsider, at least get his permission to rerun the whole file of classics. They are dateless and priceless.

WALTER L. SLAVIK

Arcadia

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